Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Home Team Convention 2010 Report Card

When an event goes all-out to engage the community with freebies and exhibits people can try, it usually pulls in big crowds – except when you hold it at the height of the school examination season.

Last weekend’s Home Team Convention, held with the theme “A Role for Everyone”, tried to touch base with the community using exhibits and interactive displays that engaged hearts and minds.

Gone were 2009’s exhibits explaining high brow concepts such as the structure and organisation of the Executive Group and how the Home Ministry plays its social media card.

In their place were exhibits people could have a go at. Visitors could sit in a living room and feel what it's like to be shaken and stirred during an earthquake, talk to real life Crime Scene Investigators and learn how CSI officers conduct fire investigations, pat the rescue dogs or run away from the attack canines from the Police K-9 Unit. A free archery range, a chance to shoot with air rifles or have a go at a climbing wall catered to visitors with more energetic pursuits.

There was something for gadget nuts too. Singapore's Police Coast Guard (PCG) displayed its Command and Control Surveillance Barge (C2SB) concept for the first time, and a new class of high speed PCG vessel that can land PCG officers on the beach.

It was all good fun and the message that everyone has a part to play in the island nation’s security was received loud and clear.

It was therefore a pity the Home Team Convention didn’t pull in more people as the two-day event made for an enjoyable way for people to learn about security and law enforcement agencies commanded by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Perhaps next year, the Home Team Convention’s organizers would consider blending high-level strategic concepts (like an update on the Executive Group command structure chart, shown in 2009) with family-friendly exhibits. And hold the event during the June school holidays.

Overall, I’d give the Home Team Convention 2010 a B.

Variety of exhibits: B
Many of the exhibits were recycled from the Home Team Work Plan Seminar. These were professionally done, exhibition-quality displays. Budget and operational requirements permitting, a bigger spread of vehicles and weapons would have been crowd pleasers.
The PCG exhibits on the layered coastal defence concept was particularly interesting.

Quality of information: B-
Small arms were displayed without technical specifications, which meant people came, gawked and left the weapons shown no wiser than when they arrived. The vehicles were clearly explained though.

Standard of showmanship: A-
Considering the small size of the performance area, the K-9 Team put up a commendable performance. The MCs should try to wing it and comment on the show as they watch it unfold, rather than reading from the prepared script. But this takes practice.

Attitude of duty personnel: B+
The service level of duty personnel was exemplary. Most came clearly prepared for show-and-tell and made guests feel welcome. But some officers were clearly curious when the group I visited with started grilling them about technical stuff. The stock reply from one PCG officer on duty on Saturday morning was amusing. He prefixed his answers with the phrase “according to media reports”. Son, if we could rely on media reports alone, there would be little need to attend the exhibition itself.

Show venue: A-
Accessible, rain-proof show venue in the heart of the city, close to major bus routes and the MRT underground train network. But there were few prominent signs indicating why shoppers should make their way six floors up in Suntec Convention Centre. If the Suntec folks can't support a returning customer better, perhaps MHA should take its business elsewhere in 2011.


goat89 said...

Not bad, but yes, timing seems to be an issue here. ><

Anonymous said...

Rating for your report... A+++++

Wocelot said...

Actually, the SPEAR officers gave me a good explantion of the FN303 and the OC spray gun (aka the JPX Protector)

David Boey said...

Fair enough. But when I walked by there wasn't anyone manning the display/show ambassador was busy.