Current Affairs

More arrests being made on public transport


SINGAPORE: Arrests by Singapore’s Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) have risen over the last two years, it was revealed on Wednesday (Dec 6). 

Up until October this year, 688 arrests were made compared to 676 in 2016 and 545 in 2015. 

TransCom was established in 2009 to step up security patrols at train stations and bus interchanges. The unit deploys officers to protect the public against potential acts of terrorism and to assist in crowd management.

Dog handler, Staff Sergeant Wong Wen Xiong, ensures Esso leaves nothing unsniffed. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

Drug-related and molestation arrests are among some of the cases that TransCom officers have been dealing with.

“There was an instance where someone tried to run away when drugs were found on them. A really short chase ensued, and they really had to hold on to the person and the person even tried to bite my colleagues,” said TransCom Special Constabulary Sergeant Bryant Choo.


Police will be stationing more officers at public transport nodes during Christmas and the New Year compared to other times of the year. Channel NewsAsia understands that the locations with increased security presence include Orchard Road and the Marina Bay area.

Esso finds a dummy explosive planted under the hood of a car. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

As part of counter-terrorism measures, TransCom patrols will also include sniffer dogs trained to detect explosives. The dogs come from the Police K-9 Unit, and work with a handler and TransCom officers to conduct daily patrols. They are trained to support their masters in enhancing security without getting in the way of commuters.

Training for the canines begins when they are about 18 months old. 

“During the training course we have to go through the different kinds of environments (we may face) to prepare us for our respective duties,” said Senior Staff Sergeant Wong Wen Xiong, who is a dog handler.

Staff Sergeant Wong and his dog Esso had to go through a 12-week training stint to get ready for operations. This period is also a crucial window for the handler to form a bond with the dog under their charge.

Sniffer dog Esso, two weeks on the job. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

“Lots of praise and confidence need to be given to the dog,” said Staff Sergeant Wong. “I buy treats for Esso and I return on my off days to bathe Esso when I can. With great bonding, the dog will be much more confident with you. It will trust you more and it will listen to your command whenever you ask it to do so – it will work happily with you.”

Explosive detection dogs include breeds like German shepherds and cocker spaniels. They typically serve till the age of seven, before they are reintroduced back to domestic life.

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