Certis Cisco launches first auxiliary police K-9 unit

The first auxiliary police K-9 unit in Singapore, Certis K-9 will work alongside auxiliary police and aviation security officers to safeguard key installations such as airports, sea ports and transport hubs.
Auxiliary police officer Chan Yubo (third from right) with Thomas the labrador retriever and other dog handlers at Certis K-9, which will work alongside auxiliary police and aviation security officers.
Auxiliary police officer Chan Yubo (third from right) with Thomas the labrador retriever and other dog handlers at Certis K-9, which will work alongside auxiliary police and aviation security officers.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

He is an avid dog lover who is working as an auxiliary police officer with Certis Cisco.

When the chance came for Mr Chan Yubo, 23, to mix both his career and interest, he responded quickly.

He is one of the first nine dog handlers in Certis Cisco's new K-9 unit, which was launched yesterday at the Certis Cisco Centre in Paya Lebar.

Certis K-9, the first auxiliary police K-9 unit in Singapore, will work alongside auxiliary police and aviation security officers to safeguard key installations here.

These include airports, sea ports, transport hubs and major events where human traffic is high.

Mr Chan, an auxiliary police officer for almost five years, said: "I really love dogs. I have a small chihuahua at home. When I heard of this opportunity, I decided to join immediately."

He was paired with Thomas, a labrador retriever, when he joined the unit in September last year. He said: "Thomas has a lot of patience and we get along perfectly. There's time for work and also for play. He especially likes his squishy ball."

 
 
 

Certis, a security organisation which delivers multi-disciplinary security and integrated services, will start with 10 dogs.

One dog is currently undergoing explosives detection training in Britain.

The dogs are of various breeds, such as labrador retrievers and english springer spaniels, and aged between one and 1½ years.

They will be in service until they are retired at about eight years old, after which they will be put up for adoption. This procedure is similar to their counterparts in the Singapore Police Force (SPF).

The dogs are brought in from Britain and the Netherlands, and undergo the same training as their SPF counterparts.

Mr Matthew Ng, commanding officer of the enforcement and events division of the Certis auxiliary police force, said the K-9 unit was formed to counter the heightened security threat here.

He said: "Dogs are extremely intelligent and certain breeds can be trained to detect contraband and explosives."

The dogs, he said, will be assigned to tasks such as cargo screening and deterrence patrols.

He added that canines may sometimes be better than humans or machines in carrying out screening work.

For example, a team of two officers would take 20 to 30 minutes to thoroughly check a vehicle, using equipment such as undercarriage mirrors. But a dog can complete the task in just five to 10 minutes, according to Mr Ng.

Certis plans to eventually increase the team of dogs to 24, although there is no timeline, as it would depend on market requirements.

Mr Ng said "significant investment" went into starting this new unit.

A new kennel is being built for the Certis K-9 unit in Toh Tuck Crescent, and it will have grooming and training facilities. It is expected to be completed between June and September.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2019, with the headline 'Certis Cisco launches first auxiliary police K-9 unit'. Print Edition | Subscribe