How it all began...
"This spirit of community self-help goes way back to the kampong days where neighbours help look out for the safety and security of one another. The residents know their own safety and security concerns best, and they have the immediate resources available to resolve them. Hence, what we did was to set up a new network of mutual support to empower residents to address these issues jointly with the grassroots organisations, partner agencies and the Home Team agencies".
Mr Wong Kan Seng, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs in his opening speech during the National CSSP Awards Ceremony on 18 July 2007
Community self-help and mutual support strengthens social cohesion, and create a more harmonious community. This concept of community self-help reinforces the idea that the residents themselves are the most important change agents.
Before the launch of the Community Safety and Security Programme (CSSP), the Neighbourhood Watch Zone (NWZ) Scheme was implemented to encourage mutual care and support in the community through residents watching out for one another's premises, and dissemination of crime prevention messages. This scheme led to the development of networks of resident volunteers in each to partner the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in the fight against crime. As of May 2007, there were a total of 615 Neighbourhood Watch Zones with over 4,600 volunteers.
The SPF started on the re-design of the Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPPs) to enhance community involvement and responsibility beyond enforcement-based solutions by leveraging on the involvement and sense of ownership of residents living in the community. This led to the start of a community-focused policing model of policing. In this new model, the focus was entirely on the community. The new Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPCs) was introduced to provide total solutions to the community's safety and security needs based on the goodwill and trust that the Police had gained through community policing.
The Community Focus Plan (CFP) was introduced to co-ordinate the efforts and initiatives of the communities in looking after their own safety and security issues. It was a proactive approach to draw up and implement joint Community-Police projects and activities to address the law and order concerns of the community. The CFP was co-developed with the Community Development Councils (CDCs). It was endorsed by the CDC Mayors and Chairmen during the inaugural CDC Steering Committee on 12 February 1998. The CFP provided a framework for the CDCs and Home Team to jointly engage and mobilise the community in taking responsibility for its own needs. The strength of CFP was its ability to leverage on the strong network and working relationship between the grassroots agencies and SPF.
Safety, security and community well-being are at the heart of each community and these are the key cornerstones of promoting the spirit of self-help and mutual support. CFP helped to:
- Foster community cohesion among local grassroots leaders and residents
- Create opportunities for people to solve community problems as a group
- Allow residents to live harmoniously in a safer and more secure environment.
The CFP was subsequently renamed Community Safety and Security Programme (CSSP) on 8 May 1999 to better reflect its focus and facilitate understanding of residents on the initiative.