Parliament: Single rank structure for officers; police to step up recruitment, says Shanmugam

The Singapore Police Force will be moving away from its current rank structure, which has separate schemes for junior and senior officers.
The Singapore Police Force will be moving away from its current rank structure, which has separate schemes for junior and senior officers. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force will be implementing a single rank structure for officers, and diploma holders will have "seamless advancement opportunities up the ranks", said Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugam at the Committee of Supply Debate on Wednesday (April 6).

A unified rank structure is a move away from the separate schemes for junior officers and senior officers currently in place.

Police will also step up recruitment this year to fill new posts, such as in its Emergency Response teams. It will also enhance its schemes of service to attract young people to join the police force while retaining good officers.

It will introduce expert tracks to build deep speciality in investigations, intelligence and special operations, with new career pathways for officers who have specialised skills, added Mr Shanmugam.

 
 

Details will be announced at the Police Workplan Seminar later this month.

"We will also progressively extend the changes to the rest of the Home Team departments," he said.

More national servicemen will be deployed to frontline positions, leadership roles and specialist positions as well. This is part of a plan to ensure operational demands are met in the face of a declining national servicemen population.

Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Amrin Amin said the police force will set up a Protective Security Command comprising both NSF and NSmen units, with officers protecting critical infrastructure in national emergencies and overseeing protective security functions during peacetime.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has established new NSmen positions in its Marine Command, in which they will be deployed in daily operations as part of In-Camp Training. SCDF will also place more servicemen in operational roles such as in its Emergency Medical Services.

These changes come as developments such as a greying population, rising traveller and cargo volumes and new types of crimes, are increasing the complexity and workload of the Home Team, said Mr Shanmugam.

He also highlighted how there has been an increasing trend of hurt and verbal abuse to Home Team officers. Last year, 344 such cases were reported. This works out to about one case per day. This is "unacceptable," said Mr Shanmugam, adding that firm action will be taken against such abusive people including prosecuting them and pressing for stiff sentences.

Responding to questions from Mr Desmond Choo (Tampines GRC) and Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC) on the re-employment of police officers, Mr Amrin added that over the past five years, about 60 per cent of retired uniformed officers have been re-employed, a majority as uniformed officers.