The Singapore Police Force (SPF) held an island-wide counter-terrorism exercise from 17 to 18 October, which began 10am yesterday (17 October) and ended at 4am this morning (18 October).
As part of ongoing efforts by the Home Team and the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) to test and validate Singapore’s multi-agency response plan in the event of terrorist attacks, the exercise was also meant to raise public awareness on the current threat landscape and to encourage continued alertness from the public.
This is the largest counter-terrorism exercise held in Singapore so far. More than 3,200 personnel from SPF, SAF, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) as well as over 50 volunteers from the People’s Association (PA) Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Civil Defence Lionhearters participated in the exercise.
In Phase 1 of the exercise, SPF and ICA officers, supported by the SAF’s Island Defence Task Force (IDTF), organised deterrence patrols together at over 360 locations island wide such as public transport nodes, commercial areas, residential heartlands, and the land checkpoints.
From Marina Bay to Jurong East, heavily armed troops from the police and SAF turned out in force yesterday across the island.
SAF’s Peacekeeper Protected Response Vehicle (PRV) was also deployed alongside a Police Fast Response Car (FRC) at the Marina Bay financial centre for deterrence and stepped up security measures in response to a heightened threat situation.
In Phase 2 of the exercise, various SPF and SAF units responded to simultaneous terror attack scenarios which included an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) explosion and marauding gunmen scenarios, culminated at malls in Bishan and Tampines, where mock terrorists armed with M16 rifles and explosive vests took hostages, including in a cinema, before being subdued early this morning.
During the exercise, the firing of blanks, thunder flashes and smoke simulation were used at various locations. SAF’s Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives (CBRE) Defence Group was also activated to neutralise the threat of IEDs.
SPF’s Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) provided the first line of response to these simulated terror attacks, to quickly contain the situation and minimise casualties, then the Anti-Swarming Teams (ASTs) from the SPF’s Special Operations Command moved in to neutralise the armed attackers.
SAF’s Army Deployment Force was deployed to support the SPF’s ground commander at one of the incident locations, and SAF’s Special Operations Task Force was mobilized to neutralise armed hostage-takers and rescue the hostages.
After the gunmen were neutralised, SCDF emergency responders carried out rescue operations for the injured.
At the land checkpoints, ICA conducted enhanced vehicular and person checks on all travellers to detect and prevent other accomplices from escaping.
This exercise also exhibited the importance of community involvement in keeping Singapore safe and secure. Volunteers from PA practised their SGSecure skills, including the ‘Run, Hide & Tell’ advisory and Improvised First Aid skills using the ‘Press, Tie & Tell’ method, and practiced to take quick and appropriate actions in an attack scenario.
The police states that Singapore’s ability to deal with terrorism effectively is dependent on how Singapore responds to terrorist attacks and that security responses are not enough.
SGSecure, a nationwide movement which aims to increase the public’s preparedness and resilience, was launched on 24 Sept by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
And an SMS alert system which will notify people if there is a major emergency, such as a fire or a terror attack, was also launched last Saturday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law Mr K Shanmugam and Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) & Senior Minister of State (Defence) Mr Ong Ye Kung observed the exercise at Century Square and Tampines Mall on 18 October 2016.