1,500 NSmen from police force to be trained as Community Engagement Officers from May

Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law speaking to reporters at the HomeTeamNS REAL Run held at Sentosa on Sunday (May 15).
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law speaking to reporters at the HomeTeamNS REAL Run held at Sentosa on Sunday (May 15).PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - National servicemen (NSmen) and full-time national servicemen from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) will be taking on new roles to support Singapore's SGSecure initiative.

For a start, about 1,500 NSmen from the SPF will form the new Community Engagement Vocation, after their training which starts in May. They will be deployed in the Neighbourhood Police Centres' (NPCs) Community Policing Units.

These NSmen, who will be certified as Community Engagement Officers, will assist the NPCs in outreach activities, in support of the SGSecure - a new national programme to be rolled out later this year - to organise and train residents to protect society from attacks and ensure that racial and religious harmony is maintained.

They will help in events such as workshops and exhibitions to educate the public on the threat of terrorism and how they can respond in the event of a terrorist attack here.

The SPF shared more details about the new vocation on Sunday (May 15), adding that these NSmen will learn crowd management and evacuation skills, as well as the handling of suspicious items, as part of training curriculum they will undergo.

Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, told reporters at the HomeTeamNS REAL (Regular Exercise, Active Lifestyle) Run held at Sentosa on Sunday that the success or failure of SGSecure would depend much on whether the community understands its responsibility for security.

"We want to transform ourselves into a nation of lifesavers who understand how to react. And it's not going to be done in a year or two years, it's going to take time," he said.

"The issue of terrorism cannot be dealt with by kinetic force, the Police, the emergency responders itself. That's essential. But the second big part of it is it can happen anywhere, and when it happens anywhere, how does the community respond?" he added.

In addition, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said in an update that its SCDF ORNS Shelter Battalion will be renamed as the Public Shelter and Resilience Unit from July this year.

About 1,000 ORNSmen from this unit will take on two new functions during their in-camp training in community engagement and community first response.

This includes door-to-door house visits to disseminate information on household shelter management and fire safety measures, as well as community engagement preparedness.