Saturday , June 3 2023

A little known public order force reappears at the ASEAN summit


SINGAPORE: A small-known, elite police working group was stationed at the Suntec Citi Convention Center, where world leaders met at the 33rd ASEAN summit earlier this week.

Public Order Power (PORF) is an elite arm of the police force in Singapore, and is activated only during major events, which this year also includes the Trump-Kim summit in June.

Officers were sent from various police units and then trained to be the first to respond to any public incidents such as riots and protests.

Training for responding to public order

Members of the public order force face the demonstrators during the training.

The team has been in operation in all six divisions since 2011.

PORF Commander, Assistant Commissar Assistant (DAC) Dominic John Baptist, said their training regime included classroom-based exercises based on classroom training.

"PORF complements the Special Operations Command to deal with public safety incidents," he said.

"So, this is the first line of defense when dealing with threats to public policy at the ASEAN summit. My role as PORF commander is to ensure that my officers are always ready to deal with public order incidents, if and when they appear."

Officers work in various police departments and train together several times a year to maintain cohesion in the team.

Added Baptist DAC: "This pace will really increase when and when scheduling is introduced as ASEAN Summit.

"My team was hired at the Trump-Kim summit earlier this year and this experience has given us a slightly more state of readiness as we move towards preparing for this deployment."

Within the framework of the PORF, a all-female team is trained to combat public disorders involving women, children and the elderly.

Of the 23 members in its pioneering scheme for 2007, the Special Women's Work Team now counts over 100.

In addition to securing the ASEAN summit, the police also had to implement safety measures at hotels where delegates stayed in for the event.

This includes vehicle checking, X-ray luggage inspection and the use of metal detectors, while Channel NevsAsia testified at Ritz Carlton during the Summit.

Public order forces at Ritz Carlton

Public Order Officers (PORF) outside Ritz Carlton. (Photo: Nabila Goh)

Tanglin Police Department Commander, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Chong Zun Jie, said: "One of the challenges we are facing is that the hotel remains open to the public as well as to hotel guests.

"For this reason, the security measures we have set up must diminish the discomfort of the public and hotel guests, without jeopardizing the security and safety of delegates.

"In order to do this, we have worked closely with the hotel management in the past few months around the security arrangement."

A total of 5,000 police officers provided security on land and at sea during the Summit.

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