A deafening blast releases hot, acrid smoke and a shower of debris. As the dust settles, the SPF’s post-blast investigators are in the thick of it.
By: Christabelle Lim
Given the ever-present threat of terrorism, post-blast investigation (PBI) is an important operational capability for the Singapore Police Force (SPF). Investigators must process a post-blast scene and conduct forensic examinations of fragments to look for leads and identify the perpetrators.
That’s where comprehensive training and knowledge-sharing comes in. Held from 6 to 9 November 2022, Solar Wind V was a training exercise jointly conducted by the SPF and the Royal Brunei Police Force (RBPF) with the support of the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX). The first edition of Solar Wind was held in 2014 and the bilateral exercise has since become an invaluable opportunity for our post-blast investigators to sharpen their skills.
Training in Brunei
During the four-day exercise, officers conducted investigations after a series of scenarios involving the detonation of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) based on known terrorist methods. Post-blast investigators from the SPF, RBPF and Crime Scene Forensics Specialists from HTX were put to the test to hone their PBI competencies.
The first scenario simulated multiple explosions that occurred during a prize-giving ceremony. An explosion tore through the grounds and, once the dust had settled and it was safe to move in, officers in full personal protective equipment and specialised tools were deployed to begin their forensic examinations.
In the second scenario, crowds at a fair were the target of multiple bombs. Investigators in both scenarios had to practise documenting the scene as well as collecting and processing evidence for leads.
A Realistic Training Environment
Over several hours under the hot sun, the investigators worked meticulously to process the blast scenes. Despite the challenges, they were glad to be able to apply their highly specialised knowledge and skills in pursuit of the truth.
“Exercise Solar Wind is an important platform that provides a realistic training environment for officers from the SPF and the RBPF to jointly undergo PBI training,” noted Deputy Commissioner of Police (Investigation & Intelligence) How Kwang Hwee. “It is crucial to hone our PBI capabilities so that Police can quickly identify the perpetrators and stop them from committing further acts of terror.”