Home Team elite officers ready to deal with threats

ST VIDEO: KEVIN LIM
ST VIDEO: TAN TAM MEI
Reporter Tan Tam Mei preparing to fire the Heckler and Koch USP compact pistol at the Home Team Tactical Centre during a media tour on Monday. Armed Strike Team officers jumping out of a tactical response vehicle to handle a simulated threat. Above:
Officers from the Special Tactics and Rescue (Star) team rappelling from a helicopter mock-up. The Star unit handles hostage rescue operations and high-risk arrests.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
Reporter Tan Tam Mei preparing to fire the Heckler and Koch USP compact pistol at the Home Team Tactical Centre during a media tour on Monday. Armed Strike Team officers jumping out of a tactical response vehicle to handle a simulated threat. Above:
Armed Strike Team officers jumping out of a tactical response vehicle to handle a simulated threat. ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
Reporter Tan Tam Mei preparing to fire the Heckler and Koch USP compact pistol at the Home Team Tactical Centre during a media tour on Monday. Armed Strike Team officers jumping out of a tactical response vehicle to handle a simulated threat. Above:
Above: An RDT officer taking aim during a live-firing display conducted in the drive-in shooting range.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM
ST VIDEO: TAN TAM MEI
ST VIDEO: TAN TAM MEI
Reporter Tan Tam Mei preparing to fire the Heckler and Koch USP compact pistol at the Home Team Tactical Centre during a media tour on Monday. Armed Strike Team officers jumping out of a tactical response vehicle to handle a simulated threat. Above:
Reporter Tan Tam Mei preparing to fire the Heckler and Koch USP compact pistol at the Home Team Tactical Centre during a media tour on Monday.ST PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM

Special Ops Command shows its training and capabilities during rare media tour

At the Home Team Tactical Centre's (HTTC) unique drive-in shooting range, police officers from the Special Operations Command (SOC) train to deal with a multitude of threats.

In a rare media tour on Monday, the SOC's Rapid Deployment Troops (RDT) and Armed Strike Team rode on tactical response motorcycles and vehicles to handle a simulated threat, taking out "enemies" surrounding them. The exercise, which lasted less than a minute, was completed without a hitch.

During the 21/2-hour tour at the HTTC in Mandai Quarry Road, The Straits Times was given a behind-the-scenes look at the kind of training and capabilities that elite SOC officers have.

The SOC is responsible for police tactical operations, and maintenance of public order and security, among other things.

Easily identified by its "ang chia", a colloquial term for the red bus its officers ride in, the SOC comprises various specialised units, including the Police Tactical Unit, the Special Tactics and Rescue (Star) unit, and the Police K-9 Unit.

During training and operations, SOC officers, whose ballistic resistance vests together with their weapons can weigh up to 25kg, have to navigate swiftly through various situations and spaces.

The Star unit, in particular, handles hostage rescue operations and high-risk arrests.

For the first time on Monday, the media could see how officers train for scenarios in enclosed spaces in the Close Quarter Battle House.

The area replicates various layouts and rooms, with multiple nooks and crannies, and can be reconfigured by moving false walls around.


Above: Officers from the Star team demonstrating a demolition exercise. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Star officers also showed their ability to breach a compound, by rappelling from a height and entering a building after using explosives to create an entry point.

Amid the rising threat of terrorism, SOC training has become more realistic over the years and the Home Team knows it needs to respond even more quickly to incidents, said Superintendent Tan Tian Yeow, assistant director of the Operations Department Contingency Planning Division.

ighlighting the RDTs in the drive-in range demonstration, Supt Tan said: "(This is one of the reasons) they respond on their tactical motorcycles, which allow them to clear any heavy traffic when necessary."

Supt Tan also stressed the need for the community and stakeholders, such as building owners, to be ready to respond should an incident arise, so as to help reduce overall casualties.

"Because of the environment we are in now, we want them to know we (the police) are prepared, but we also want them to be prepared, so we can work hand in hand," he said.


Looking behind the scenes at Special Operations Command's capabilities. http://str.sg/specialops

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 29, 2017, with the headline 'Home Team elite officers ready to deal with threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe