SINGAPORE: All auxiliary police officers (APOs) with AETOS have to attend a mandatory briefing on spotting the tell-tale indicators of radicalisation, the security management firm said on Tuesday (Jun 20), in the wake of an announcement that two of its officers had been issued orders under the Internal Security Act.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said on Tuesday afternoon that an APO deployed by AETOS was arrested and detained in May for planning to travel to Syria to take part in armed violence.
Singaporean Muhammad Khairul Mohamed, 24, was part of the traffic enforcement division at Woodlands Checkpoint. He had become radicalised as early as 2012, prior to joining AETOS in May 2015, MHA said.
Khairul’s colleague, Mohamad Rizal Wahid, has also been put under a restriction order for supporting his intentions to fight in Syria, MHA also said on Tuesday.
AETOS reiterated that despite its “stringent” selection criteria, “it is not always easy or possible to detect signs of radicalisation”.
Outlining its selection criteria, AETOS said all potential candidates must meet physical fitness and education requirements, and are screened to ensure they are suitable for security work. Additionally, candidates are interviewed to “ensure they have the right attitude and temperament”, an AETOS spokesperson told Channel NewsAsia.
AETOS added that all of its APOs are trained and licensed to carry firearms. They will only carry firearms if the nature of their work requires it, AETOS said. Khairul’s duties did not require him to be armed, according to MHA.
Of its 2,500 APOs, AETOS said the majority are Singaporeans. The rest are Malaysian, with a small number of Taiwanese, it added.
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Another security organisation, Certis Cisco, said it uses similar selection criteria when looking at potential APOs.
“In addition to physical fitness and education requirements, all APOs are screened by the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department to ensure they are suitable for security work. All candidates are interviewed to ensure they have the right attitude and aptitude for security work,” a spokesperson for Certis Cisco said.
“Nonetheless, we appreciate that it is neither always easy nor possible to detect signs of radicalisation in every case.”
Upon employment, Certis Cisco said it has a whistleblowing policy which encourages officers to report wrongdoings without fear of reprisal.
“Other than detecting malpractices and misconduct, it also allows the company to detect officers who act out of character or officers who harbour radicalised ideologies or abnormal tendencies,” a spokesperson said, adding that company-appointed paracounsellors, who are professionally trained employees, are on hand to assist APOs with personal or work-related issues.
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