Published: 29 April 2021
Home Team colleagues,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. A very good afternoon.
2. It is my pleasure to join you for this year’s Home Team Sponsorship Award Ceremony. I am always happy to attend such an occasion because it brings happiness to all of us.
3. We are giving out 44 sponsorship awards today. My heartiest congratulations to all award recipients.
4. I would also like to congratulate all parents of our award recipients. You have supported your child all these years, and I am sure you feel proud of their achievements. Congratulations!
A MEANINGFUL HOME TEAM CAREER
5. As a sponsorship recipient, you have made a choice to pursue a career with the Home Team, to join us in our mission to keep Singapore safe and secure.
6. The past year has been an extremely demanding and challenging one for all. Our Home Team officers were at the forefront of the nation’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
7. 1,100 officers from the Home Team family were deployed to the Inter-agency Joint Task Force to support the operations at the purpose-built dormitories. We also had officers from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), who were enforcing the Stay-Home Notice regime and supporting intense contact-tracing efforts. Our Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) emergency responders also worked tirelessly to convey suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients to the hospitals.
8. In this battle, our officers have made many personal sacrifices. They spent precious time away from their family members and risked their lives to protect others.
9. So as an employer, we must ensure their well-being. As soon as vaccines were available, we made sure our officers received them swiftly. About 29,000 Home Team officers have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of these, about 25,000 officers have already received their second dose.
10. On top of managing an ongoing pandemic, our officers had to fight hard to keep security threats at bay. Singapore saw a growing number of scams in 2020, with more than 15,000 cases and over S$200 million cheated. We are facing an increased threat of online radicalisation. Drug abuse amongst our youths remains high, along with the growing abuse of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS).
11. Despite these challenges, the Home Team’s work is meaningful and impactful. Singapore remains one of the safest cities in the world. We topped the Gallup Global Law and Order Report in 2020, for the seventh consecutive year. We were also ranked 1st in ‘Order and Security’ in the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index 2020.
12. These achievements are no mean feat. They are a testament of our strong partnership with the Singapore community, our stakeholders in the private sector and our international partners. More importantly, they were achieved through the hard work of our professional and committed Home Team officers.
SAFEGUARDING SINGAPORE ADMIST EVOLVING SECURITY THREATS
13. To continue safeguarding Singapore, the Home Team must keep pace with the ever-changing environment and evolving security threats. We will amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to enhance enforcement capabilities against NPS. We are also looking into legislation to tackle online harms.
14. The Inter-Ministry Committee on Scams will partner the community and private partners such as banks and digital platforms, to raise awareness and strengthen our defences against scams.
15. We will continue to work with schools, as key partners in educating students on the dangers of drugs.
16. On the rehabilitation and reintegration front, we will enhance capabilities of our volunteers. Training will be extended beyond volunteers who work directly with inmates, to volunteers in the aftercare sector.
17. Technology features prominently in our frontline operations and will continue to be used aggressively as a force multiplier.
18. Most recently, SPF set up the Police Beacon trials at Punggol Waterway and Sengkang Riverside Park Connectors. These make use of technology to establish greater Police presence in quieter and secluded locations.
19. In ICA, the Multi-Modal Biometric system was implemented at the checkpoints, where facial and iris recognition system were used to clear travellers.
20. Also, in the works are Smart Fire Stations that make use of sensors and automation to help manpower management, operational response and decision making.
THE HOME TEAM’S COMMITMENT TO PEOPLE DEVELOPMENT
21. But even with technology, we are clear that people are the key to our mission success. We want to recruit the best officers. We are committed to their development and to providing them a rewarding career with the Home Team.
22. Integrity, professionalism, commitment and resilience are values that our Home Team officers possess. These values are important for continued high levels of public confidence.
23. We must continue to recruit talent who share the same values, like our award recipients today. As One Home Team, we all work towards a common purpose, which is to better the lives of people in Singapore, and to protect our loved ones.
24. Among our recipients today, there are several who have been inspired by this strong sense of purpose, through friends and family who are or were part of the Home Team. I would like to share two examples.
a. First, we have Ahmad Idham Mohammad Nizam, who was awarded both the ITE and Diploma (Study) sponsorships by the SCDF this year. He will be completing his Higher Nitec studies in Interactive Design at the ITE College Central, and will pursue a Diploma next. As a young boy, Idham was inspired by stories from his grandfather, a retired Police officer, as well as his aunt and uncle, who are both Police officers. Their stories gave him a sense of pride about how Home Team officers keep the nation safe and secure and have strongly influenced his decision to join us.
b. Another example is Venetton Tang, who has been awarded a sponsorship by the SPF to pursue his Diploma in Law and Management at the Temasek Polytechnic. Venetton grew up with three older brothers in the Police force. He experienced the Home Team through their lenses, and these experiences have shaped his aspiration to serve and protect the nation through law enforcement.
25. Besides a sense of purpose, we want our officers to have rewarding career development opportunities. We do this through several ways.
26. First, we ensure pay competitiveness by keeping pace with the market and ensuring salaries are commensurate with the skills and demand of our officers.
27. Second, we provide different pathways for success in the Home Team. The Unified Single Scheme, implemented in 2016, has a single rank structure that allows diploma holders with good performance more advancement opportunities. A total of 550 officers have since progressed under this scheme.
28. In addition, officers who want to deepen capabilities in specialist domains can do so via the expert tracks. They will also receive skills allowance in recognition of their expertise and contributions. 280 officers have since been placed on the seven expert tracks across SPF, SCDF and SPS. The expert tracks will be rolled out progressively to the other Home Team departments.
29. Thirdly, we invest in the continuous learning and development of our officers. Leveraging technology, we can conduct more realistic and effective training. For example, the Home Team Academy’s Home Team Simulation System can simulate large-scale security incidents and joint operations as training scenarios. Another example is the Police Coast Guard’s Tactical Boat Handling and Firing Simulator, that can simulate different weather conditions and high-speed chases. It is also able to track eye movements and use analytics to provide feedback to the trainee.
30. Lastly, we support the professional upskilling of our officers throughout their career with us. We have partnered the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) to introduce a Bachelor of Public Safety and Security (Honours) programme. Our officers can be sponsored to attend this programme on a part-time or full-time basis. SUSS will also accredit Home Team training courses, which count towards the attainment of a Certificate that is recognised as a minor for officers who enrol into any SUSS degree programme.
31. Officers can also tap on sponsorships and learning and development subsidies offered by the Home Team to further their studies in domain areas, be it through professional certification programmes and courses, or pursue diplomas, degrees and postgraduate degrees.
32. In the Home Team, we promise you challenging, but meaningful work. I look forward to you joining us in a few years’ time to embark on your exciting career.
33. Once again, congratulations to all award recipients. I wish you all the best in your studies.
34. Thank you.