Home Team investing in technology and academic courses to improve officer training

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Officer Teng Song Guan demonstrating the Virtual Reality Scenario-Based Training for Prison Officer Course. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo (second from right) trying the hololens at SCDF event booth with guidance from Major Carolyn Low (far right). ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - The Home Team continuously invests in its officers, and its most recent efforts will offer academic courses and advanced training technology, Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo said on Wednesday (May 15).

One academic programme currently being developed is the Certificate in Home Team Studies that will allow officers to earn credits for selected modules that can count towards an undergraduate degree, said Mrs Teo during the Home Team Academy's annual Workplan Seminar.

The initiative, a collaboration between the Home Team and Singapore University of Social Sciences, will begin in January next year.

Speaking at Home Team Academy's (HTA) premises at Old Choa Chu Kang Road, Mrs Teo said these programmes are part of the organisation's efforts to help officers adapt to the changing security landscape.

"Fundamentally, it is about investing in our most important asset - our officers," she said, adding that the threat of terrorism remains high while criminal activities are becoming more complex.

"The Home Team must continue to prioritise training and learning, and the development of our officers."

Besides academic learning, Wednesday's seminar also showcased a range of new technology that will help officers across the different Home Team agencies to train better and faster.

Mrs Teo noted in particular a new facility at the Civil Defence Academy that will improve the performance and capabilities of Singapore Civil Defence Force officers by tracking their physiological and cognitive responses during training.

Singapore Civil Defence Force Major Carolyn Low, head of medical branch for Civil Defence Academy, demonstrating the use of augmented reality for medical training. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

The Emergency Responders' Fitness Conditioning and Enhancement Lab (ExCEL) uses simulation technology to assess emergency responders during training and collect data to help them improve their performance. The facility will be launched by the end of next year.

Enhancements will also be made to the existing Home Team Learning Management System, which was commissioned in 2016 and has since been used by almost 70,000 Home Team officers, full-time national servicemen (NSF) and operationally ready national servicemen (NSmen).

Speaking at his first HTA Workplan Seminar since assuming the role as HTA's chief executive last year, Mr Clarence Yeo highlighted the academy's role as a "corporate university" with the mission to empower learning and growth for a united and successful Home Team.

He also thanked local and global partners and law enforcement agencies who have played a part in the learning and development of the Home Team and its officers.

During her speech, Mrs Teo reflected on how far the Home Team has come in its training initiatives, and mentioned an anecdote shared by an officer who, in 1969, joined the Marine Police, now known as the Police Coast Guard.

"He recounts that as the offices at Kallang Base had limited space, the Marine Police did not have classrooms for newcomers. So the poor officers underwent the pre-sea course under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, with only one blackboard and a few long benches."

Now, with most of the Home Team training schools located at the HTA, the classrooms are progressively being refurbished into smart classrooms and more virtual and augmented reality training systems are being developed.

Mrs Teo added: "By working together and supporting each other, and leveraging the skills and competencies of fellow Home Team departments, we will do an even better job of keeping Singapore safe and secure."

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