Not your average driving school: How police security escorts learn to keep VVIPs safe on the roads
SINGAPORE: Lined up in a compound at the Home Team Tactical Centre, these vehicles look like almost any other car on the road. But in each driver’s seat is a highly trained professional who’s prepared to drive under extreme pressure in hostile situations.
Each of them is a personal security officer (PSO) in the Singapore Police Force’s Police Security Command (SecCom), tasked to escort the country’s VVIPs and keep them safe.
Part of their duties include driving the VVIPs around - and being prepared to react in the face of imminent threats they may encounter.
This calls for not only alertness and composure, but also advanced skills not usually required of regular drivers - including motorcade formation and evasive manoeuvres to shield VVIPs from harm, and escape or counter hostile situations.
Selected PSOs learn their high-level driving techniques in a customised Protective Driving Course at the Home Team Tactical Centre, where there is a training ground specially meant for executing techniques like skids, reverse figure-8s and even simulated crashes.
Among the advanced techniques that the trainees learn is the precision immobilisation technique, where they learn to force a pursuing car to lose control and stop, while they give the pursuer the slip.
Trainees also practise barricade breaching, one of the riskier manoeuvres that involves ramming other vehicles or objects in the event of being blocked.
Difficult as training might get, trainee driver Station Inspector (SI) Judee Khoo said physical barriers were not the only challenges she faced. “Sometimes, personal limitations become a mental barrier, and makes it very difficult for us to achieve the high standards,” she said.
Citing her trainers who helped coach her in executing and mastering her techniques, she added: "They helped me to cross my limitations and this has become my passion.”