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    May 16, 2016

    Police NSmen, NSFs to back anti-terror fight

    NATIONAL servicemen (NSmen) and full-time national servicemen (NSF) from the police force are to take on new roles to support the country's SG Secure initiative.

    About 1,500 police NSmen will form the new Community Engagement Vocation.

    Their training starts this month, after which they will be deployed in the Neighbourhood Police Centres' (NPCs) Community Policing Units.

    They will be trained in crowd management and evacuation skills as well as the handling of suspicious items. Training for police NSFs will start in the second half of this year.

    These NS officers, who will be known as Community Engagement Officers, will assist the NPCs in outreach activities.

    They will help in events such as workshops and exhibitions to educate the public about the threat of terrorism and how they can respond in the event of an attack.

    The Singapore Police Force shared these details yesterday at the HomeTeamNS REAL (Regular Exercise, Active Lifestyle) Run on Sentosa.

    The new vocation comes as part of support for SG Secure, a new national programme to launch later this year in an effort to build community resilience against the terror threat.

    K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, said at yesterday's event that pilot trials related to SG Secure will begin next month in some constituencies, including his own, Nee Soon GRC.

    "The success or failure of SG Secure depends on how much, how deep we are able to bring it across to people on the ground that everyone is responsible for their security in different ways," he said. "We want to transform ourselves into a nation of lifesavers who understand how to react."

    Meanwhile, the SCDF ORNS Shelter Battalion will be renamed the Public Shelter and Resilience Unit from July this year.

    The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said yesterday that about 1,000 operationally ready NSmen from this unit will take on two new functions during their in-camp training in community engagement and community first response.

    They include door-to-door house visits to disseminate information on household shelter management and fire safety measures.

    These efforts come as the Government reveals counter-terrorism plans, including SG Secure, to rally Singaporeans to stay alert and guard against terror attacks.

    Colonel (NS) Tan Kheng Feung, 44, one of the Commanders of the Public Shelter and Resilience Unit, said disseminating information on emergency preparedness is "particularly important as we are now in a heightened security".

    The terror threat has "become closer to Singapore so we have to teach the public... we have to do something ourselves, not just depend on the agencies involved", he added.

    Sherhan Suhandi, 36, one of those who will be part of the Community Engagement Vocation this year, said: "There is more responsibility for reservist officers and I think it motivates us more."