SPF showcases counter-terrorism capabilities in lead up to NDP 2019

SPF showcases counter-terrorism capabilities in lead up to NDP 2019

Screams and gunshots filled the air in the early hours of the morning, as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) showcased its counter-terrorism capabilities in a security exercise at the Padang in the lead up to National Day. Ariel Lim reports.

SINGAPORE: Screams and gunshots filled the air in the early hours of the morning, as the Singapore Police Force (SPF) showcased its counter-terrorism capabilities in a security exercise at the Padang in the lead up to National Day.

More than 200 officers from the Clementi Police Division, Public Transport Security Command (TransCom), Special Operations Command, Gurkha Contingent and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) took part in the exercise on Friday (Aug 2).

Three scenarios with knife-wielding attackers and multiple gunmen were carried out during the security exercise to “test the response to terrorist attacks”, said SPF in a press release.

SLASHERS, GUNMEN, HOSTAGES

The first scenario involved TransCom officers taking down attackers armed with knives at a crowded MRT station.

TransCom police officers neutralising a slasher at an exercise
Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) police officers taking down a "slasher" in an NDP counter-terrorism exercise on Aug 2, 2019 at City Hall MRT station. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

At 2.30am, a "fight" erupts at City Hall MRT station between a commuter and a man wielding a knife.

Two TransCom officers take down the man when he charges towards them, but a second attacker grabs another commuter as a hostage – before he is quickly taken down by another pair of TransCom officers.

The second and third scenarios are set in the Padang, a simulated terrorist attack at the National Day Parade (NDP).

Ground Response Force police officers moving towards a "gunman" at an NDP counter-terrorism exercise
Ground Response Force police officers moving towards a "gunman" at an NDP counter-terrorism exercise at the Padang. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo) 

Spectators dressed in red and white are waving small Singapore flags from the stands when the crack of gunfire rings out. Three gunmen shoot several civilians before SPF's first responders – the Ground Response Force and Emergency Response Team – appear almost immediately in full gear.

In single file, the officers storm the stands and take down all three gunmen in a matter of minutes.

Emergency Response Team officers at a simulated shooting during an NDP counter-terrorism exercise
Emergency Response Team officers at a simulated shooting during an NDP counter-terrorism exercise. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo) 

The scene then moves to the spectator stands across the road from the Padang.

This time, there are four gunmen who emerge in the stands. Several spectators are shot, while others scream and duck out of the way.

Rapid Deployment Troop officers aim their weapons at a "gunman" during a counter-terrorism exercise
Rapid Deployment Troop officers aiming their weapons at a "gunman" during an NDP counter-terrorism exercise at the Padang. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo) 

Twenty officers from the Rapid Deployment Troops, Armed Strike Team and Gurkha Contingent arrive on four Tactical Response Motorcycles and two Armoured Personnel Vehicles and enter the stands from the lower level, shooting two of the gunmen.

An officer from the Gurkha Contingent at the NDP counter-terrorism exercise on Aug 2, 2019
An officer from the Gurkha Contingent at the NDP counter-terrorism exercise on Aug 2, 2019. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

From the top level, more officers from the Special Tactics and Rescue unit corner the last two gunmen.

READ: SCDF conducts ‘chemical attack’ operational exercise at Padang ahead of NDP

Once all the gunmen have been neutralised, the officers secure the stands and wait for SCDF to arrive and tend to the casualties.

SCDF rescuers at the scene of a "shooting" in a counter-terrorism exercise on Aug 2, 2019
SCDF rescuers carrying stretchers to the scene of a "shooting" in a counter-terrorism exercise with the Singapore Police Force on Aug 2, 2019. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

The three simulated attacks were carried out under the watchful eye of Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam. 

“NDP is classified as a high-security event each year. It’s one of the events for which very substantial forces are deployed by the police,” he said. 

"It’s a very important event, it’s an iconic event for Singapore. And the forces take it – the police force takes it extremely seriously.”

Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam speaking to officers at a counter-terrorism exercise
Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam speaking to officers at the end of a counter-terrorism exercise conducted by the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force on Aug 2, 2019. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

On Thursday, the police declared this year’s NDP to be an “enhanced security special event” under the Public Order Act, marking off the area around the Padang as a special event area with enhanced security measures.

Within the special event area, there will also be a special zone with stricter security checks. These enhanced security measures are expected to take effect from midnight to 11.59pm on Aug 9.

Source: CNA/cy/rw

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