SINGAPORE: With Singapore facing its highest security threat in recent years, security spending will be “a very major item” on the Government's expenditure list and it is expected to increase, said Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday (Feb 2) after a visit to the Home Team Tactical Centre.
He added that it is important to “take action to prepare ourselves” and support the security agencies in keeping Singapore safe and secure.
From S$14.8 billion in FY2011, Singapore's security spending has increased steadily to S$19.5 billion in FY2016, according to data from the Ministry of Finance (MOF). The latter accounted for 4.7 per cent of Singapore's gross domestic product (GDP) and makes up about 27 per cent of total government spending, official figures showed.
When asked how much security spending could increase, Mr Heng declined to put a figure to it but noted that it is clearly an "important area to invest resources in".
To fund these expenditure increases, it will be crucial for the Government to do its long-term projections for expenditure and revenue. More details will be revealed in the Budget statement on Feb 19, he added.
HOME TEAM TO BUILD STRONGER CAPABILITIES
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has enhanced and will continue to develop its counterterrorism capabilities, said SPF’s operations director and Assistant Commissioner How Kwang Hwee.
Over the past two years, specialist teams such as the Emergency Response Teams and the In-situ Reaction Teams have been deployed to respond swiftly and effectively to terror attacks.
Meanwhile, the police have also leveraged technology to better support its frontline officers.
One example is the increased use of analytics in operations, such as having police cameras equipped with video analytics capabilities to detect safety and security incidents.
The police have installed more cameras in public areas to provide better sense-making capabilities during an attack, said AC How.
More than 65,000 police cameras have been installed at 10,000 HDB blocks and multi-storey carparks as of Sep 2017. Another 11,000 cameras will be installed at 2,500 locations islandwide by 2020.
As part of his visit on Friday, Mr Heng observed several counterterrorism demonstrations.
This included the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Unit storming a room to apprehend terrorists, as well as a joint demonstration by the police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in response to a public security threat.