SINGAPORE: To build up a pool of tech-proficient officers, the Home Team will progressively introduce a new career track for all Home Affairs uniformed services officers.
The programme, called the Ops-Tech Career Track, will have structured pathways to “enhance officers’ operational experience and exposure to technology”, said Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo on Monday (Mar 2).
Officers on this career track can go for further studies to develop technical knowledge.
To support the programme, more than 200 ops-tech posts, with redesigned job scopes, will be identified within key police and civil defence departments and frontline units.
The new career track complements last December’s opening of the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), a science and technology statutory board for homeland security.
The ops-tech officers will serve as intermediaries between HTX and the Home Team departments.
Mrs Teo said HTX will also recruit talent across practically all disciplines of science and engineering given the wide spectrum of capabilities the Home Team requires.
“We will need scientists trained in life and physical sciences for the development of crime forensics and CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosives) detection capabilities. We will need electrical, mechanical and software engineers who can work in blended teams, to realise operational systems such as advanced video sensors and robotics,” she said during the ministry’s committee of supply debate.
Computer scientists and engineers to tackle the challenges posed by data and digital technologies will also be required, she added.
They will be deployed in various roles, from cybersecurity to developing algorithms, to augment the Home Team’s frontline response.
Mrs Teo said HTX has received “strong interest” among job applicants. In 2019, it hired about 170 officers, including fresh graduates and mid-career professionals.
Recruitment efforts will be ramped up this year as the agency looks for a wide range of officers with skills in the likes of life sciences, cybersecurity and robotics.
HTX currently has 1,300 officers, with plans to grow it into a 2,000-strong team.
RAISING RETIREMENT AGE TO TAP ON EXPERIENCE
In his speech, Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said the Home Team will continue to invest heavily in its officers and work with partners to encourage continuous learning and upskilling “from recruitment to retirement”.
The retirement age of officers under the Home Affairs Uniformed Scheme will be raised, from 55 years old currently to 58, by 2030, Mr Shanmugam said, allowing the experience of more mature officers to be tapped.
The ministry will also enhance its career transition efforts to help officers secure a meaningful second career after retiring from the Home Team.