The Special Operations Command (SOC) was formed on 10 Sept 1992 to unify the Singapore Police Force's elite tactical units, namely the Police Task Force (PTF), the Police Tactical Team (PTT) and the Police K-9 Unit (PDU) under one command. It was subsequently expanded to include the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Unit in 1993, which replace the PTT, the National Servicemen Key Installation Unit (NSKU) Training in 1994 and the Police National Service Full-time Light Strike Force (PNSF LSF) in 1998. It also provides secretariat support for the United Nations Peace Keeping Force (UNPKF) and the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU). The UNPKF comprises volunteers specially selected from various units in the SPF. Its participation in international peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the UN showcases SPF's contribution towards world peace. The CNU maintains an immediate operational response capability to conduct and manage on-scene negotiations in a crisis situation. Its mission is to defuse potentially life-threatening situations through the use of proven verbal crisis management techniques.
The mission of the Special Operations Command is to provide the highest level of tactical options to prevent, deter and detect Crime.
The vision of SOC is to be "A Centre of Tactical Excellence" and its mission is "To uphold the law, maintain order and keep the peace in the Republic of Singapore". SOC is the strategic reserve of the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and is primarily responsible for police tactical operations, maintenance of public order and security, weapon doctrines and other related matters. Above all, it functions as the lead agency for tactical development in the SPF.
Roles and Functions
Police Task Force (PTF)
The PTF has a long and illustrious history. It was formed in 1952 as the Singapore Riot Squad in response to the Maria Hertogh riots (Singapore's first major postwar riots). It is an effective ground response force to serious incidents such as major disasters, firearm situations and riots. The PTF consists of officers specially trained to tackle dangerous and volatile situations. They are called upon to restore public order in times of riots and demonstrations. Backed by technologically advanced equipment, these officers form a formidable force capable of quelling any civil disturbance.
Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Unit
The STAR Unit provides the Singapore Police Force with a tactical armed-response capability. It is an elite, well trained and well equipped unit to apprehend armed criminals and conduct hostage rescue operations on land and at sea. It has formidable firepower, all-terrain mobility and is capable of helicopter-borne insertion. Besides dealing with highly dangerous criminals, STAR is also involved in risky protective security operations and prisoner escort.
Police K-9 Unit (PDU)
The Police K-9 Unit has dogs trained specifically for explosive detection, drug detection, guard duties and anti-crime operations. Its dogs are also trained to support the PTF in public order operations. The unit also supports the Central Narcotics Bureau, Customs and Prisons Departments in their operations at checkpoints, ferry terminals, airport and penal institutions.
These units contribute significantly towards SPF's tactical operational capabilities. In addition to its operational roles, SOC is also the staff authority on firearms, tactics development and healthy lifestyle activities in the SPF.