Police Tactical Unit (Singapore)

Police Tactical Unit (Singapore)
December 31 00:54 2010 Print This Article

The Police Tactical Unit (PTU) is a paramilitary specialist unit of the Singapore Police Force and comes under the direct command of the Special Operations Command. The Police Tactical Unit based in Queenstown, it is the main anti-rioting and disaster-management unit of the police force. They are also called upon to handle cases of serious crime in progress, particularly cases involving firearms. From 2004, PTU officers also presented greater public prominence when they conducted patrols in public areas, such as at Orchard Road, Holland Village and Serangoon Gardens Estate, partly as a response to greater terrorism concerns.

Early Days

The PTU traces its history back to the early 1950s whereby the Maria Hertogh riots demonstrated the incapability of existing law enforcement measures in containing situations of mass rioting and other disturbances to public peace. Hence in 1952, the first Riot Squad was formed with 60 junior officers deliberately chosen from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, and who have been screened to ensure no relations

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to any political party or faction. These officers underwent rigorous (military) training conducted by Colonel J.F. Fairbairn, who was formerly the Assistant Commissioner of the Shanghai Municipal Police Armed Reserve.

These officers formed the first riot control squad which became operational in December 1952 as the Reserve

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Unit (RU). Their responsibilities included crowd control, riot control, and provision of assistance during natural calamities such as fires and floods, thus three specially-trained squads were formed.

In 1953, the squad was reorganised into 3 troops of 50 men each, and renamed as the Police Reserve Unit (PRU), with PRU 1 stationed at Mount Vernon Camp, PRU 2 at Queensway Base and PRU 3 at Jalan Bahar Camp. The unit would later come to be known as the Police Task Force (PTF) following the merger of all three Reserved Units and permanently based at Queensway Base.

Modern Times

In response to an increasingly complicated and multi-faceted public safety and security requirements in contemporary environments, the PTF underwent another major review in 2003, this time with upgraded

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weaponry and vehicles, a change to their tactical uniforms in 2005, and the renaming of the unit to the Police Tactical Unit (PTU).

Wong Kan Seng, Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, oversaw the acquisition of the PETRA (Patrol, Escort, Tactical Response Van) vehicles alongside Police Tactical Squad (PTS) and Troop Tactical Vehicle (TTV) vans for

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the use of the PTU alongside the rest of the SOC in 2006 just in time for the IMF World Bank Summit in Singapore. The first two vans resemble Ford Transit Vans.

The unit is currently conducting counter-terrorist duties such as security duties in order to deter terrorist threats in Singapore alongside other police units.

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