SINGAPORE - The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has introduced new quick-response teams at some of Singapore's more iconic attractions to boost the Republic's counter-terrorism efforts.
Since Dec 1, In-Situ Reaction Teams (IRTs) have been deployed in popular areas in Singapore, such as in Orchard Road and Marina Bay, to heighten security during the festive period. IRT officers, recognisable by their distinctive beige berets, will largely be stationed in areas of high footfall.
Part of the SPF's Protective Security Command (ProCom), the teams will complement existing ground response forces and emergency response teams. As IRTs are already situated in pre-determined areas, they are likely to be the first responders in the event of an attack.
Assistant Commissioner of Police and ProCom Commander, Manimaran Pushpanatan, said: "The mission of the IRT is to deter, detect and respond to threats similar to that you've seen in Paris and London. All IRT officers... are trained in special tactics and are more proficient in the use of high-powered weaponry to counter these threats on the ground."
IRTs, which will largely be made up of full-time national servicemen (NSFs), go through stringent selection and training. They are required to undergo a three-week programme after their six-month NSF basic training.
The three-week specialised training will equip each four-man IRT - three NSFs and one regular - with specific skills, such as dealing with hostage situations and heavy-vehicle attacks.
On Friday afternoon (Dec 15), Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo was at Takashimaya Shopping Centre in Orchard Road to observe the new team in action.
Said Mrs Teo, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs and Manpower: “This festive season, our Home Team has once again geared up to ensure Singaporeans remain safe. As the crowds throng the streets, we have also set up IRTs from the ProCom to provide a swift and effective response should there be a terror attack.
"We are entrusting our NSFs with greater responsibilities, as they form the bulk of the IRTs, to work with our regular officers in counter-terrorism efforts."
The SPF said that there will be more forces deployed in the coming years, although it declined to say how many IRTs are in operation.