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Local agencies can't find skilled Singaporean officers

This article is more than 12 months old

Auxiliary Police Forces are looking to Taiwan for qualified workers

There is a reason the Auxiliary Police Forces (APFs) are turning to Taiwan to fill vacancies: They cannot find enough qualified Singaporeans and Malaysians.

The demand for auxiliary police officers (APOs) is projected to cross 600 over the next few years.

But since 2011, APFs such as Certis Cisco and Aetos have managed to grow their pool of Singaporean officers by only 250.

A Certis Cisco spokesman confirmed it has been hard to find qualified Malaysians too.

The response came in the wake of news reports that the outfit was looking to hire 120 Taiwanese nationals for its force here.


Currently, there are about 7,000 APOs here who can be stationed at sensitive spots such as immigration checkpoints and also escort persons in custody.

They can carry firearms and are allowed to arrest offenders.

"There is a shortage of the type of manpower needed for APFs... and APFs cannot get 600 APOs from Singapore, based on the last few years' experience," said the spokesman.

"The majority of APOs in Singapore are Singaporeans.

Many S’poreans are not keen to take on the role of an APO (auxiliary police officers). Aetos spokesman]

"The Government requires that APOs at specific sensitive locations can only be Singaporeans. Foreign APOs are allowed to do other duties."

Hiring such officers from Taiwan will mark the first time they will be recruited from a foreign country other than Malaysia.

Certis Cisco said recruitment interviews will start next month, and it hopes to hire university graduates, aged 20 to 40, on two-year contracts.

Their deployment will depend on the needs of various sites and the suitability of the recruits, the spokesman said.

Certis Cisco will have to get the green light from the authorities before deploying the recruited APOs, said the spokesman.

Aetos has also started exploring Taiwan as a possible source of APOs and launched a recruitment drive last month through advertisements in Taiwanese newspapers.

An Aetos spokesman said it intends to hire 120 APOs, who will help to ease the manpower crunch and complement Singaporean and Malaysian APOs.

Aetos also finds it hard to recruit Singaporeans and Malaysians, she said.

"Retention of Singaporeans is also a challenge. Many Singaporeans are not keen to take on the role of an APO," she added.

"This is attributed to the nature of the job - routine, tough working conditions having to endure vehicle fumes and harsh weather conditions and performing shift duty."

While both companies are looking to tap on Taiwan for recruits, The Straits Times understands that the authorities still have to approve the source of their manpower.

In response to ST's queries about Taiwan as a source for APOs, a Ministry of Manpower spokesman said Taiwan is an existing approved source for work permit holders in the services sector, but APFs need to meet other requirements imposed by the regulatory agency, the Singapore Police Force.