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Singapore-Organization, Recruitment, and Training of Police

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Singapore Index

In 1989 Singapore's police force had 7,000 constables and inspectors, 3,000 national service conscripts, and 2,000 volunteers. The commissioner of police was responsible for law enforcement in all civil jurisdictions of the country. He was assisted by deputy commissioners for administration, civil defense, operations, and planning (see fig. 16). Two auxiliary police organizations employed an additional 2,300 persons trained to provide security for the Port of Singapore and private businesses. The Port of Singapore police with 300 personnel in 1989, was delegated responsibility for maintaining law and order on the docks, checking cargo manifests, and inspecting vessels that were suspected of having contraband. The other auxiliary police force was the Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation, which was operated as a public service under the control of the minister for home affairs. The corporation was established in 1972 to relieve regular police from routine security and escort duties for private businesses. The 2,000 security personnel employed by the corporation were delegated the same powers and immunities as police officers in the course of their duties. The Commercial and Industrial Security Corporation was the only civilian security organization whose personnel were authorized to carry firearms.

The deputy commissioner for operations of the police force was responsible for overseeing two commands and four departments. The main island was divided into ten police divisions, which, along with the airport police division, came under the Area Command. The one other command, known as the Detachments Command, comprised police units responsible for counterterrorism, crowd management, protection of government officials, and the marine police. Two police task forces, with probably fewer than 200 specially trained officers, had replaced the police reserve units of the 1960s. Counterterrorist operations most likely would be conducted by elite units belonging to one of the task forces in coordination with army commandos and other units taken from the police and armed forces. A 700-member Gurkha unit was responsible for prison security and for supporting the police task force in the event that a civil disturbance got out of control. The British-trained Gurkhas, recruited in Nepal, had been employed by the police since 1949. The four departments under the control of the deputry commissioner for operations had jurisdiction over crime prevention, criminal investigation, traffic control, and the special constabulary, which included an estimated 2,000 volunteer constables who were trained to assist the regular police in patrolling residential neighborhoods.

The three other deputy commissioners were responsible for administration, planning, and civil defense. The deputy commissioner for administration managed recruitment, training, and logistics and was responsible for the National Police Cadet Corps, a student organization that in the late 1980s had more than 20,000 members and units in 129 secondary schools located throughout Singapore. The deputy commissioner for planning was responsible for research and force development and proposed plans for the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment and the introduction of new law enforcement tactics to improve the efficiency of the police force. The deputy commissioner for civil defense was in charge of civil defense planning and civil defense organizations (see Civil Defense , this ch.).

Police personnel primarily were recruited from among high school graduates who were interested in law enforcement as a career. The professional force was augmented, as necessary, with national service conscripts and volunteers. In 1989 women comprised 15 percent of the force and were employed in all occupational fields. The high number of students interested in belonging to the National Police Cadet Corps provided the police with a large pool of potential recruits. Police recruits were required to be high school graduates without a criminal record and to be in excellent physical condition. Officers selected for promotion to senior grades had to be approved by the Public Service Commission. There were ten senior-grade levels: inspector, four grades of superintendents, and five grades of commissioners. Basic and advanced training for recruits and national service conscripts was provided at the Police Academy. Selected officers were awarded scholarships to attend local universities and to take courses in other countries. The six-month basic course for recruits emphasized legal procedures, police station and field operations, use of weapons, dealing with the public, and physical fitness. National service conscripts were given a three-month basic course, but with less emphasis on legal procedures. Most divisions of the areas and detachments commands selected from within to fill vacant billets for corporals, sergeants, and higher level positions. Officers were encouraged to enroll in career development courses that were devoted to such subjects as crisis management, community relations, crime investigation, and interrogation techniques. Exceptional junior officers received merit scholarships to the National University of Singapore to study management and other disciplines needed by the force. Senior officers were required to travel overseas for training to broaden their understanding of law enforcement practices in other countries. Some of the foreign schools attended were the Police Staff College in Britain, the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy in the United States, and the Police Academy in Japan.

Data as of December 1989

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