Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said the Ministry of Home Affairs has not heard a more effective proposal on hiring foreigners as auxiliary police officers.
Speaking in Committee of Supply debate in Parliament on Friday (3 March), Mr Lee addressed concerns raised by Workers’ Party MP Sylvia Lim on having foreigners as auxiliary police officers and about foreign entity bearing arms.
Ms Lim’s questions come following news reports of local security company, Certis CISCO Security Pte Ltd seeking to employ potential auxiliary officers from Taiwan as an effort to ramp up the numbers of officers to support the understaffed Singapore Police Force.
Mr Lee said that it has not been possible for the Auxiliary Police Forces to recruit only Singaporeans due to a limited supply.
“MHA have decided to allow the recruitment of foreigners after carefully considering the options,” Mr Lee said.
“They are properly screened to ensure that they are suitable for security work. We also make careful assessments with regard to where they are deployed, and this is reviewed from time to time.”
“We have not heard a more effective proposal,” he said.
Still, the Government’s priority is to increase the number of Singaporean auxiliary police officers, “They are employed on better terms than the foreigners, also enjoy better career prospects,” he said.
Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam also has earlier answered the same question raised by Ms Lim on 9 January. Mr Shanmugam said that the Government is looking for possible sources of Auxiliary Police Forces (APFs) from Taiwan as a result of a growing demand as the APFs has have indicated that they will not be able to recruit sufficient suitable Singaporeans to meet this projected demand.
On Ms Lim’s concerns about foreign auxiliary police officers bearing arms, Mr Lee said, “anytime we give weapons to people, there is always a risk.”
“There have been isolated cases of both local and foreign auxiliary police officers misusing their arms, but we have to arm our officers with weapons, if the risk assessment and operational needs so require, so that they can protect our installations,” he said. “Not doing so may compromise our security even more,” he added.
“We have to recognise and manage the risks through screening, training and supervision, whether it is an auxiliary police officer of Singaporean or foreign origin who is equipped with arms,” Mr Lee concluded.
Editor’s note – Mr Lee fails to address the root problem of why Certis Cisco or AETOS fail to hire locals to take up the job. End of the day, despite the responsibility that the Auxillary Police Officers are tasked upon, they are still classified as security guards, this means that their pay and working hours are bound to that of security guards. Many whom TOC spoke to, complained about the long working hours, 14 hours or more on a single shift and low pay due to the deductions and low pay scale. Certis Cisco and AETOS cannot raise their pay because of the lobbying from the security companies and the politicians don’t have the guts to stand up against the companies.