Yesterday (6 April), the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) released a press statement announcing that Basic Training Activities at the Home Team Academy and the National Service Training Institute will be suspended.
In the statement, the Ministry mentioned that it will suspend the Police Officers Basic Course (POBC) and the Basic Rescue Training (BRT) for all full-time National Servicemen (NSFs), at the Home Team Academy (HTA) and the National Service Training Institute (NSTI) from 7 April to 4 May 2020. This decision was made in tandem with the nationwide COVID-19 circuit breaker period.
According to the statement, approximately 1,600 full-time NSF trainees from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be required to stay home. They will only be allowed out for essential activities due to the social distancing measures. The trainees must remain contactable at all times during the circuit breaker period.
The statement explained that the trainees’ Operationally Ready Date will not be affected and that they will continue to be eligible for National Service allowance and medical benefits during this period.
“The suspension period will count towards the trainees’ full-time National Service (NS), and their Operationally Ready Date will not be affected. The trainees will continue to be eligible for NS allowance and medical benefits during the period of suspension. SPF and SCDF will manage any operational impact arising from the suspension of basic training.”
The Ministry added that other training activities for NSFs, such as the Officer Cadet Training for SPF and SCDF trainees, will continue with enhanced precautionary measures. Such training is essential to enable the Home Team to continue its day-to-day responsibilities of keeping Singapore safe and secure, said MHA.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) also posted an announcement on their Facebook page, relaying the same message released by the MHA. The SPF stated that their will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and review the measures in keeping their servicemen safe while maintaining their operational effectiveness.
Other than announcing on the suspension on the Police Officers Basic Course (POBC), the SPF also answered several questions relevant to trainees. The trainees were told to comply with the stay-at-home measure and that they must return home for the time being. They were also told that they would not be able to continue with training.
In regards to the trainees who will be enlisting on 15 April, the SPF stated that they will still be administratively enlisted on 15 April, but they will not need to report for POBC on that day. The trainees were asked to continue with the circuit breaking measures as well as social distancing.
SPF said it will revise the training curriculum and duration required to ensure that trainees are able to safely complete POBC and acquire the requisite skills. The period of POBC suspension will count towards full-time NS obligations. Hence, their ORD will not be affected.
As for the people who will enlist in May 2020, the MHA stated that they will continue to monitor the situation and that they will update if there is a change to the reporting date.