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  • I-Witness
Published 27 January 2023
3 -min Read
Police Life 012023 PBI Part 1 Examining the Aftermath 00
A controlled explosion of a bus at a live firing ground in Brunei. VIDEO: Zulfadli Mohamed Isa

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.

Police Life 012023 PBI Part 1 Examining the Aftermath 01
Officers all geared up and ready to go. PHOTOS: Zulfadli Mohamed Isa

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.

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Officers documenting the scene and collecting forensic evidence from a bus after a blast has occurred.

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.

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The podium of the prize-giving ceremony and the remnants of an exploded car.

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.

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Investigators processing the post-blast scene — the broken mannequin is a stark reminder of the potential lives that may be lost.

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.”


Hear from two officers about why speed and coordination are vital to their work as post-blast investigators!

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