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A bigger role in blue: Transitioning from junior to senior SPF officer

SSS (NS) Jason Chua from the Singapore Police Force shares his experience attending a six-week leadership course at the Home Team Academy.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SPF

Like many of his fellow Police National Service Men (PNS men), SSS (NS) Jason Chua was happy to perform his duties to the best of his abilities. In November 2021, he was one of three PNS men who were given the unique opportunity to undertake a six-week leadership course held at the Home Team Academy (HTA) with other regulars from the Singapore Police Force.

This course was specially designed for officers to be promoted to the echelons of senior officers. “I am honoured to count myself as a member of this pioneer batch of PNS men chosen for this leadership course,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

BONDED BY A COMMON MISSION

The course tested each trainee’s physical and mental resilience, and the group bonded quickly.

“Our background and rank — be it Station Inspector or Senior Station Inspector — were irrelevant. We learnt to sync and grow together as comrades-in-arms, holding the special title of Senior Officer Trainee (SOT).”    

The course began with a four-week non-residential intensive academic programme where the trainees studied aspects of the law that were most relevant to good policing, such as the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act.

“We were taught by not only experienced course managers but were also privileged to hear directly from seasoned private practitioners who candidly shared their knowledge with us,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

INTELLECTUALLY INTENSE TRAINING

“While it was an intellectually grueling experience, I am certain that all the SOTs were grateful for this academic rigor. After all, with increased scrutiny by the public on the work we do, it is increasingly important for police officers to be equipped with the legal knowledge that would enable them to excel in their job,” he added.

The academic programme culminated in a written examination comprising essays and short structured hypothetical questions that assess the SOTs ability to react to various scenarios and apply the correct police powers. The trainees were graded on the accuracy of their responses.  

“While such hypothetical scenarios cannot replace the real-life action that officers on the ground face daily, we welcomed the opportunity to put our new-found knowledge to practice,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

ENTERING THE FINAL PHASE

According to SSS (NS) Chua, the real fun commenced just two days after the examinations with an exciting two-week residential leadership training stint – the final leg of their course.

Conducted by the Leadership and Executive Training School (LETS) of the HTA, the residential component of the course aimed to develop, prepare and equip police officers with the necessary skills and knowledge to step into the shoes of an Inspector.

“Throughout the leadership course, we undertook various exercises to train us holistically to become an all-rounded leader. From classroom lessons to physical trainings, we were stretched and pushed to fulfil our highest potential. Our physical and mental resilience was tested time and again. Without the encouragement from our instructors and the friendship of our squad-mates, we would not have pulled through,” SSS (NS) Chua said.

The trainees also organised a fire-side chat with Deputy Superintendent of Police, Roy Lim, on the topic of leadership.

“There was no better way to learn about leadership than to hear first-hand from a seasoned and respected leader himself. I found the talk by SUPT (NS) Lim to be candid and forthcoming on what makes a good leader. The tips and lessons SUPT (NS) Lim shared – including how he rose through the ranks –were simply first class!”

SSS (NS) Chua appreciated the fact that lessons were not confined to the classroom. During this final phase of the course, trainees worked in teams, conducted mock briefings and went on outdoor “missions”.

“These exercises required us to apply and put into practice the leadership skills imparted to us during the course, such as communication skills, teamwork and efficiency. The two-week residential component of the course taught me more about myself and what it takes to be a good leader. There is more to leadership than meets the eye. It comes from experience in walking the leadership journey and being humble and learning from others,” said SSS (NS) Chua.

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