Published: 26 April 2022
Commissioner of Police,
Fellow Home Team Colleagues,
1. Good morning.
2. I want to start by talking about trust very briefly. The Public Perception Survey 2021 found that public trust in the SPF, has risen even further from a very high base. And over the years I’ve spoken about the importance of maintaining trust. SPF does it by being effective and being seen as fair.
3. Today, I will speak about the three aspects which the SPF will focus on to maintain its effectiveness; and in particular, in protecting the vulnerable.
Re-organisation of Resources
4. First, the Police force is re-organising its resources to tackle new crime trends.
5. Scams are a key concern. Scam cases have risen 52% over the past year. You know, e-commerce scams, bank-related phishing scams, loan scams, job scams, many more.
6. The force will expand the current Anti-Scam Division, into a full-fledged Anti-Scam Command.
7. The Anti-Scam Command will consolidate investigation of all types of scams into one unit; and will oversee the newly formed Scam Strike Teams in the Land Divisions.
8. That will help in better sensemaking, more effective crime prevention, and a faster response against scams.
9. Besides scams, sexual crimes have also been on the rise. And we will do more to deal with family violence.
10. As I announced recently, SPF will form the Sexual Crime and Family Violence Command – to oversee all sexual crime and family violence cases. SPF will also form Family Violence Teams in the Land Divisions.
11. They will attend to the investigation of such cases and victim care.
12. Second, SPF will also work with social service agencies and social workers in crime prevention, and in supporting vulnerable victims.
13. Offenders may be facing difficult circumstances, socioeconomic problems that contribute to their offending behavior.
14. The force has in place the Home Team Community Assistance and Referral Scheme (HT CARES).
15. HT CARES officers are social workers deployed at Land Divisions and they assist investigation officers to identify offenders’ needs, and refer them to the appropriate social service agencies.
16. Since the implementation of HT CARES in 2019, there has been a total of 769 referrals as of February 2022.
17. Let me talk about one such referral. In that case, the husband had committed a breach of a Personal Protection Order (PPO). The PPO had been taken up by his wife in February 2020. He was facing marital issues, lacked social support. He was living alone.
18. With the help of social workers and adequate befriending support, he is now coping better and has not breached the PPO ever since.
19. The SPF has expanded the scope of HT CARES in 2021 to involve next-of-kin, and the aim is to reduce re-offending by providing support for offenders and their family.
20. Another initiative is the Victim Care Cadre Programme (VCCP).
21. Victim Care Officers under the VCCP are specially selected and trained volunteers. They have a background in psychology, social work or counselling, and they will provide emotional support to victims of serious crime. They help support distressed victims during the investigation process.
22. SPF has also formed a new partnership with the IMH (Institute of Mental Health) and has rolled out the IMH Crisis Response Team (CRT).
23. The CRT consists of a nurse and a counsellor or psychologist. The team provides upfront triaging and care, and identifies victims at the scene who require in-patient monitoring at IMH, and it helps victims receive timely care and support.
24. Third, Police officers have to be trained to identify vulnerable victims.
25. Police officers will undergo Family Violence Sensitivity Training to recognise signs of family violence and better support abuse victims.
26. Police officers are also trained to handle sexual crime victims sensitively, and with dignity and respect to reduce the likelihood of re-traumatization.
27. The force continues to make efforts to protect vulnerable victims. That will require a concerted effort with other partners, and the community.
28. To our SPF officers, continue to serve the community with dedication, sacrifice, and care, as you have been doing all these years.
29. Thank you for serving Singapore and protecting Singapore.