Published: 08 November 2022
Mr Murali Pillai: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs having regard to the manpower crunch that the Home Team faces, whether the decision to increase the Home Team officers' retirement age to 58 by 2030 may be brought forward and adjusted accordingly.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. The Home Affairs Uniformed Services (HUS) officers’ retirement age was raised from 55 to 56 on 1 July 2021. It will be raised progressively to 58 by 2030.
2. This phased approach is to manage the impact on future hiring, the availability of posts, and organisational renewal. Because of the nature of the work and the deep training required, our uniformed services have a pure-build workforce model, and most officers remain in service until retirement. A steady inflow and outflow of manpower is needed each year to meet operational demands and to build a sustainable pipeline of leaders and specialists. Raising the retirement age progressively allows the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to manage smoothly the changes to the manpower flow, to avoid bottlenecks at various levels of the organisation. Where necessary for operational needs, MHA will offer re-employment to officers who meet eligibility criteria, which includes physical fitness.
3. Recognising that manpower is a constraint, MHA had started to transform our concept of operations since 2015. We have invested heavily in technology to enhance our operational effectiveness and productivity. For example, the Singapore Prison Service has been using video analytics to pick up abnormal behaviour in prison cells. The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority has increased the usage of automated clearance facilities by travellers. The Smart Fire Station in Punggol uses sensors and automation to help with manpower management, operational response and decision making. Artificial intelligence is applied to help Police officers analyse the high volumes of footage from the Singapore Police Force’s camera network.
4. In addition, MHA has rallied community and industry stakeholders to help us deliver our mission.
5. That said, technology and community partnership can mitigate the manpower pressures only to some extent, and we will still need an appropriately sized force to be able to continue keeping Singapore safe and secure.