KIMS Policy Report

Second Amongst Equals? The Police Coast Guard within Singapore’s Maritime Security Architecture

Amongst Singapore’s maritime security institutions, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) is arguably one of the most underrated. Founded in 1866, the PCG’s genesis was then called the Marine Police during the British colonial rule and tasked to curb rampant piracy. It retained the Marine Police title until 1993, when it was renamed the PCG following a structural reform.1) Despite its much longer existence than the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN), the PCG is often side-lined to the latter’s shadow – and understandably so. The navy remains a leading maritime security institution of the island city-state, and enjoys much greater clout in terms of resource allocation and overall capabilities.
That said, however, the PCG remains a highly relevant force. Comparing the PCG to its “grey hulled” counterpart would be akin to comparing apples and oranges. The two institutions may share some similar missions, but they have entirely different mandates.

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