Singapore Budget 2015: Home Team to add 2,000 men in next 5 years, says DPM Teo Chee Hean

SINGAPORE - The Government will recruit 2,000 men in the next five years to ensure that the Home Team has adequate resources to deal with evolving challenges.

But with natural limits to recruitment approaching, it will maximise the potential of officers through training and stepping up investment in systems and technology, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (MHA) Teo Chee Hean said on Friday (06/03).

This will boost the effectiveness of officers and allow the Home Team to grow "judiciously and moderately," Mr Teo said during the MHA portion of the Committee of Supply debate.

An aging and more mobile population has placed greater demands on the Home Team, said Mr Teo, noting that the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) received 31 per cent more ambulance calls between 2009 and 2014.

More people are also travelling for work and leisure: the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) recorded more than 500,000 people passing through Singapore's checkpoints last year (2014), a 33 per cent increase from 2009.

"With Changi Airport Terminal 4 and the Rapid Transit System coming into operation, we expect the numbers to grow further in the coming years," he said.

To deal with the increasing demands on the Home Team, Mr Teo said that his ministry will add 2,000 officers over the next five years.

This is a slower pace of recruitment than in the last 10 years. Home Team manpower grew by 5,000 officers in the past decade, from about 19,300 to 24,700 officers.

Mr Teo explained that the ministry must shore up the "natural limits" to recruitment by re-employing more officers, while providing them opportunities for further studies and deepening specialist skills.

"As we rely more on better qualified and trained officers, we will re-structure our Home Team officers' careers to provide more opportunities to advance into the senior ranks," he said. "For example, the Police are studying ways to provide more seamless advancement opportunities for their officers."

The Government will also provide more comprehensive training and meaningful deployments for National Service (NS) personnel, said Mr Teo, noting that two out of four firefighters in every SCDF fire vehicle responding to fires daily are NSFs.

Mr Teo added that the Home Team's development expenditure is expected to grow from eight per cent of expenditure in the past five years to about 20 per cent of expenditure in the next five years.

This includes building a new Police Divisional Headquarters and two fire stations within this period to meet increased demand from new towns and commercial centres, he said.

yanliang@sph.com.sg