Published: 21 June 2017
Qn: What should the public look out for when even figures of authority are not immune to being radicalised?
Ans: We must remember that the overwhelming majority of our Muslim Police Officers perform their duties diligently. We strongly urge the public not to let the cases of Khairul and Rizal detract from the good work of the wider pool of Muslim Police Officers, or affect their confidence in our Police Officers.
The recent cases show that extremist rhetoric does not discriminate and anyone can be susceptible to radical ideology espoused by terrorist groups. As long as terrorist groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) continue to exploit the Internet and social media as their main tool of influence and recruitment, we can expect to continue seeing persons getting radicalised.
Every person in the community can help to protect Singapore and Singaporeans from the threat of terrorism. Relatives and friends are best-placed to notice the possible signs of radicalisation. These include avid consumption of radical materials; propagating and re-posting terrorism-related images, videos and posts; expressing support for terrorist entities; and encouraging others or stating an intention to commit terrorist violence. This list is not exhaustive.
Qn: What are MHA's checks or safeguards against police officers with radical leanings? In light of the arrest of auxiliary police officers Khairul and Rizal, is MHA taking any additional steps to mitigate the risk of any radicalised police officers?
Ans: Police officers must meet a set of stringent selection criteria. Before recruiting anyone to work in the Police Force, the SPF conducts a series of recruitment vetting procedures on all shortlisted applicants to determine an applicant's suitability for policing work. In addition to meeting the minimum educational, physical and medical requirements, security and background checks are also carried out as part of the selection assessment. Based on operational requirements, officers deployed to certain positions are required to go through regular security screening.
The nature of policing is team-based with proper command structure. Officers are deployed in teams and supervisors and co-colleagues are regularly reminded to be alert to signs of radicalisation among their officers and peers. Officers are also sensitised to the evolving terrorist threats and security climate, including the threat of self-radicalisation. The detection of warning indicators of radicalisation should not be confined to the workplace. Relatives, friends and the community are best placed to notice tell-tale signs or behavioural changes. Early reporting can help the individual receive proper guidance and counselling.
Qn: Have both APOs been fired from AETOS, and when did this happen?
Ans: Khairul and Rizal are no longer with AETOS. Their last day of service was 1 June 2017.
Qn: Will any action be taken against those who have withheld information from the authorities?
Ans: The Government takes a serious view of the withholding of information that is pertinent to the safety and security of Singapore and Singaporeans. This is especially so if the failure to report leads to violent activities that would kill or cause harm to others. As to whether Government will take legal action against persons who withhold pertinent information, each case will be assessed on its circumstances.