Updated: 07/16/2014 01:10

Fighting terrorism is all about mobilising communities to fight fear

Fighting terrorism is all about mobilising communities to fight fear

Nearly 30 delegates from nine ASEAN member states are in Singapore to share knowledge on managing incidents like a terrorist attack. 

They attended the second ASEAN Counter-Terrorism Workshop on Joint-Incident Management today. 

Reporter John Yip spoke to a British expert at the workshop, who described how the UK counters terrorism. 

Mr Keith Pearce was already a veteran detective with the Criminal Investigation Department of London's Metropolitan Police Service when he joined its Counter-Terrorism Command in 1996. 

He's been involved in the investigations of several high-profile explosions, including the London Underground bombings of 2005. 

Mr Pearce has his own definition of terrorism. 

"When you look at the definition of the laws, some refer about overthrowing governments, some mention religion, and some steer away from religion. But if we talk about putting the communities in fear, then that's not far short of the starting point." 

So, to him, fighting terrorism is about mobilising entire communities to fight fear. 

In Britain, this is based on four principles: 

First, preparing for terrorism by sharing information through conferences, training and exercises. 

Second, preventing terrorism through preemptive police action, such as pulling people off the street to forestall violence. 

Third, planning ahead by providing adequate funding for not just the police, but also other agenices involved in security operations and intelligence-gathering. 

Lastly, pursuing terrorists and their support networks, both before and after an attack. 

With regard to Singapore, Mr Pearce says the Police have done a good job by setting up a coordinated response since the 1990s. 

"You've got a well-trained, and exercised and supported team for terrorism." 

But he stressed the importance of thinking beyond our borders. 

"You need to spend time investigating the crime, because you're not just investigating it for you. The chances are you'll have to share the intelligence and the investigation -- maybe -- with other countries." 

Singapore, along with its regional neighbours, shares such information through the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism. 

Security forces in ASEAN also conduct regular bilateral and multilateral traning exercises.

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