Special Tactics and Rescue (Singapore)

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Coordinates: 1°17′42.41″N 103°48′01.76″E / 1.2951139°N 103.8004889°E / 1.2951139; 103.8004889

Special Tactics and Rescue
STAR insignia.png
Special Tactics and Rescue Insignia
Active(PTT) 1978 – 1 November 1993
(STAR) 1 November 1993 – Present
CountrySingapore Singapore
BranchSingapore Police Force
TypeSpecial Forces
Hostage rescue
Homeland security
Direct action
Special operations
Part ofSpecial Operations Command
Garrison/HQQueensway Base
Nickname(s)Police Commandos, STAR Unit
Motto(s)Vigilance, Valour, Victory
EngagementsArrest of Dave Teo Ming[1]
Decorations1994 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
Cyril V Gabriel (Pioneer OC, 1978)
Patrick Tay
STAR Insignia

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

Origins & History[edit]

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 UK’s SAS, Germany’s GSG9, France’s GIGN, and America’s Delta Force, the PTT was re-formed into STAR under Special Operations Command on 1 November 1993.


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]

After the events of 11 September, the unit was also planned to undertake counter-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 maritime threats.[4]

The STAR unit has been involved in the arrest of an AWOL and armed National Serviceman named Dave Teo at the Orchard Cineleisure Mall without firing a shot, as it has been since the unit had conducted operations back in January 1996.[1][5]

Selection and training[edit]

Application to join the STAR unit is open to both public and police officers through the open recruitment exercise every year around October to December.

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-month training and orientation.

During the two months, the candidates will be put through another series of tests to evaluate their capabilities in given situations. Those who make it through the selection week (aka hell week) will then embark on a six-month training course which includes doctrinal and practical sessions in related disciplinary acts.

The STAR unit is known to have sent officers extensively for overseas training attachments and study visits with different units such as Hong Kong's Special Duties Unit, Israeli Border Guard's Yamam, France's GIGN, Germany's GSG 9, and the Australian Special Operations Group.

In popular culture[edit]

Fictional Television programs

Equipment and vehicles[edit]



  •  USA: Remington 870

Sub-machine guns

Assault rifles:

Sniper rifles:

  •  UK: Accuracy International AWP

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Who is Dave Teo Ming? Archived 11 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 9 September 2007.
  2. ^ a b Unofficial STAR Unit Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  3. ^ Unofficial STAR Page. Retrieved on 4 January 2008.
  4. ^ Police Coast Guard/Special Operations Command (2 February 2005). "Speech By A/P Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs, at Commissioning Ceremony of the STAR Unit Maritime Assault Capability, 2 February 2005, 10.00 AM at Police Coast Guard, Pulau Brani Base". Archived from the original on 13 April 2009.
  5. ^ The Strait Times. 9 September 2007.

External links[edit]