DPM Teo: Citizens need to react well to terror attack
SINGAPOREANS need to know how to react when a terror attack happens, just as security forces conduct exercises to prepare their response to such a strike, Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters at the conclusion of an 18-hour operation that saw heavily armed officers from the police and Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) out in force across the island, he underscored
the important role every Singaporean plays in responding to an attack.
"No matter how fast the security forces react, there
will always be the first few minutes, where whatever you do yourself is important - to protect yourself, your friends and those around you,"
added Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister
for National Security.
This week's drill comes
as the terror threat is at
its highest in years.
The police-led operation
is the country's largest counter-terrorism exercise, and involved over 3,200 officers from Home Team agencies
and the SAF. Community and grassroots leaders played a part too, with 60 volunteers participating in the operation to test their first aid and medical assistance skills.
The exercise ended at malls in Bishan and Tampines, where "terrorists" armed with M-16 rifles and explosive vests took hostages, including in a cinema, before being subdued early yesterday morning.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Lau Peet Meng said the exercise has given officers greater confidence in dealing with simultaneous attacks: "The exercise had allowed us to become more familiar with each other's operating procedure, instilling confidence, from our ground troops to the command elements, and also with the community... We are now better prepared to deal with such a contingency together."
DPM Teo said the exercise was important as it tested Home Team and SAF procedures jointly developed in recent months to respond
in a coordinated way
to a terror attack.
"There are also lessons to be learnt, which they will take back and improve," he added.