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Published: 23 May 2012 11:56AM (Singapore)
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The men who keep us safe on trains
Home Team News joins two National Servicemen from the Public Transport Security Command as they help to uphold public security and ensure peace on our trains.
By Hazwani Mohamed and Joanne Yan

SC Sergeant Isaac Guo (right) and NS Inspector Iskandar Faiz (left) patrolling designated train stations during their shift work. PHOTO: Joanne Yan

On a busy afternoon last year, SC Sergeant (SC Sgt) Isaac Guo was patrolling at Redhill Station when he spotted a man starting to run away from him.

The 23-year old national serviceman from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) gave chase and with the help of his team mates, managed to apprehend the man who was in his late thirties.

“We actually chased him for about 150 metres and finally got him. He was running because he was carryingcontraband cigarettes with him so he’s scared,” shared SC Sgt Guo.

Along with NS Inspector (NS Insp) Iskandar Faiz, 21, they are serving their National Service (NS) with TransCom. 

TransCom officers are from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and looking out for suspicious people on trains and detecting crime are part of their daily duties.

As deputy team leader, NS Insp Iskandar’s main responsibility is to assist the team leaders with briefings and deployments.

After everyone is being deployed, he would head to his office and perform other administrative duties.

As a frontline policing unit, the role of TransCom is to patrol, respond and manage ground incidents. PHOTO: Joanne Yan

SC Sgt Guo would start his day with a briefing which keeps him updated about the latest news happenings concerning transportation safety and crime, so that he knows what to look out for.

He and three other team mates then head out to the various stations according to the shift work plan.

The officers would patrol in trains and the number of cabins or stations to be covered is determined by the group leader.

After completing his main duties, NS Insp Iskandar would go on ground and conduct supervisory checks to ensure that the teams are where they are suppose to be at.

As officers patrol on foot, their location is tracked by a system known as the TransCom Tracking and Monitoring System (TTMS).

It detects all the groups’ location and will deploy the nearest group to the incident location.

Other than patrolling the stations, they have to look out for characters that behave suspiciously.

Should any commuters be found behaving oddly, they will be approached for checks.

According to NS Insp Iskandar, there are different levels of checks.

The check starts off with a consensual conversation.

If they sense something amiss, they will screen the identity card and conduct further checks on the subject.

He also mentioned that drug consumption and possession make up majority of the arrests by TransCom officers.

SC Sergeant Ragha Vendran (left) and SC Sergeant Isaac Guo (right) stand watch in a train on the Circle line. PHOTO: Joanne Yan

TransCom officers also work closely with Public Train Operators (PTOs) to prevent, deter and detect crime.

As the Specialist Security Advisor, TransCom chairs the Crisis Consequence Management sub-committee within the Public Transport Security Committee, working closely with partners like the Internal Security Department, Ministry of Transport, Homefront Security Department and the Land Transport Authority.

During security-related incidences, TransCom would gather facts, evacuate and liaise with PTOs, LTA and act as an advisor to Police divisions.

Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mr S Iswaran paid a visit to the Public Security Command on 25 April 2012 as part of a series of Ministerial visits to the ground.

He was also given a tour of the operations room which is the nerve centre of TransCom.

This room is linked with Combined Operations Room, the Land Transport Operations Centre and Operations Control Centre run by public transport providers.

Second Minister for Home Affairs Mr S Iswaran taking a tour of the TransCom Operations Room. PHOTO: TransCom

SC Sgt Guo said: “Being at the frontline and interacting daily with the public requires us to be well trained. Our three week basic course equips us with interview skills, profiling techniques, combat training and a better understanding of the heavy responsibility committed to being a TransCom officer, but the most important skills are always learnt on the job.”

Confidence is one of the key traits of a TransCom officer.

“If you carry yourself well as a police officer, when you show professionalism and empathy, only then they will realize that you’re really there to help them,” said NS Insp Iskandar.

Team Leader Inspector Lau Lifeng, 27 agrees that NSFs who join TransCom must be disciplined, proactive and responsible.

Both SC Sgt Guo and NS Insp Iskandar will be completing their NS before the end of the year.

For SC Sgt Isaac, serving NS in TransCom has been an eye-opening experience.

“You see a lot of things in TransCom from a police officer’s point of view that members of the public don’t. TransCom really helped me build up my leadership skills and boost confidence levels.” 

Click here to find out more about a Home Team Career.

Second Minister for Home Affairs Mr S Iswaran watches a demonstration of the T-Baton used to control perpetuators. PHOTO: Matthew Wong

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