Published: 24 February 2022
Chairman of the Singapore Transport Association, Ms Cherie Goh,
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Tan Hung Hooi,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. It is indeed my pleasure to join you today at the official launch of the Logistical Transport Industry Safety and Security Watch Group (iSSWG) which I will refer to later.
2. I am truly heartened to see many stakeholders from the industry gathered here today to pledge their support to make the logistical transport environment a safer one for all of us.
Importance of community partnerships
3. The safety and security of Singapore has been a cornerstone of our nation’s progress and prosperity, providing the stability not just for our community but also for all businesses to thrive and succeed.
4. Singapore has done well in this regard. For example, the 2020 Gallup Global Law and Order Report ranked Singapore first for the seventh consecutive year in terms of law and order. Our overall crime rates have continued to remain low.
5. This achievement is in a large part due to our strong partnerships with the community. For instance, in 2019, about one in four arrests involving major offences, such as robbery and housebreaking, were made with the help of members of the public. Many volunteers partner us as crime prevention ambassadors, supporting the Police in community patrols in our neighbourhoods.
6. The Police also work closely with the business community through the Safety and Security Watch Groups, or SSWGs, on safety and security issues, to prevent crime, and protect us against terrorism. With the strong support of the community, the SSWG now includes over 1,500 buildings and has expanded beyond physical security measures to also include contingency planning and staff training.
Industry Safety and Security Watch Groups (iSSWG)
7. In 2008, we brought together businesses in the same industry, through the Industry Safety and Security Watch Group, or iSSWG, scheme.
8. There are currently seven iSSWGs in the chemical, financial, hotel, retail, manufacturing, public entertainment and online industries set up since 2008.
9. Over the years, the iSSWG partners have been very proactive in taking steps to enhance safety and security within their industry by partnering SPF in a series of initiatives, such as conducting workshops and seminars on topics related to cybercrimes, scams, terrorism and licensing regulatory frameworks. And these partners have contributed significantly to the safety and security of our country.
10. Allow me to share two examples of such collaborations in the past:
(a) First, the Singapore Hotel Association worked closely with Police and MHA to stress-test their emergency response plans and strengthen the security of their hotel premises. A framework was set up for hotels, to assist them to ensure a safe and secure environment not only for their staff but also for their hotel guests. This has borne fruit. For example, in 2020, a vigilant employee of the RELC International Hotel identified a suspicious object on the hotel grounds, which was subsequently confirmed to be a hand grenade and war relic.
(b) The Asia Internet Coalition (AIC) worked with the Police as part of the Online iSSWG to tackle scams, which are a major crime concern. The AIC garnered support from member organisations to sign up in the newly launched Community Watch Scheme (CWS) which targets e-commerce scams. Such collaborative efforts help the industry to increase customer satisfaction and improve reputation, while at the same time protecting the public from crime.
Susceptibility of Logistical Transport Industry to Crime and Terrorism
11. Apart from crimes, terrorism is the other main threat that we have to deal with.
12. The modus operandi of terrorists is constantly evolving. We are not just talking about guns and bombs, but vehicles and everyday items like knives can also be used by terror groups to carry out attacks.
13. You would remember the attack in Nice, France in July 2016. A man drove a cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 persons and injuring 458 others. He was radicalised by ISIS.
14. London Bridge was the site of two other terrorist attacks in recent years. In 2019, a man stabbed people attending a conference, killing two and injuring three. In 2017, three men used a rented van to ram into pedestrians and subsequently attacked others with knives, killing eight persons and injuring 48 others. The attackers had intended to rent a cargo truck in fact to cause more damage, but fortunately the rental application was rejected.
15. Now coming back to Singapore, we know that Singapore is not immune to the terrorism threat. Since 2015, we have dealt with 54 individuals for terrorism-related conduct, of whom 44 were self-radicalised. Two attack plots against specific communities at places of worship were foiled in late 2020 and early 2021. We need everyone to remain very vigilant and alert, in order to protect our community and our loved ones.
Formation of Logistical Transport iSSWG
16. Today, I am happy to announce the formation of the Logistical Transport iSSWG in partnership with the Singapore Transport Association (STA).
17. The Logistical Transport iSSWG presents new opportunities for the Police to collaborate with our logistical transport industry partners to co-create a safer logistical transport community.
(a) First, it promotes sharing and exchange of information between the Police and the industry stakeholders to fight crime and counter the threat of terrorism.
(b) Second, it encourages the sharing of expertise and best practices to strengthen the safety and security of the industry itself.
(c) Lastly, it supports the development of guidelines, frameworks or standards to create a safe and secure logistical transport environment.
18. In fact, STA has since partnered the Traffic Police to produce a Road Safety Advisory Video for heavy vehicles. In the video, which you will see later on, viewers are educated on road safety behaviours and tips to help prevent accidents from happening.
19. Collectively, these efforts are mutually beneficial to the industry and the larger community. It creates a safer living space for the public, and reduces disruption and business costs incurred by the companies.
20. In conclusion, community and industry partnership has always been at the core of our crime-fighting efforts.
21. We value the importance of working closely with our community partners and business partners, to innovate and build new capabilities to deal with the evolving challenges and threats.
22. We look forward to your unwavering partnership and support to make Singapore safe and secure for all.
23. May I wish everybody a fruitful seminar ahead.