Singapore Government

Press Release

Media Division, Ministry of Information & The Arts, #36-00, PSA Building, 460 Alexandra Road, Singapore 119963, Tel: 3757794/5

SPEECH BY MR WONG KAN SENG, MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS, AT THE COMBINED CEREMONY FOR THE FORMATION OF THE PCG SPECIAL TASK SQUADRON AND THE NAMING OF COASTAL PATROL CRAFT ON 22 JAN 97 AT 10.00 AM AT PCG HEADQUARTERS

Good morning, Commissioner of Police, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I am pleased to be here this morning to launch the newly formed Special Task Squadron and to name 4 more coastal patrol craft. The Police Coast Guard's (PCG) mission is to keep our territorial waters crime-free and to stop illegal immigrants and intruders. Keeping our territorial waters safe is crucial to Singapore'status as a shipping hub and a premier port. This ceremony marks another milestone in upgrading the operational capability of the PCG.

At the heart of its upgrading efforts is the acquisition of new hardware and state-of-the-art technology. For example, the PCG will acquire 20 new custom-made patrol boats equipped with state-of-the-art radar, navigational and communications equipment. It will also acquire 6 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats for more effective shallow-water operations. PCG will additionally be re-equipped with a highly sophisticated command, control and surveillance system.

In the meantime PCG has set up its own training centre capable of delivering specialised training to its officers. Since my last visit in 1994, the Police Coast Guard has acquired a sophisticated Radar Tactical Trainer which provides realistic simulation training at minimun cost. PCG will soon take delivery of a Firing Simulator Trainer, which is able to simulate conditions at sea.

All this is in line with the Singapore Police Force's strategy of harnessing hardware and technology to best effect. But hardware and technology are not everything. The challenges of the future demand that the Police Force adopt bold and imaginative steps to perform even better. This year sees the end of Police's current 5-year plan initiated in 1993. Much has been achieved with the Commissioner's priorities to enhance the operational capability of the Police, particularly through the development of operationally attuned and thinking officers at the front-line, serving in a culture of empowerment. The Police has also done well in instilling a set of core values in its officers. You have taken effective steps to leverage hardware and technology to strengthen your operational effectiveness. In working with the community, the last five years have seen the enhancement of the Police's community policing strategy with the adoption of the problem solving approach.

The next five years will be even more challenging as it will take the Police Force into the next millennium. You have already started re-examining how you will operate into the 21st century. You will have to ensure that you have the right people, doing the right thing, in the right way. Technology will continue to be a key strategy to assist you in doing things the right way; so will community support. The Police will have to forge innovative ways of garnering greater community support and working more closely with community organisations to fight crime. I am pleased to note that the Singapore Police Force has started to re-structure the Neighbourhood Watch Zones which is a step in this right direction. Another way is to tap on the expertise and resources of the other Home Team departments. By working more closely with the community and other Home Team agencies, the Force will be more effective in pre-empting and dealing with the multi-faceted law and order problems of the future. This is critical since to continue doing the right thing, the Police Force must continually look beyond the horizon to anticipate problems as society evolves. You will have to increasingly devote more resources to preventive measures in order to stop tomorrow's policing problems today.

In closing, may I congratulate the PCG for its foresight in setting up the Special Task Squadron. You have done well to anticipate future problems and taken steps to address them. The formation of the Special Task Squadron is one such step. With its high speed boats, the Squadron will help the PCG to safeguard our territorial waters into the 21st Century.

Thank you.