Safety and Security Watch Group (SSWG) Scheme
In today’s security climate, the targets of choice for terrorists are not heavily-guarded government key installations or so-called “hard targets”. Rather, terrorists have been targeting “soft targets” such as public areas, private establishments and places with high volumes of human traffic. There are numerous examples globally – JW Marriott Hotel bombings in Jakarta in 2003; Bali Bombings in 2001 and 2005; London bombings in 2005.
Since 2001, in addition to enhancing security at key installations, the Singapore Government has implemented various measures to raise the overall level of security in Singapore . However, this is not enough as resources are finite and the security forces cannot be everywhere. The community and private sector must do their part too. As in crime prevention, terrorism prevention is a shared responsibility. There is a need for all buildings in Singapore to be tactically hardened against potential terrorist attacks.
In November 2003, the Security Watch Group (SWG) Scheme was introduced as mainly a Police-networking platform for the commercial sector to collaborate on the target-hardening of their premises where they operate their businesses. Buildings are grouped into SWG clusters. Within each SWG cluster, buildings undergo the three-step process of threat assessment, auditing of systems and the streamlining of operations through the pooling of resources.
Nonetheless despite the good rapport with the business community to fight crime and terrorism threats, there is still a discernible level of threat in the security climate. Hence there is a critical need to bring the existing mode of engagement with the business community through the SWG network to a higher level, by adopting a broader and more holistic Home Team approach in it. As a result, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was roped in to jointly administer in the scheme.
Beginning in November 2006, the SWG Scheme underwent an upgrading exercise to incorporate both safety and security aspects of the Police and SCDF, and become officially known as the Safety and Security Watch Group (SSWG) Scheme. Through this conversion, the business community will be better equipped with robust measures to fight crime and terrorism threats effectively as well as become more confident to tackle future crisis incident.
As at Dec 2015, there are 1337 member buildings from 156 SSWG clusters.
Please click on the following links to find out more about the SSWG Scheme
All buildings in Singapore are eligible and are welcome to participate in the SSWG Scheme because terrorism affects everybody.
SSWGs are clustered based on geographical proximity. The need for geographical proximity as a defining parameter in the formation of SSWG clusters is based on the principle that the security of the geographical cluster is only as robust as the least ‘hardened’ building in the cluster. The counter-terrorist measures of the active members in the geographical cluster would not be as effective without the active participation of all members, as any vulnerability in one building will put all the other buildings at risk.
Buildings that are geographically isolated from other buildings are grouped with the SSWG cluster closest to them, so that the benefits of networking and pooling of resources can still be reaped.
SSWGs are formed by individual Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPCs), comprising buildings under the jurisdiction of the NPC.
For businesses with multiple premises, each individual premises could be members of different SSWGs, since each business site would have security and target hardening concerns unique to its location.
Once a SSWG is formed, a committee will be formed where representatives of each building are either the building owners or managing agents who are in-charge of the overall security and management of the premises. Representatives should not be at such a senior level that they do not have any knowledge on the day-to-day running of the building. Key tenants of some of the premises are also invited to be part of the SSWG committee.
Every SSWG has a SSWG Police Liaison Officer (PLO) assigned to work with the building management and security personnel of the building as well as the major tenants.
There are various benefits to joining the SSWG Scheme. A few of them are:
- Networking with Neighbouring Buildings and Police
SSWGs serve as platforms for building managers/owners and security personnel to work together with Police in local threat assessment and security enhancement. Through knowledge sharing, sharing of best practices and pooling of resources, the SSWGs can more effectively harden their member buildings as terrorist targets.The SSWGs also serve as a means for buildings to provide feedback to security agencies on how the partnership between the public and private sector in countering the terrorist threat can be enhanced.In addition to countering terrorism, the greater networking between the various stakeholders will also enable the SSWG members to better address crime concerns in the area.
SSWG PLOs work with the building security managers to conduct security surveys of the building premises. Through the conduct of these security surveys, security vulnerabilities of the buildings can be identified and addressed accordingly. The security surveys are intended to be a preliminary assessment. Building management should follow up to engage professional security consultants to provide a more comprehensive level of security assessment.A few of the baseline target hardening measures recommended are:
- Guard deployment at entrance/ car park;
- Developing and exercising response and recovery plans;
- Reviewing CCTV systems, assessing whether there is a need to reposition CCTV cameras, a need for upgrading, or to include a recording facility;
- Conducting checks on persons entering the premises;
- Installing barricades to prevent charging vehicles;
- Installing Caller ID on phones;
- Participating in a programme to summon vehicles parked illegally; and
- Laminating glass doors, windows and walls.
- Corporate First Responder (CFR) Scheme
The Corporate First Responder (CFR) Scheme was launched on 8 January 2006 at the first National SSWG Seminar. The scheme allows buildings management and tenant businesses to identify key personnel who will be allowed into the cordoned area in the aftermath of a major incident to assist with rescue, recovery and investigation efforts, as well as carry out business continuity activity.Click here for more information on the CFR Scheme.
SSWG committees, comprising representatives of SSWG member buildings, meet regularly to discuss security issues. SSWG PLOs also work with the building security managers to conduct security surveys of the building premises, providing a preliminary security vulnerability assessment.
Police land divisions also organise annual SSWG Seminars. At these forums, industry speakers and security agencies are invited to share on relevant topics such as building security and business continuity planning, and SSWGs share best practices. This greatly enhances networking and information sharing within and across industries and geographical locations in Singapore.
The first National SSWG Seminar was held on 8 January 2006 . During the seminar, the Corporate First Responder (CFR) Scheme was launched.
Please contact the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre to find out about SSWGs in your area. The contact information is available on the Singapore Police Force website.
Generally, representatives of each building participating in the SSWG Scheme are either the building owners or managing agents who are in-charge of the overall security and management of the premises. However business tenants are welcome to play a more active role in the security of the building in which they operate their business.
Please contact your building management to find out how you can participate in SSWG activities. If your building is currently not a SSWG member building, encourage your building management to participate in the scheme.
If you are unable to find the information you require on this webpage, please contact the nearest Neighbourhood Police Centre or email [email protected].
Last Updated on 09 May 2016