Fingerprint scanning for NSmen taking IPPT

NSmen running as part of their IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT) programme in Maju Camp.
NSmen running as part of their IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT) programme in Maju Camp. PHOTO: ST FILE

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) will use fingerprint scanners to verify the identity of NSmen taking their Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) in Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) camps.

No timeframe has been given for the implementation of this technology which is already in use in eight SAF camps, but not for NSmen - or operationally ready national servicemen - booking in to take the IPPT.

However, Mindef said in its statement that NSmen taking their IPPT in camps will have to have their fingerprints scanned when this technology is introduced at all SAF camps.

On Tuesday, a man was jailed for his role in a scam in which he helped NSmen pass their IPPT. A total of 69 NSmen have been disciplined in relation to this case - 58 were with the SAF, six were with the Singapore Civil Defence Force and five with the Singapore Police Force.

Mindef also said it has stepped up verification measures to apprehend IPPT cheats.

"Cheating goes against the core values of the SAF and reflects on the integrity of the soldier. Officers and warrant officers caught cheating are no longer fit to command and can have their ranks removed in addition to fines imposed," it said in its statement.

Already, checks at the camp gate and during IPPT registration have become more stringent, The Straits Times understands.

More thorough checks are being made to ensure the face of the NSman matches that on the identity card (IC) presented.

There is also closer scrutiny to ensure that the details on an NSman's IC match those submitted when he registered for the test online. Checks carried out as the fitness test is conducted have also been stepped up.

Several NSmen who took the test on Wednesday noted that checks have indeed become more stringent. Project manager Luo Zhigen, 34, said that at the push-up station, everyone had their faces checked against their IC photos. All ICs were also scanned at that station, he said, adding that this was a first.

A few, however, said loopholes remain. Customer service officer William Tan, 27, said test administrators did not check that those completing the 2.4km run were using their own IC and tag, which can be swopped with others before the run.

An NSman, who only wanted to be known as Mr Ang, said he did not think any camp guard or IPPT test administrator checked his face against his IC photo.

But the 24-year-old Singapore Institute of Management student added: "If they have to check every photo, I won't be able to come out (after finishing the test) in an hour."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2016, with the headline 'Fingerprint scanning for NSmen taking IPPT'. Print Edition | Subscribe