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Special Tactics and Rescue
File:STAR insignia.png
Special Tactics and Rescue Insignia
Active (PTT) 197? - 1 November 1993
(STAR) 1 November 1993 - Present
Country Singapore Singapore
Branch Singapore Police Force
Type Special Forces
Role Domestic Counter-Terrorism and Law Enforcement
Size Classified
Part of Special Operations Command
Garrison/HQ Queensway Base
Nickname(s) Police Commandos, STAR Unit
Motto(s) Vigilance, Valour, Victory
Engagements Arrest of Dave Teo Ming[1]
Decorations 1994 Johore Shield Team,
1995 Johore Shield Team,
1995 SAPU & STAR Challenge Shield Team,
1996 Johore Shield Team,
1996 ISPSC Team,
1997 ISPC Team,
1997 SAF Invitation Team,
1997 World Police & Fire Games,
1998 ISPC Team,
1999 ISPC Team,
1999 SAF Invitation Team,
2000 ISPC Team,
2001 ISPC Team,
2002 Singapore Shooting Festival Team,
2002 CNB Invitation,
2002 Thailand Open National Championship Team
Aidil Bin Rahmad
Cyril V Gabriel (Pioneer OC, 1978)
Patrick Tay
STAR Insignia

The Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) is the elite SWAT equivalent of the Singapore Police Force. Its official task is to provide the Singapore police with a tactical armed-response capability, and its motto is "Vigilance, Valour, Victory".[2][3]

Origins & History[edit | edit source]

STAR started off in the late 1970s as a part-time outfit called the Police Tactical Team (PTT), and was mainly used to contain civil disorder. During the early days, the Police Tactical Team was a motley crew of volunteer officers from the Police Task Force (PTF), who served even on their days off for a monthly allowance of $50.

The PTT, although drawing expertise from the PTF, were still limited in their operational readiness, skills and capability. Resulting from the need to provide the Singapore Police Force with a dedicated armed response team, with expertise assistance of Hong Kong Police Force's Special Duties Unit, the PTT was re-formed into STAR under the Special Operations Command in 1 November 1993.

The unit is known for resolving cases assigned to them without being engaged in gunfights in Singapore.[4]

Duties[edit | edit source]

Pre–September 11[edit | edit source]

Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the role of STAR was to engage in neutralising armed and dangerous criminals, to resolve urban sieges that may involve hostages or firearms, protection of VIPs and escorting of particularly dangerous prisoners.[2]

Post–September 11[edit | edit source]

After the events of September 11, the unit was also to undertake anti-terrorism duties. In 2005, STAR acquired a new maritime assault capability to augment the Police Coast Guard and the Republic of Singapore Navy in dealing with sea-borne threats.[5]

The STAR unit has been involved in the arrest of an AWOL and armed National Serviceman named Dave Teo Ming at the Orchard Cineleisure Mall without firing a shot, as it has been since the unit had conducted operations back in January 1996.[1][4]

Selection and Training[edit | edit source]

Application to join the STAR unit is open only to serving police officers ( SPF, CNB ), senior officers and TRACOM trainees.

To get the best people for the job, the unit holds an intensive and rigorous selection process. During this process, candidates have to undergo a full-day screening to evaluate both their physical and mental capabilities. After which, they are put through psychological assessments and an interview is conducted by an interview panel. Successful applicants will be notified to undergo a final medical review before starting their intensive two-week training and orientation.

During the two weeks, the candidates will be put through another series of tests to evaluate their capabilities in given situations. Those who make it through the final selection will then embark on a six-month training course which includes doctrinal and practical sessions in related disciplines.

The STAR team is known to have sent officers extensively for overseas training attachments and study visits with units such as Hong Kong's Special Duties Unit, Israeli Border Guard's Yamam, Germany's GSG 9, and the Australian SASR. The officer exchange program with the Special Duties Unit has been ongoing since 1998.

Weapons and Equipment[edit | edit source]

STAR officers use weapons that include:

Additionally, STAR deploys equipment for breaching and entering buildings, as well as a dedicated STAR Assault Vehicle, based on the Land Rover SUVs used by the British SAS, for entering normally inaccessible areas.

In popular culture[edit | edit source]

Fictional Television programs

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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