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Published 20 July 2023
2 -min Read

A counter-terrorism exercise enhances the SPF’s emergency response capabilities.

By: Amanda Wong

Police life 072023 Ex Quicksilver 01
Sharpening our emergency response capabilities at the Home Team Tactical Centre. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

The early afternoon of 14 July 2023 was marked by heavy thunderstorms. Despite the gloomy weather, various units from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) remained engaged in the preparation of a ground deployment exercise that would soon commence at the Home Team Tactical Centre.

Codenamed “Exercise Quicksilver 9,” the exercise aimed to validate the SPF’s emergency preparedness plans, identify operational gaps and address potential challenges in managing public security incidents. 

Police life 072023 Ex Quicksilver 02
The Tactical Strike Vehicle arriving at the exercise compound. PHOTO: Amanda Wong

A Hostage Situation
At 3pm, the exercise scenario started with loud bangs echoing in the air as armed terrorists threw improvised explosive devices around the compound. The terrorists then proceeded to take over a building, where they held civilians hostage. Within minutes, Police officers responded to the incident.

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GRF officers take up positions outside the building taken over by terrorists, on alert for threats at all times. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

Responding as One SPF
Ground Response Force (GRF) officers were the first to arrive on the scene. They surveyed the entrance of the building with firearms extended, ready for any threat and standing guard until officers from the Emergency Response Team (ERT) arrived. Soon after, officers from the Gurkha Contingent and Special Operations Command (SOC) joined them.

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Gurkha Contingent officers tossing a flash-bang stun grenade into the building occupied with terrorists before storming in. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

The Gurkha Contingent officers responded next. They tossed flash-bang stun grenades into the building to stun the terrorists. Seizing the moment, officers from the different units made coordinated entries into the building.

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SOC officers tossing flash-bang stun grenades during a blackout within the building. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

Inside, another challenge presented itself. The terrorists switched off the electrical supply, causing a blackout. But the SOC officers came prepared with high-powered flashlights and flash-bang stun grenades. Before entering a room, they threw the stun grenades in to disorientate the terrorists.

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Officers rescuing civilians who are fleeing from the building. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

A Timely Rescue
Moving from room to room, officers cautiously searched for the terrorists’ hideout with their firearms drawn. After a thorough search, officers determined a brightly-lit room to be the terrorists’ base when hurried voices emitted from it. After surrounding their base, officers stormed in to arrest them and escort the civilians to safety. Meanwhile, officers stationed around the building maintained a cordon and helped ensure that public order was upheld.

Police life 072023 Ex Quicksilver 07
CID officers conducting post-investigative work at the incident site. PHOTO: Ryan Quek

Following the successful arrest and rescue, the incident site was handed over to Crime Scene Specialists from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to conduct their investigations. Using forensic equipment, the officers processed the scene and carefully collected evidence for further analysis.

Training exercises like Exercise Quicksilver 9 are crucial in enhancing the SPF’s capabilities in safeguarding Singapore against major security incidents. The SPF will continue to strengthen our crisis preparedness through the conduct of exercises to keep Singapore safe and secure.

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