Special Operations Command (Singapore)

Last updated
Special Operations Command
MottoTo uphold the law, maintain order and keep the peace in the Republic of Singapore
Agency overview
Formed10 September 1992;29 years ago (1992-09-10)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Singapore
Specialist jurisdiction
  • Paramilitary law enforcement, counter insurgency, and riot control.
Operational structure
Agency executives
  • Assistant Commissioner (AC) Arthur Law, Commander
  • Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Tan Kiat Hee, Deputy Commander
Parent agency Singapore Police Force

The Special Operations Command (SOC) is a specialist police tactical unit of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) specialising in riot control and high-threat incidents. It was formed on 10 September 1992 to unify specialist units into a single strategic reserve force that the regular officers need to call upon in any contingency plan and serious case of public disorder.

Contents

The current commander of the SOC is Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Arthur Law Kok Leong and the deputy commander is Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police (DAC) Tan Kiat Hee.

Structure and units

There are multiple full-time units under the SOC: [1]

In addition, there are auxiliary units who hold primary duties elsewhere in the SPF but have secondary appointments in these units when needed: [1]

In addition, there is also a Special Operations Training Command (SOTC) under SOC at Queensway Base.

History

The SOC traces its history back to 1952, when an anti-riot squad of 60 police officers was formed in the wake of the Maria Hertogh riots, which broke out in 1950 and demonstrated the incapability of existing measures in containing serious cases of public disorder. [1] The Police Task Force, predecessor of what is now the Police Tactical Unit, was hence created.

On 10 September 1992, the SOC was formally created to combine the Police Task Force, the Police Tactical Team, and the Police Dog Unit under one command. In 1993, the Special Tactics and Rescue was formed to replace the Police Tactical Team. Greater involvement of Police National Servicemen was seen with the inclusion of the National Servicemen Key Installation Unit in 1994, and the formation of the Police National Service Full-time Light Strike Force in 1998.

In response to changing demands in urban security issues, the Police MRT Unit was formed in 2005 to provide armed security within and around stations and trains on the Mass Rapid Transit network. Pooled from both regular and NSF manpower resources, they are the first SOC unit to be formed which involves regular front-line policing from inception. From 15 August 2009, the unit was renamed as the Public Transport Security Command and became an independent unit, separating from the SOC.

Under the Police Workplan Seminar 2017, a new National Servicemen unit called the Public Order Troops was formed on September 2018 under PTU and it can be called upon to work alongside their regular counterparts during major incidents such as riots, national emergencies and public order incidents, as well as possible terrorist attacks, and the POT will be implemented in the year 2023. [2]

The SOC also sets up and coordinates the specially trained Peacekeeping Force personnel for missions overseas under command of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations. [3]

Incidents

Weapons, equipment and vehicles

A red tactical vehicle used by the Special Operations Command Singapore Police Force SOC Vehicle.jpg
A red tactical vehicle used by the Special Operations Command

SOC troopers are typically armed with the MP5K, MP5N sub-machine guns and FN SCAR assault rifle. New weapons introduced from 2004 include the H&K 69, a grenade launcher which will replace the existing ARWEN 37. Their handguns will be replaced by the new H&K USP Compact, while the Sphinx 3000 will also be introduced.

As for Rapid Deployment Troops, they utilize new black BMW motorcycles with red and blue police lights and mounted circular riot shields designed to navigate through heavy traffic for fast tactical response to such public order incidents. [7]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "Specialist and Line Units". spf.gov.sg. Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  2. "First Police NSmen Public Order Troop to be formed by Sep 2018". CNA.
  3. "Specialist and Line Units". Singapore Police Force.
  4. True Files Season 1 Episode 8 "The Sentry" (Television Series). Singapore: MediaCorp TV. 2002.
  5. "Feared dead: Officer who fell into sea". The Straits Times. 18 May 1978.
  6. "Body of sgt found". The Straits Times. 20 May 1978.
  7. "In pictures: How the elite Special Operations Command train to deal with threats". CNA.