Centre ensures important buildings well protected and guarded against threats

Centre director Andy Tan joined the centre in 2013.
Centre director Andy Tan joined the centre in 2013.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - The Centre for Protective Security (CPS) has been engaging building owners since the introduction of a new law last December which makes it mandatory for some buildings to have enhanced security measures.

The centre's role, among others, is to ensure that protective measures are there to keep Singapore's critical infrastructure and buildings safe. These measures include security technology such as closed-circuit television cameras, security personnel, and strengthening the building against blast effects.

The centre, which has been responsible for carrying out checks and enforcement action since the Infrastructure Protection Act (IPA) came into force, also provides training for the various Home Team agencies.

Part of its role includes advising and ensuring that owners of critical infrastructure and buildings that are iconic or have high public footfall comply with regulations and security frameworks under the law.

"This was something that we took on as the CPS is the subject matter expert in this area," said centre director Andy Tan, speaking to media for the first time since the IPA came into force.

The CPS was previously known as the Centre for Protective Security Studies and was set up in 2012.

It was formerly under the Ministry of Home Affairs and became a department under the Singapore Police Force in April this year.

This was because the centre shares similar functions as the police in ensuring security for events, buildings and public spaces, said Mr Tan.

"We think there's a lot of synergy for CPS to be with police since we are protecting critical infrastructure as well."

"And by consolidating everything under the police, you bring all the protective security skill set under one place," said Mr Tan, who joined the centre in 2013.

Under the IPA, building owners are required to integrate security elements into infrastructure designs before construction or renovation if their buildings have been designated as "special developments" or "special infrastructures".

This includes measures like deploying security technology and strengthening the building against blast effects.

The IPA also gives more powers to security personnel at protected areas and places, like military camps and immigration checkpoints.

The officers will have the authority to question suspicious people, inspect their belongings and if need be, order them to leave the area.

The officers will also have the powers to stop, examine and delete unauthorised footage taken of the protected places.

Before the IPA, security personnel would have to "seek the cooperation" of the person to have the footage deleted, said Mr Tan.

Since the launch of the security industry's transformation map last year, the CPS has also been involved in training security consultants in a diploma programme developed with the Security Industry Institute at Temasek Polytechnic.

The diploma provides proper accreditation and training for the role of a security consultant, whose job entails helping clients assess their security needs and risks and coming up with solutions which could incorporate manpower and technology.

"We hope to enlarge the pool of security consultants available which will over time raise the standards in the security industry," said Mr Tan, adding that while these consultants would largely go on to the private sector, it also benefits the overall security landscape.

"It will always be a partnership between the police and the private security industry... A lot of the major events and important buildings are guarded by private security officers," he said.

"So it's actually in the police's interest that this skill set and capability of the private security grows as well."