Police and SAF tackle 'bombs' and 'gunmen' in counter-terrorism exercise

The police's Armed Strike Team engaging "gunmen" at the train platform of Tuas Link MRT station in a counter-terrorism exercise on Feb 22, 2019.
The police's Armed Strike Team engaging "gunmen" at the train platform of Tuas Link MRT station in a counter-terrorism exercise on Feb 22, 2019. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - More than 900 personnel from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and  Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) took part in an islandwide counter-terrorism exercise, tackling simulated threats involving explosives, gunmen and hostage situations.

The exercise, which started on Tuesday (Feb 19) and lasted for about eight hours, was part of efforts by the Home Team and SAF to test and validate Singapore's multi-agency response plan in the event of a terror attack.

The police, in a statement on Friday (Feb 22), gave details of the different scenarios that were staged for the mock attacks.

The exercise started with a "terror attack" at Tuas Link MRT station, where the first responders - police officers from the Ground Response Force and the Emergency Response teams - were activated.

A second wave of responders from the police Armed Strike teams - comprising the Special Operations Command and Gurkha Contingent - provided additional tactical capabilities.

The mock attack then quickly turned into a "hostage situation", and the Special Tactics & Rescue Unit from SPF moved in to contain the "siege" and provide intervention.

The final line of response was the SAF Special Operations Task Force, which was deployed to handle complex "hostage-taking situations".

The SAF Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Explosives units and  Medical Response Force also came in to neutralise Improvised Explosive Device threats and handle medical emergencies, respectively.

One part of the exercise saw joint deterrence patrols by SPF officers and the SAF's Island Defence Task Force. These took place in the heartland and commercial areas like Bishan Junction 8 and schools like Stamford American International School and St. Joseph's Institution International School.

The police, in the statement, said: "This was part of deterrence efforts and stepped up security measures in response to a heightened threat situation."

During the joint patrols, the teams also responded to various crises scenarios, such as instances of active shooting, unattended suspicious articles, vehicle ramming attacks, and suspicious and aggressive individuals at various locations.

The SPF and SAF conduct regular joint-training sessions and exercises to enhance operational readiness in homeland security operations, the statement said.

"Such interactions strengthen interoperability between the two security forces to deal swiftly and effectively with terrorism threats under the Homefront Crisis Management Framework," it added.