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The Special Operations Command (SOC) commemorated its 70th Anniversary on 10 November 2023 with a parade at the Home Team Tactical Centre. The reviewing officer for the parade was Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and for Law. 

Background of the SOC 

The beginning of the SOC dates back to 1953, with the formation of the Reserve Unit (RU) following the Maria Hertogh Riots just three years earlier.  It comprised about 150 officers, specially trained to deal with public order incidents. The RU played a critical role in managing incidents such as the Hock Lee Bus Riots and the Student Riots later in the 1950s, and the Pulau Senang Prison Riot and Racial Riots in the early 1960s. 

The RU was renamed the Police Reserve Unit (PRU) after Singapore gained its independence. In 1980, the PRU was renamed the Police Task Force (PTF). The PTF, Police Tactical Team (the precursor to the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Unit), and the Police Dog Unit (the precursor to the K-9 Unit) were reorganised and restructured to form SOC in 1992. 

The SOC today possesses capabilities far beyond its initial public order role. Its STAR Unit provides the Singapore Police Force (SPF) with the highest level of tactical armed response. The K-9 Unit supports various frontline police operations, and the Police Tactical Unit (PTU) responds to armed criminals and terrorist incidents, in addition to its traditional public order role. The SOC also oversees the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU), the Special Women Task Team (SWTT), and the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF). The SOC is made up of more than 900 officers capable of safeguarding Singapore against both public order and public security threats.


A parade was held to showcase SOC’s operational readiness. The contingent comprised more than 70 officers from the PTU, STAR Unit, K-9 Unit, CNU, SWTT and UNPKF.  

Launch of the SOC’s 70th Anniversary Time Capsule

The SOC’s 70th Anniversary time capsule was launched during the celebration. It is a symbolic effort to preserve the essence of the SOC’s history, values and mission for the benefit of future generations. During the launch, Minister Shanmugam, Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck and Commander SOC, SAC Arthur Law, placed three significant items - the SOC 70th Anniversary Patch Collage, the SOC Challenge Coin and a red beret - in the capsule. The Patch Collage, which is made up of the SOC 70th Anniversary patch and the patches of the various SOC units, represents the SOC units coming together to commemorate the anniversary. In the Special Operations community, the Challenge Coin represents membership in the community and the unbreakable bond between the officers. Lastly, in the SPF, the red beret is only worn by SOC officers and symbolises bravery and sacrifice. The capsule will only be opened on SOC’s 100th Anniversary in the year 2053.

Photo of Minister for Home Affairs and for Law, Mr K Shanmugam inspecting the parade 

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Group photo with officers from the various SOC units and the time capsule 

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10 November 2023 @ 8:00 PM
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