Dear Home Team officers,
Happy New Year!
As we begin 2017, I would like to express my appreciation to all Home Team officers.
Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world, because of your dedication and commitment towards our Home Team mission.
The attack at the Christmas market in Berlin on 19 Dec, the attack on the Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Day, and various other attacks in the last few weeks show the nature of the threat.
In 2016, the Home Team strengthened our counter-terrorism capability. We launched the Police Emergency Response Teams (ERTs). We sharpened our operational preparedness with major public exercises (Quicksilver and Heartbeat). And tightened our border security with the implementation of ICA’s BioScreen at the land and sea checkpoints.
We also continued to engage our neighbouring countries like Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia to work together on a set of best practices in countering violent extremism that can serve as a blueprint for our region.
We launched SGSecure – our national movement to develop community vigilance, resilience and cohesion against terrorism. We embarked on an extensive ground outreach effort to engage Singaporeans across multiple touch points. As of October last year, we had engaged more than 34,000 households as part of this outreach effort. We also launched the SGSecure app, which has been downloaded or preloaded onto more than 210,000 mobile devices since its launch in September last year. SGSecure will continue to be an important priority in 2017, as we move into the next phase of strengthening community resilience and expanding the outreach to schools and workplaces.
The Home Team continued to do well in day-to-day operations. The perseverance and courage of our SCDF firefighters shone through as you battled major fires in 2016, including the overnight effort to subdue the fire at the CK Building.
Faced with heavier traveller volume at our Checkpoints, our ICA officers did a good job managing waiting times without compromising checkpoint security.
SPS and SCORE made important progress in our rehabilitation efforts, such as the implementation of the Mandatory Aftercare Scheme.
2016 was also an important year in our fight against drugs. Against the backdrop of an increasingly liberal attitude towards drugs in many parts of the world, we successfully defended and secured Singapore’s zero-tolerance approach and drug-free agenda at the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). We will continue to safeguard our tough stance, unless a more effective solution can be proven to us.
I want to commend officers who have stepped up and devoted your energies to drive the Home Team Transformation 2025 effort. You have played a critical role in developing the strategies for the Home Team to meet the challenges of changing demographics, increasing demand, manpower constraints and evolving threats. The success of this Transformation will depend on effective implementation, in particular, the new joint capabilities that will integrate the Home Team even more and enhance our effectiveness. In 2017, we will move into top gear in implementing our Home Team Transformation initiatives.
As Home Team officers, you will always be our most important resource. Investment in your development will continue to be a top priority. In 2017, we will implement the unified scheme of service and expert tracks across all Home Team Departments. We will intensify efforts to help officers develop deep specialist skills. We will provide career transition services to help Home Team officers prepare for retirement and acquire the skills to transit smoothly into a second career.
I have always considered it my privilege to serve alongside all of you. I have met some of you at meetings, events and ground visits. Your professionalism, passion and strong sense of mission are impressive. Thank you very much for serving with Honour and Unity, in keeping Singapore safe and secure for all.
I wish all Home Team officers and your families good health, happiness and the very best in 2017!
MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS