Published: 23 April 2021
Dear Graduating Officers, congratulations to all of you for successfully completing the course. Today is a significant milestone for you and all the people who have stood with you along your journey.
Beginning Year 2021 with new opportunities
Under normal circumstances, we would have held a grand parade with the presence of your loved ones to witness your achievements. Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, and we have to do this differently.
We are navigating through unusual times, with the lives of many Singaporeans disrupted in many ways. But Singaporeans have also shown resilience in adapting to a different way of life, as well as the challenges that COVID-19 presented us with.
We started the year 2021, a little more hopeful. We started vaccinating our population, beginning with healthcare workers in end December last year, and have since vaccinated more than 200,000 people. Among the batch that received the vaccinations first, were frontline officers from the Home Team. I am glad that 92 per cent of medically eligible frontline officers have indicated their interest to undergo the COVID-19 vaccination, and we are able to help them carry out their duties with peace of mind.
In this COVID-19 pandemic, our Police officers, in particular, play an important role in ensuring that safe management measures are adhered to, and maintain law and order as we focus on containing the virus and rebuilding the economy.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend Trainees Adam Danish Bin Elffande and Muhammad Malikqi Bin Mustazam. In December last year, while Adam and Malikqi were waiting for their private hire car to send them back to the Home Team Academy, they heard a loud argument and sounds of broken glass from a nearby unit. Adam and Malikqi spotted a man pacing up and down the corridor and banging on the gate and windows. Adam and Malikqi took the initiative to find out more and upon approaching the unit, found two men injured with blood stains along the corridor. Without hesitation, they assisted to manage the situation – Adam helped to calm the house owner while Malikqi called for the Police and continued to observe the surroundings. Both Adam and Malikqi stayed at the scene until the Police officers arrived and relayed the necessary information to them. Thank you, Adam and Malikqi, for going over and beyond your duties to serve Singaporeans.
Responding and preparing for future challenges
What we learned from the pandemic and rising above the challenges posed by the pandemic, is that we also need to proactively prepare ourselves for future challenges. We need to continue building capabilities, reviewing our policies and processes, and developing strong officers for the future.
To build our capabilities, we have increasingly used more technology to empower policing work. We have deployed drones and robots, including the Multi-Purpose All Terrain Autonomous Robot (M.A.T.A.R) to support Police operations. During this COVID-19 period, M.A.T.A.R’s autonomous patrolling capability helped to enhance the efficiency of police ground operations, and also helped reduce exposure of frontline officers, keeping them safe.
We also review our policies and processes to ensure that they remain relevant and serve the needs of our residents. For example, we witnessed a rise in scams and family violence cases during COVID-19. Even before COVID-19, the Police have taken a serious view of such offences, and have been working with the community to enhance responses to deter such crimes and support the victims. During COVID-19, Police’s response is even more critical to combat such crimes. For scams, the Police undertook island-wide operations, ramped up public education and outreach to create awareness on the scams conducted. For family violence, the Police proactively referred victims assessed to be at higher risk of encountering further violence to social services.
The 3Cs as you embark on the next phase
We can prepare ourselves in terms of capabilities, policies and processes, but most importantly our people must be prepared. In the next phase of your journey, regardless of your vocation or scheme of service, or if you are embarking on your career in Singapore Police Force (SPF), all of you have an important duty to keep Singapore safe and secure. You would be familiar with the core values of the SPF – “Courage”, “Loyalty”, “Integrity” and “Fairness”. It is important that you internalise these core values, as you wear the Police blue and exercise the police powers vested in you. Beyond those core values, I wish to share with all of you three Cs that I hope you will also think about as you continue the next phase of your journey in serving Singaporeans.
First, connect with the community. It is important to strengthen partnerships with the community and work with them to achieve positive outcomes. We need to engage fellow Singaporeans to be vigilant against threats and to partner Police in keeping Singapore a safe place to live, work and play.
Second, communicate. Effective communication skills involve having the ability to listen, to empathise, and to engage the public. In today’s context, communication goes beyond our traditional methods of face-to-face interactions and writing emails, to the online and social media space. Overseas, Law Enforcement Agencies are increasingly turning to social media sites to post crime data and trends, and even using platforms like TikTok to launch public awareness campaigns. In Singapore, we are also tapping on social tools such as Facebook and YouTube to reach out to the public on issues such as crime prevention, crime awareness and counter-terrorism. With such diverse range of communication tools, it is important for officers to have strong communication capabilities both offline and online.
Third, embrace change. In this rapidly changing world, it is critical for officers to dare to try new things. Continue to develop yourselves, challenge norms and think about how you can do things better. One example is how the Training Command has adapted quickly to conduct the training for you. Various Safe Distancing Measures were introduced within a short timeframe – from wearing of masks, to staggered booking-in and booking-out timings. Despite all the disruptions, I was told that this batch of officers embraced the change well. I am happy to note that training outcomes, measured by your formative and summative assessments, your classification shoot and your IPPT tests, continued to meet the targets and standards set by us. Well done to all of you!
Once again, I congratulate all of you for your achievements. I hope the past months of training have not only equipped you with the essential skills required in discharging your duties as a Police officer, but also given you experiences that help you grow as an individual. I urge you to reflect on the times we are currently in and consider how you can better connect, communicate and make a change in the next stretch of your journey. I wish you every success throughout your national service or career in the SPF.
 As at 8 Mar 2021, 392,620 people have received first dose and 218,694 have completed the full vaccination.