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Singapore considering to hire auxiliary police officers from China, India, Philippines and Myanmar

Singapore is considering Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs) from other Asian countries such as China, India, the Philippines and Myanmar in light of the challenges of the current recruitment sources.

This was revealed by the Minister for Home Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugam, in his written response to Ms Sylvia Lim’s parliamentary question on 10 January of whether the hiring of APOs from Taiwan since 2017 is continuing to date.

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Singapore is considering Auxiliary Police Officers (APOs) from other Asian countries such as China, India, the Philippines and Myanmar in light of the challenges of the current recruitment sources.

This was revealed by the Minister for Home Affairs and Law, Mr K Shanmugam, in his written response to Ms Sylvia Lim’s parliamentary question on 10 January of whether the hiring of APOs from Taiwan since 2017 is continuing to date, what particular work challenges have been associated with hiring such APOs; and which other jurisdictions are being considered for the recruitment of APOs.

Mr Shanmugam noted that the Auxiliary Police Forces (APFs) continue to hire Taiwanese APOs till date.

“We need to allow the APFs to recruit foreign APOs, to meet the increasing demand for security services. They face challenges in sustaining an adequate pool of APOs, given the shrinking local workforce, requirements such as physical fitness, and the job options Singaporeans have.”

He shared that as of November 2023, Singaporean APOs made up approximately 68% of the total APO population, and the remaining 32% are Malaysians and Taiwanese.

“The deployment of Taiwanese APOs has generally been positive for the APFs. But it has been a challenge to recruit and keep them. Their numbers have decreased significantly, by more than 60% from 2017 to 2023, to about 70 today. The APFs tell us that this is because of the demanding nature of public-facing security work, improved job opportunities and prospects back home in Taiwan, a desire to settle down with a family, and homesickness.”

As such, the Minister noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been considering expanding the jurisdictions from which APFs can be allowed to recruit APOs.

“These potentially include Asian jurisdictions such as China, India, the Philippines and Myanmar. We have been in discussion with the APFs on the possibilities.”

He said that the risk of letting non-Singaporeans carry firearms, is something Singapore focus on.

“So far, misuse of firearms by APOs is extremely rare and is not more prevalent among non-Singaporeans.”

“We try and manage the risks through security screening, training and supervision of APOs. We are also careful and more restrictive where we deploy non-Singaporean APOs. It is a challenging environment, because of our shrinking workforce.”

Recruitment of Taiwan APOs in 2016

It was reported in 2016 that Certis CISCO Security Pte Ltd was seeking to employ potential auxiliary officers from Taiwan in an effort to boost the number of officers to support the understaffed Singapore Police Force.

During the commission of inquiry for the 2013 Little India Riot,  former Police Commissioner, Ng Joo Hee revealed that the size of the SPF has not kept pace with the population increase, and said the force would need a further 1,000 more officers if it is to beef up its anti-riot capabilities, and to continue to keep Singapore safe.

Certis CISCO, a fully owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings, has a heavy role in supplying manpower support to various departments of the MHA, ranging from immigration, traffic control duties, and law enforcement at hot spots such as Little India and Geylang.

AETOS, the other provider of APOs, was acquired by Surbana Jurong, also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Temasek.

In 2014, Parliament passed a bill to allow auxiliary officers to look after inmates at the prison.

Then, in 2014, Ms Lim spoke on the reliance by SPF on Auxiliary Police Officers, voicing her concerns about the rampant practice of outsourcing.

Today, the number of Auxiliary Police Officers stands at 6,000 officers, compared with over 8,000 regular officers in the Singapore Police Force. At the Woodlands checkpoint, APOs make up 20% of officers. Recently, the Prisons Act was amended to expand the role of APOs to allow them to conduct inmate escort and patrols within prison premises.

Will the trend of outsourcing of police, security and emergency functions to private operators increase further? If so, where is the line to be drawn before we see the quality of functions compromised and cost-effectiveness eroded? Should the issues be dealt with not by outsourcing, but instead by allocating more resources and support for recruitment and retention to the Home Team? And instead of outsourcing with its limits, should we not focus on “best-sourcing” instead?

Late Ms Lim pointed out in her speech in April 2016 that for auxiliary officers, only Singaporeans, permanent residents and Malaysians are eligible to apply. This makes Certis Cisco’s recruitment drive in Taiwan questionable.

She goes on to note that there seems to be a large presence of Malaysians in CERTIS and AETOS uniforms, and asked the Minister of Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam:

“One officer recently told me that the ratio allowed is five Malaysians to one Singaporean and I wonder if that is true. Are there guidelines on any duty or assignments which must done only by Singaporeans? For example, at the immigration checkpoints, are there Malaysians checking their fellow Malaysians and what would the risk be there?”

The Minister replied, “There are today about 7,000 APOs deployed in Singapore. They are either Singapore Citizens, PRs who are Malaysian citizens, or Malaysian citizens. Ms Lim asked if there is a ratio of five Malaysians to one Singaporean. No. That is not correct. Thankfully. More than half of the APOs are Singaporeans…”

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Can’t get New Citizens to do NS but willing to let foreigners have authority to enforce compliance behavior in SG. Shows how stupid Shamni is.

“… During the commission of inquiry for the 2013 Little India Riot,  former Police Commissioner, Ng Joo Hee revealed that the size of the SPF has not kept pace with the population increase …” —————— We need to go back to Basics to understand our problems, not just throw money and resources at issues arising from possibly WRONG policies: 1) Since SPF size has not kept pace with population increase, then who is ACCOUNTABLE for this lapse??? Recall Ah Loong also cried on TV, saying he had NO FORESIGHT that the sudden increase in population had led to insufficient planning for… Read more »

If the workforce is declining due to an ageing population, the foreign population has to be reduced. If you are going to hand over law enforcement to another country, how can we call ourselves a republic? Something is really wrong with the PAP Ministers and MP. In wanting to boost the GDP using numbers they are taking away the entire nationhood and replacing it with a foreign identity. They are truly traitors of the State. We need Xi as President to execute them all. Unfortunately we have another Singaporean deserter in office.

Need people to fill in jobs but “not good enough” for Singaporeans then complain about foreigners filling in jobs

how about you monkeys get down from your high horses?

as if we need to be more infiltrated…

Next up, hiring foreigners for the SAF?

i guess … coz he doesn’t trust SGan?

All setting up their mini empires … Still wanna talk about ideology when it is a Self serving ideology.

That’s why

Aging populations ?

Pools of labour elsewhere .

How about hiring foreigners, to be soldiers to protect SG esp SG is deemed a PAP Kingdom when often times, from PAP responses to decent and honest questions, treat SG as outsiders without stake holdings, like one can infer from PAP responses in Parliament which portray SG as trash with no ownership, or like the Russians, recruit prisoners, esp those facing deaths from drugs indictments, staying in Changi, to be in any of our armed forces.

Where the Job for Displaced Sgrean or Only Slaves need to apply?!?

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