Armed robberies staged at Cisco training facility to train guards
It is a scene of calm.
People are queuing up in a bank, going about their business.
Then just as an elderly man walks up to a bank teller, the calm is shattered.
A man wearing a ski mask enters the bank, pulls out a gun and shouts: "Give me the money!"
He then takes one of the bank customers hostage.
Staff members at the counter quickly hand the robber cash.
As he is about to leave, a Certis Cisco officer tells him to drop his weapon but an exchange of gunfire ensues.
Nobody gets hurt though as this is an armed robbery response drill at the Certis Cisco Academy.
The elderly man and the hostage are actually two of 10 auxiliary police officer (APO) trainees going through the drill as part of their basic training.
The armed robber in the exercise we saw on Wednesday was played by Mr Thomas Tham, 39, a field training officer.
"The trainers take turns to play the robber and it's actually quite fun," he said.
"Sometimes you throw a curveball to see how the recruits think on their feet."
The academy, which moved to its current premises at Science Centre Road in December 2013, houses up to 180 trainees training to be APOs. .
It boasts modern facilities such as training and security X-ray simulators.
Overseeing Wednesday's drill was Mr Abdul Aziz Adam, 46, the academy's assistant manager of curriculum development.
He said: "These drills help the trainees familiarise themselves with how to react in such situations."
Mr Abdul, who started out as a constable with Certis Cisco 21 years ago, now oversees about 30,000 trainees every year.
"I miss the challenge of being out in the field," he said. "But now, I can use my experience to teach the trainees."
Sometimes you throw a curveball to see how the recruits think on their feet.
- Mr Thomas Tham, 39, a field training officer.
She wants to protect family and others
Officers at Certis Cisco come from all walks of life and some have unusual reasons for joining.
Miss Ng Xin Yi (above) was robbed when she was 14.
"I was on the way to church in Kuala Lumpur when three men on motorcycles surrounded me.
"They followed me from behind and robbed me when I was alone.
"I was so scared and helpless at the time," said the 21-year-old Malaysian.
She is now a trainee at the Certis Cisco Academy, and will soon be an auxiliary officer. She is trained in unarmed combat, combat with a baton, and firearms, among other skills taught at the academy.
"I wanted to fend for myself and protect my family and other people," Miss Ng said. "Being a Cisco officer enables me to do that."
Previously, she used to do events jobs but said it was unfulfilling.
She then decided to join Cisco.
"I have become stronger and I have learnt how to deal with such situations," she said, referring to the time she was robbed.