The New Zealand military presence in Singapore is an established chapter of New Zealand’s military historiography. Material related to the background and history of the ANZUK Force, the New Zealand Force South East Asia, and 1 RNZIR is readily available. However, information on many of the New Zealand sub-units is more challenging to locate. One unit that was an integral component of the NZ Force of the 1970s and 80s and continues to serve as part of the residual force maintained by New Zealand in Singapore is the Installation Auxiliary Police Force (IAPF).
Upon the 1989 closure of New Zealand Force South East Asia (NZFORSEA), the New Zealand Defence Support Unit (NZDSU) was created to maintain New Zealand’s military presence in Singapore. Located at the Sembawang Naval Installation (SNI), the NZDSU provides Singapore-based deployable support to NZ Forces throughout Southeast Asia. The NZDSU also contributes to the security of allied (US, UK and Australian) forces in Singapore through the provision of the IAPF. The NZDSU commands the IAPF, whose principal responsibility is the provision of Physical security to the SNI, including checks of all personnel and vehicles entering and leaving the Installation.
The IAPF is a small force 56 Singapore Auxiliary Police Officers (APO) and operates under the authority of Section 92(1) or (2) of the Police Force Act 200. Under the provision of this Act the IAPF is vested with all the power, protection and immunity of a Singapore police officer of corresponding rank. As Singapore APO’s, members of the IAPF are licensed to carry firearms when carrying out their duties.
The NZ IAPF originally wore colonial-era Khaki uniforms with the iconic “Kiwi” patch. From around 2000, the uniforms of the IAPF were modernised and standard Singapore police uniforms adopted. The uniform is worn with A IAPF and Kiwi patch worn on each sleeve.
In 1987 RNZAOC Warrant Officer Class Two Wayne Le Gros, wrote the following article on the history of the IAPF for the Journal of the New Zealand Military Society, who have granted permission for it to be reprinted here .
HISTORY OF THE INSTALLATION AUXILIARY POLICE FORCE
Provided by W.Le Gros
The Installations Auxiliary Police Force was formed on I December 1971 as a result of withdrawal of UK Forces from Singapore. The creation of the lAPF was legalised vide Singapore Government Gazette Notification No. 171 dated 21 January 1972.
Prior to the creation of the IAPF, the MOD (UK) maintained huge military bases for its navy, army and air force. Each had its own police force to maintain security of the installations. Although the exact size of its own police forces is not known, it is estimated that there were about 2,000 people employed as policemen. These 2,000 policemen were not all Singapore citizens. Many were Malaysians, Indians and Pakistanis. Some possessed UK Citizenship. This was permissible because Singapore was then a British colony.
With the disbandment of MOD(UK) police forces following the withdrawal of UK Forces from Singapore, all the foreign nationals were retrenched and they either returned to UK or to their own countries. The few hundred policemen that remained were Singapore citizens and in the final stage of the military withdrawal, these Singapore citizens did not escape the retrenchment exercise which ended on 30 November 1971. Singapore citizens who were under 45 years at that time were absorbed into the newly created IAPF.
It is interesting to note here that although the Navy, Army and Air Force had its own police forces, not all police personnel received the same training. The Navy sent its police recruits to the Singapore Police Training School for 9 months of basic police training. The Army and Air Force had their own training schools, but they concentrated more on physical security. Hence when the IAPF started in 1971, IAPF personnel had different police training background. This was however streamlined when the IAPF organised refresher courses for all its personnel.
All IAPF personnel carry warrant cards issued by the Commissioner of Police Singapore. They have the same powers, protection and immunities of a Singapore police officer of corresponding rank within the area under the jurisdiction of NZ Force S.E. Asia providing also that they have the same powers etc outside the area when in fresh pursuit of or in charge of any person who has committed or is suspected of having committed an offence within the limits of such an area or within view outside such an area.
All IAPF personnel are subject to discipline under the Auxiliary Police Regulations and have a right of appeal to the Commissioner of Police, Singapore on disciplinary matters. The promotion of any IAPF personnel is subject to the approval of the Commissioner of Police. Before any personnel can be promoted, he must present himself before a 3-member Joint Promotion Board convened by the Commissioner of Police. The Chairman of the Joint Promotion Board will be a senior Singapore Police Officer while the other two members are OC IAPF and NZ CEPO, the employing authority.
The IAPF when first established in 1971 under the ANZUK Command had 400 personnel and was commanded by Supt. SK. Sundram, (equivalent to Lt. Col. Rank) a retired Singapore Police Officer. It had 1 Asst. Supt, 9 Inspectors and the rest was made up of constables, corporals and sergeants. In 1975, when Australia and UK withdrew from the ANZUK Command, 62 personnel made up of 2 officers and 60 rank and tile were transferred 10 NZ Force S.E Asia and formed the NZ IAPF. Today, the strength is reduced to 50 personnel as a result of an overall review carried out in 1984.
He NZ IAPF is responsible with the:-
- Protection of life and property within the NZ/UK Forces installations
- Control of entry of all persons to NZ/UK Forces installations
- Cash/ammunition escorts
Although the IAPF is a small auxiliary police force, it performs a variety of duties .As most of its personnel have given many years of faithful service, the loyalty and devotion of these personnel have always remained steadfast to this date.