Home Team officers get new tech, work-study options

Above: Singapore Civil Defence Force Major Carolyn Low, head of the Civil Defence Academy's (CDA) medical branch, demonstrating the hololens that use augmented reality technology for medical training.
Above: Singapore Civil Defence Force Major Carolyn Low, head of the Civil Defence Academy's (CDA) medical branch, demonstrating the hololens that use augmented reality technology for medical training.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Below: Minister Josephine Teo trying out the hololens under Major Low's guidance, observed by (from left) CDA director Alan Chow, Ministry of Home Affairs Deputy Secretary T. Raja Kumar and Home Team Academy chief executive Clarence Yeo. Left: Singap
Above: Minister Josephine Teo trying out the hololens under Major Low's guidance, observed by (from left) CDA director Alan Chow, Ministry of Home Affairs Deputy Secretary T. Raja Kumar and Home Team Academy chief executive Clarence Yeo. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Latest initiatives are part of efforts to help officers adapt to changing security landscape

A new tie-up with a local university will allow Home Team officers to work towards a degree while on the job, in the latest example of how the organisation invests in its officers, said Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo yesterday.

The initiative, by the Home Team and the Singapore University of Social Sciences, will start in January next year.

Called the Certificate in Home Team Studies, the programme will let officers earn credits for selected modules that can count towards an undergraduate degree, said Mrs Teo during the Home Team Academy's annual Workplan Seminar.

Speaking at the Home Team Academy's (HTA) premises at Old Choa Chu Kang Road, Mrs Teo said these initiatives 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, the seminar also showcased a range of new technology to help officers across the different Home Team agencies to train better and faster.

Mrs Teo also highlighted 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.

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

Speaking at his first HTA Workplan Seminar since assuming the role of HTA's chief executive last year, Mr Clarence Yeo highlighted the academy's role as a "corporate university" to empower learning and growth for a united and successful Home Team, which comprises agencies such as the police, Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Prison Service.

During her speech, Mrs Teo reflected on how far the Home Team has come in its training initiatives.

She mentioned an anecdote shared by an officer who joined the Marine Police, now known as the Police Coast Guard, in 1969.

PEOPLE-FIRST APPROACH

Let us keep gelling, keep remembering that at the heart of the Home Team, our officers and their training must always be a priority, so that we can keep doing a better job of keeping Singapore and Singaporeans safe and secure.

MINISTER FOR MANPOWER AND SECOND MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS JOSEPHINE TEO

"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," she said.

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

"Let us keep gelling, keep remembering that at the heart of the Home Team, our officers and their training must always be a priority, so that we can keep doing a better job of keeping Singapore and Singaporeans safe and secure," she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2019, with the headline 'Home Team officers get new tech, work-study options'. Print Edition | Subscribe