Not your common driving college: How police safety escorts study to maintain VVIPs protected on the roads
SINGAPORE: These vehicles are on a site in the Home Team Tactical Center and look like almost any other car on the road. But in every driver’s seat there is a highly qualified professional who is ready to drive under extreme pressure in hostile situations.
Each of them is a Personal Security Officer (PSO) of the Police Security Command (SecCom) of the Singapore Police Force, who is tasked with escorting and protecting the country’s VVIPs.
Their job is to drive the VVIPs around – and be ready to respond in the face of impending threats.
This requires not only vigilance and composure, but also advanced skills that normal drivers typically don’t need – including the formation of motorcades and evasive maneuvers to protect VVIPs from harm and to escape or counteract hostile situations.
Selected PSOs learn their driving skills at a high level in a tailor-made protective driving course at the Home Team Tactical Center, where there is a training area specially designed for performing techniques such as skids, reverse figure 8s and even simulated crashes.
Cars lined up for a training exercise at the Home Team Tactical Center. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)
A police driver performs a reverse maneuver of the number 8. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)
Among the advanced techniques students learn is the precision immobilization technique, which teaches them to force a chasing car to lose control and stop while slipping the chaser.
Trainees also practice breaking barricades, one of the riskier maneuvers that involves ramming other vehicles or objects in the event of a blockage.
Judee Khoo, a station inspector (SI) trainee, said physical barriers weren’t the only challenges she faced. “Sometimes personal limitations become a mental barrier and make it very difficult for us to achieve the high standards,” she said.
Trainee station inspector (SI) Judee Khoo. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)
Citing her coaches to help her perform and master her techniques, she added, “They helped me push my limits and this has become my passion.”
Practice regaining control of the vehicle after a skid. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)
(Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)