Published: 24 November 2018
Deputy Commissioner of Police Tan Chye Hee
Officers from the Singapore Police Force
Our distinguished guests and partners from the community
Residents and Visitors to Toa Payoh Hub
1. I am very happy to join you to launch the Police Community Roadshow. This weekend’s roadshow is the first in a series of Roadshows held for the community that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is organising. Other than being here in Toa Payoh, the SPF will also be in Bedok and Jurong over the next few weeks to reach out to Singaporeans across the island. What do these roadshows hope to achieve? Well, we want to showcase SPF’s ongoing efforts to enhance its capabilities, as well as partner the community to keep Singapore safe and secure.
2. If we look around us, many of the officers present today are our friendly neighbourhood officers who work tirelessly around the clock to keep our community safe, in Toa Payoh, Bishan, and the whole of the Central Division. Today is an opportunity to say hello and get to know them better.
The community as an ally in crime-fighting
3. Each and every one of us are actually an important ally of the Police in the fight against crime. While the Police work diligently to prevent, deter and detect crime, their effectiveness is multiplied many times over by the support of public-spirited members of the community. And we have good examples, even within Toa Payoh.
4. In September this year, a Toa Payoh resident, Mr Yusman Bin Yusoff, was walking at the linkway between Toa Payoh MRT and Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. But he noticed something unusual. He saw a young man taking a video. But this was no ordinary video. This young man was taking an upskirt video of a woman. He was targeting a woman wearing a skirt, and taking a video of what he should not have been videoing. Mr Yusman alerted the Police officers nearby. Because of the information he provided, the Police were able to successfully apprehend the suspect. Responsible members of public like Mr Yusman help to make our community safer. When criminals know that they can be spotted or stopped not just by Police officers but also by members of public, they will truly think twice about committing crimes.
5. Besides detecting crime, the community also plays a very valuable role in crime prevention. By sharing the latest crime trends and crime prevention measures with friends and family, each of us can help to strengthen our collective defence against crime. We are all in this together.
The Volunteer Special Constabulary (Community) Vocation
6. Partnership with the community is a cornerstone of SPF’s policing strategy, and the Police have been looking at more ways to work with the community. One long-standing initiative we have is the Volunteer Special Constabulary (or “VSC” for short) scheme. Some of you may know this. The VSC scheme is older than Singapore. In fact, VSC was started just after the 2nd world war, in 1946. So VSC, over the last 70 plus years, have been part and parcel of Police’s day-to-day operations, and has contributed to our safety and security in numerous ways.
7. This year, to create more opportunities for the public to join the VSC, the Police introduced a new vocation known as “VSC (Community)”, to make it easier for those who are keen to serve but have other time commitments, and are not able to fulfil what is required under the VSC scheme. VSC (Community) officers differ from regular VSC officers in that their training and patrol requirements are more calibrated to their time availability and commitment. They will however also play an important role in helping the Police to project presence in areas with high human traffic, and will also be trained to facilitate crowd control and evacuation, which is very important in times of emergency. During their patrols, they will also help to convey crime prevention messages to the community.
Launch of the E.C.H.O. against Scams Initiative
8. Today, I am especially happy to launch a new Police-community initiative called “Elderly Citizens Helping Others against Scams”, or “E.C.H.O. against Scams” for short. They are enthusiastic citizens helping others against scams.
9. Why do we have this E.C.H.O scheme? Although traditional crimes have come down, online cheating scams continue to increase. These scams have seen Singaporeans being cheated of their hard-earned money. The elderly amongst our citizens is especially vulnerable, as more and more of the elderly are learning about technology such as smartphones and social media. But because more have learnt how to access social media, they have now become the targets of the bad guys. These bad guys have been creating scams to try and cheat the elderly of their money. So we want to make sure that even as our elderly learn how technology can play a helpful part in their lives, they do not fall prey to these scammers.
10. Toa Payoh estate has a large population of elderly residents. The estate has been around since independence, and the Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre has also partnered our senior citizens to protect their peers from scams. Senior citizens in Toa Payoh, Potong Pasir, and Joo Seng estate, among others, will be recruited as anti-scam ambassadors to share the latest scam tactics with their fellow residents. Many of these ambassadors are already recognisable faces within the community. Because you are well known, you are also well-placed to share the advice with other members of the community. During their engagements, the anti-scam ambassadors will distribute an “anti-scam tool kit” which will help to educate the elderly to look out for signs of scams, so they don’t become victims.The kit, which will be in the convenient form of a folder, consists of an anti-scam checklist and a fridge magnet with visuals of staff passes of common Government agencies. So if someone pretends that he is from a Government agency, you can check against the visuals. It also has brochures with useful information of various scams.
11. This toolkit will be a useful resource for our elderly residents, to help them be less vulnerable to online scams.
12. Today, the Police have put together a very exciting range of activities, including performances by the Police band, demonstrations by the Police K-9 unit, and how the Police is using drones to help officers be more effective at their work. The Police also need to recruit good people to join us. So, for visitors to today’s roadshow, if you have a heart for the community and if you believe that you would like to play a part to keep Singapore safe and secure, please visit our booths to find out more about policing work and talk to our officers so they can share more with you, about what kind of career you can look forward to with the Police.
13. In conclusion, on behalf of our residents in Bishan and Toa Payoh, I would like to thank our Police officers for working tirelessly around the clock so that we can all sleep soundly at night. To all our partners, thank you for joining the Police in keeping Singapore safe and secure.
14. I wish you all an enjoyable day ahead at the Police Community Roadshow.