Police launch watch group with transport association to combat terrorism and crime

Minister of State for Home Affairs and Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan (second from right) at the launch of the watch group. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - The Nice truck attack on Bastille Day in France in July 2016. The London Bridge attack in June 2017. The Waukesha Christmas parade attack in Wisconsin, United States, last November. These were carried out by perpetrators using vehicles to plough into civilians, causing death and mayhem.

To counter such threats of terrorism and crime involving vehicles here, the police teamed up with the Singapore Transport Association (STA) on Thursday (Feb 24) to launch a watch group.

It will help logistical transport industry players become better educated on security threats, get alerts when threats have been detected, and operate as eyes and ears on the ground.

Citing several terrorist attacks abroad involving vehicles, as well as the foiled Jemaah Islamiyah attempt to use truck bombs to mount simultaneous suicide attacks on targets in Singapore in 2001, the police said the new partnership also aims to create a safer and more secure industry.

The director of the Community Partnership Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Shng Yunn Chinn, said: "(The partnership) allows us to share latest crime and security advisories and threats with the industry members quickly to prevent potential misuse of their logistical transport vehicles for conduct of illegal or terrorist-related activities."

The Logistical Transport Industry Safety and Security Watch Group was officially launched on Thursday during a virtual event over Zoom attended by about 180 participants.

This is the latest Industry Safety and Security Watch Group (iSSWG) set up here, with the Singapore Police Force having networks with members from the chemical, manufacturing, hotel, retail, financial, public entertainment and online industries to address industry-specific security concerns.

The Logistical Transport Industry Safety and Security Watch Group aims to help industry players share practices and develop guidelines through webinars and bulletins.

The practices include Vehicle Safety Management System technology that provides real-time GPS vehicle tracking, which some of the 127 STA members currently use, said STA chairman Cherie Goh.

Minister of State for Home Affairs as well as Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, the guest of honour at the event, said that since 2015, Singapore has dealt with 54 people for terrorism-related conduct, with 44 of them being self-radicalised.

"The modus operandi of terrorists is constantly evolving. We are not just talking about guns and bombs... Vehicles and everyday items like knives can also be used by terror groups to carry out attacks," Mr Tan said.

"We value the importance of working closely with our community partners and business partners to innovate and build new capabilities to deal with the evolving challenges and threats."

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