3,200 personnel mobilised in islandwide anti-terror drill

Public Transport Security Command police officers and SAF soldiers patrolling Jurong East MRT station during the evening peak hours yesterday. Security teams were deployed at various locations, including public transport hubs, shopping malls, residen
Soldiers from 4th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment, going through refresher training in search and arrest skills at Lim Chu Kang Camp I yesterday, in preparation for their deployment to key locations islandwide for joint patrols with the police.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
Public Transport Security Command police officers and SAF soldiers patrolling Jurong East MRT station during the evening peak hours yesterday. Security teams were deployed at various locations, including public transport hubs, shopping malls, residen
Public Transport Security Command police officers and SAF soldiers patrolling Jurong East MRT station during the evening peak hours yesterday. Security teams were deployed at various locations, including public transport hubs, shopping malls, residential areas and immigration checkpoints.ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Multi-agency exercise sees police and soldiers sent to 360 sites after several 'bomb attacks' in the region

Amid the bustle of Marina Bay Financial Centre yesterday afternoon, an armed policeman and two soldiers pounded the pavements, side by side, on high alert for suspicious activities.

The police officer from the Ground Response Force was flanked by the two soldiers of the Island Defence Task Force (IDTF), and they moved steadily in formation along Marina Boulevard.

Nearby, the police force's fast response car and the army's Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle, used as a deterrent measure during the patrols, stood ready.

Such scenes were seen across the island yesterday as part of the country's biggest multi-agency counter-terrorism exercise, which involved over 3,200 personnel.

Security teams were sent to more than 360 locations - including public transport hubs, shopping malls, residential areas and immigration checkpoints - to be on the alert after several "bomb attacks" in the region pointed to an "imminent terror threat" here.

The simulated exercise kicked off at 10am, as the terror threat was "raised" and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers were activated for the joint patrols.

EVERYONE HAS A PART TO PLAY

There's a possibility that Singapore may be attacked. Seeing the officers on patrol reminds me that I also have a part to play to keep society safe, such as reporting anything suspicious on the buses or trains.

MR CHRIS FAN, who works in the finance industry. He saw officers patrolling the Jurong East bus interchange when he was on his way home.

The army units that were mobilised to form the IDTF included the 4th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment (4 SIR); 5th Battalion, Singapore Infantry Regiment; and the 41st Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (41 SAR).

By around 1pm at Lim Chu Kang Camp I, soldiers from 4 SIR had gathered to equip themselves with integrated load-bearing vests, SAR 21 assault rifles and baton torches.

They were taken through a refresher course in search and arrest skills, baton drills and engagement rules, which include the amount of force to use against different types of attackers. Then they were deployed in army vehicles to neighbourhood police centres (NPCs) to link up with the officers in blue.

After a short briefing to coordinate efforts, a team from Jurong East NPC moved off to Jurong East MRT station to begin its patrols during the evening peak hours.

The team of three also prowled the areas around Jurong East MRT station and shopping malls Jem and Westgate, as residents and shoppers looked on curiously.

Public Transport Security Command police officers and IDTF soldiers from 41 SAR also circled the MRT station.

Mr Chris Fan, 40, who works in the finance industry, spotted officers patrolling the Jurong East bus interchange when he was on his way home. He said: "There's a possibility that Singapore may be attacked.

"Seeing the officers on patrol reminds me that I also have a part to play to keep society safe, such as reporting anything suspicious on the buses or trains."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline '3,200 personnel mobilised in islandwide anti-terror drill'. Print Edition | Subscribe