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Published: 27 Apr 2012 02:14PM (Singapore)
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Airport Police – Singapore’s Civil Aviation Security Specialists
The Airport Police Division has evolved in the past 41 years to deal with ever changing security challenges such as terrorism. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean visits the unique division.
 
By Tan Yi Wen

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean paid a visit to the Airport Police Division and Changi Airport where he also met with other aviation security partners such as employees of the Changi Airport Group and Certis CISCO. He was briefed about airport security operations and given a demonstration on baggage screening procedures. PHOTO: Matthew Wong

Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean paid a visit to the Airport Police Division (APD) on 6 February 2012 and spoke to civil aviation security officers on the ground.

The unique police division, which specialises in civil aviation security, has evolved in the past 41 years to meet ever changing challenges including terrorism-related threats.

APD officers shared with Mr Teo, who is also the Minister for Home Affairs (MHA), the history and experiences of the division through a tour of their heritage gallery that was opened in November 2010 to celebrate the division’s 40thanniversary. 

APD Patrol Team Leader, Inspector (Insp) Martin Sng, who briefed Mr Teo during the tour, said: “It’s DPM Teo’s first visit to APD, so we wanted to highlight the key transformations of APD from the start when we were formed in 1970 right up to the present and what we do, such as in times of the different terrorism threats that we are facing.”

“I think it was a good opportunity to walk him down that stretch of gallery to show him all the things that we have done,” he said.

Officers from the Airport Police Division gave DPM Teo and senior officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs a tour of the heritage gallery that was set up in November 2010 to celebrate the division’s 40th anniversary. PHOTO: Matthew Wong

APD’s then Commander, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Keok Tong San, also briefed DPM Teo and MHA’s senior officers on the division’s key programmes and challenges faced by the division with the changing aviation security landscape.

The ministry’s senior officers included Permanent Secretary Mr Tan Tee How, Senior Director of Homefront Security Division Mr John Lim and Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Development Division Ms Jennifer Tan.

Commander of the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s (ICA) Airport Command, Assistant Commissioner Cora Chen, also presented on how ICA partners the Police in areas of aviation security.

Police and ICA officers also got a chance to speak with and exchange views with DPM Teo.

The officers shared with Mr Teo about the manpower challenges faced by the Police especially during large-scale events that need huge officer deployments such as the International Monetary Fund event held in Singapore in 2006.

Manpower shortage is a challenge faced by many of the government agencies in Singapore, said DPM Teo, and one option is to find ways to use technology to complement the Force.

One such use of technology was shared by Staff SergeantMohamed Ramallan s/o Abdul Samad.

He said APD usedClosed Circuit Television (CCTV) security cameras to complement andreduce manpower needed to patrol the airport.

Senior Staff Sergeant Gerald Chong, whotook part in the sharing session with DPM,said: “Such visits would definitely provide the senior management a better appreciation of ground operations and hopefully would have positive influences towards some of their thinking and decisions during policy making.”

DPM Teo met with officers from the Airport Police Division and the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority’s Airport Command during a sharing session. PHOTO: Matthew Wong

The visit ended with a tour of the Changi Airport Terminal 2 Airport Operations Centre and APD’s Command and Control Centre.

A demonstration on how baggage is screened at the airport was conducted at the Common Operator Review Facility Room.

For Insp Sng, he hopes the visit will give an insight of APD’s work and challenges.

“I find the visit interactive and useful because over the past 40 years, a lot of things happened and these are basically snapshots of key things that happened,” said Insp Sng.

“We are unique in the sense that we are unlike any land division and the aviation industry is constantly changing so there are many evolving challenges that we face every day.”

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