Published: 11 August 2016
Scholarship recipients and parents,
Principals and teachers,
Home Team colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. Good evening to all of you. First, heartiest congratulations to the 24 young men and women who are receiving scholarships today. Some of you are receiving the Singapore Police Force scholarships and others, the Home Affairs Uniformed Services Scholarships and Awards. I will also congratulate your families, your principals and your teachers, without whom you would not have gone on this journey. They have been instrumental in this, so they ought to be congratulated as well.
2. This year would be the first time that we are holding the two scholarship ceremonies together here in the Istana. To emphasise the direction in which the Home Team is going, we have asked the young officers from the various Home Team Departments to join us here, to really signal our commitment to strengthening our Home Team ethos, which is one Home Team.
Leading the Home Team of 2025
3. To our newest scholars, we say this – you are joining the Home Team at a time where it is critically challenging and yet exciting. The work in the Home Team is real and is complex. Every day, wherever you are in the Home Team, if you are an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer, the times when ICA officers chop on passports is long gone. An ICA officer today is primarily our first line of defence, other than intelligence, in terms of making assessments on people coming in, the items coming in, forming very deep analysis of threats. You are someone who is continuously analysing the flow of people to decide who amongst the hundreds of thousands who are going through, needs to be picked out.
4. If you are at a prison, some persons are imprisoned for some years, you are there to make sure that the set of rules are complied with and then they are released. The motto of the Singapore Prison Service is "Captains of Lives". We want to go upstream to see what causes of re-offending and we want to go downstream to see how we can prevent people from going back into prison. The entire life cycle, how we manage them to reduce crime to help them make a life themselves.
5. If you are with the Police, every day, with your officers, you will be dealing with a wide range of issues, from community-based issues to the other extreme, terror-based threats. Whether at our borders or at the heartlands, a Home Team officer every day, is mentally prepared to deal with any incident that may lead to loss of lives, loss of property, serious incidents and they have to act to keep Singapore safe and secure. It is really not a game where you role play or do scenario planning and you keep conceptualising what the threats are. You are out there dealing with the threats day to day. And as many of you know, the threat of terrorism is increasing.
6. At the same time, we are dealing with a number of trends, which will increase demands substantially on our officers. For example, the drug environment is evolving within Singapore and internationally; the trend towards a greater acceptance of drugs etc. The challenges that come from the fact that our society is one of the fastest aging societies in the world. The challenges that come from Singapore's position as a major transport hub with 200 million people going through our checkpoints every year and increasing cybercrime in a borderless world. There are many other challenges. The world is evolving, our society is evolving. Our challenges are changing and increasing.
An Operationally Ready and Prepared Home Team
7. To deal with these challenges in the context of demographic changes, we are embarking on a Transformation Plan. We called it the Home Team Transformation 2025. This will change how our officers operate, to try and do more with greater impact. We have to re-think how we operate at the frontlines, and also how we structure our support systems and policies. Our work will change, our jobs will be re-designed as we adapt and adopt new operating models, technologies and partnerships. Let me give you a few examples.
The Work of HT Officers in 2025
8. First, we will become more data-driven in our work. Officers of 2025 will be able to tap on data from a variety of sources. These include sensor systems from CCTVs, live feeds, Police Cameras, all supported by artificial intelligence with data analysis capabilities. This helps frontline officers to get a clearer picture of what is happening much faster. You can have a call about a fire in an industrial estate, or a multi-shooter attack occurring across different locations. The data capabilities will help our officers receive the data, analyse and react much faster.
9. Second, our officers will have to be more networked. They will have be connected to the community and the rest of the Home Team. We have platforms, which we will upgrade, so that there is real-time input from the community using a variety of mobile applications. This builds on the success of applications that are already operating, such as SCDF's myResponder for cardiac arrest cases, SPF's i-Witness and SG Secure, which will be launched by PM Lee Hsien Loong. With these applications and platforms, meaning can be given to our aim that the community has to become a close and integrated partner with the Home Team, working closely, hand in hand. This will allow our officers to respond more effectively and make the sum of the parts will be much greater when we act in this way.
10. Third, our officers will take a much broader perspective, covering the whole chain of events, for example, in the management of offenders. With technology and big data, it is also now possible to predict the kinds of situations, the contexts in which offences will take place, so that we can even act to prevent before it happens, i.e. we will take preventive measures. These are all possibilities. We can partner employers and voluntary welfare organisations to help offenders in their reintegration journey more effectively after their release.
Next Generation Leaders
11. To do all of this, you will need strong, effective, decisive, clear-minded leadership. This is only going to come if we recruit the best and we train them extremely well, and retain them – officers with the right skills, attitude and values, and to make sure that they understand that the work is meaningful, that the work is noble, important, has to be done because it relates to the safety and security of Singapore.
12. We have to invest in our officers to become leaders. We have to make sure that MHA is an employer of choice, so that people choose us, then choose to remain and choose to give their best, because of the investment that we put in, and that includes competitive remuneration, opportunities for seamless career progression and self-development. We also have to provide different pathways for officers to grow professionally and build deep specialist skills in specific domain areas.
13. To our newest scholars, this is your first step into an exciting and purposeful career with the Home Team. One that will have direct impact on Singapore and Singaporeans every day. We congratulate the three recipients of the 2016 Singapore Police Force Scholarship. They are: Lua Jiong Wei, Justin Tan and Kagen Lim.
14. The SPF Scholarship is awarded by the Public Service Commission to outstanding young Singaporeans with a passion for policing, strong leadership potential and character. Jiong Wei will read Government and Economics at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Political Science, Justin will read Economics, also at the LSE. Kagen will read Arts and Social Sciences under the University Scholars' Programme, at the National University of Singapore.
15. I also congratulate the 21 young men and women who are receiving the Home Affairs Uniformed Services Scholarships and Awards this year. You have displayed strong academic and leadership qualities. You have chosen and have been selected for a challenging career in the Home Team.
16. The recipients will study a range of academic disciplines, spanning chemical engineering, law, sociology and psychology. Three of them will study overseas at universities in the UK and USA, while the other 18 will study at NUS, NTU and SMU.
17. They are:
1. Goh Xian Fong; UK or the USA;
2. Liang Shi Yi; UK or the USA;
3. Sim Po Chiang, Samuel; UK.
1. Ang Yu Shen;
2. Benjamin Fong Kai Jun;
3. Choo Zheng Jie, Marcus;
4. Dhameem Ansar S/O Bathusa;
5. Eng Wee Long;
6. Mr Justin Peh Zhao Dong;
7. Kelvin Teo Jian Hao;
8. Lee Jun Hao;
9. Lee Kah Keng;
10. Lim Gao Yi Melvin;
11. Lim Yi Wei;
12. Sarah Chang Xiu Hui;
13. Wong Li Ching;
14. Yap Woon Hwee, Sheryl;
1. Choy Chor Ying;
2. Mok Huiting, Justine;
1. Tan Zhi Xing;
1. Shin Won Tae.
18. I congratulate each one of you.
Expectations of Home Team Leaders
19. The 24 of you are our future leaders. You will play an important and integral role in the Home Team's transformation plans and you will be at the frontline units. In your work, you will lead multi-generational teams, respond to challenging operational problems, and rally our officers to give their best. You will help to shape the future of the Home Team and create a Singapore that is even safer and more secure, and hold true to the HT's core values of "Honour and Unity".
20. Once again, congratulations to all of you. I wish you all the very best in your studies, and look forward to your contributions to the Home Team in time to come. Thank you.