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In The Force

TransCom: Keeping the public safe on the move

From assisting vulnerable elderly to using high-tech methods to catch criminals, the Public Transport Security Command ensures the safety of Singapore’s public transport network.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

IMAGES: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

Every day, there are over five million rides taken on MRT trains or buses, as people travel between work, school, home and play.

As public transport users in Singapore, we are used to high bus frequencies, convenient sheltered linkways, clean buses and MRT cabins. We are also used to safety: Many commuters are familiar with the sight of officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) patrolling our transport nodes such as the MRT stations and bus interchanges.

What commuters may not know is that besides daily patrols to deter and detect crime, TransCom officers are trained to deal with a range of cases in their line of duty, which includes responding and managing security incidents in the public land transport system, as well as non-security related incidents such as assisting persons in distress.  

CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY

Earlier this year, on 2 January, four TransCom officers responded to a call for assistance at Tampines West MRT station.

An elderly man with dementia had been found – but with no identification on him, it would be close to impossible to help him return home. This is not an uncommon occurrence: According to the Agency for Integrated Care, on average, eight elderly people with dementia go missing every month in Singapore, with many of them being discovered at bus interchanges or MRT stations.

SC/CPL Audi Prasanto, SC/SGT Muhammad Shaheed Alam, SC/CPL Mohamed Hamza Al Waqar and SC/SGT Hamdan Afiq tried to engage the elderly man but he was wary of them. The officers were patient when engaging him and even played simple games with him to gain his trust.

The elderly man eventually opened up to the officers and shared his personal particulars. The information provided by the man enabled the officers to reunite him with his family, who were happy to see their loved one safe and sound at home again. In this case, the officers showed empathy, professionalism and care while fulfilling their job to reunite the elderly man with his family.

At TransCom, 80 percent of the officers are full-time Police National Serviceman (PNSF). Majority of them are deployed to conduct deterrence patrols to protect Singapore’s land transport system against crime and terrorism. They are trained to work closely with public transport operators to manage and diffuse any security threats that might surface during emergencies.

ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF CRIME

In addition to basic policing skills such as criminal law and police powers, TransCom officers receive training in public transport security to prepare them for the unique operating terrain. Those with leadership potential, are groomed and entrusted to be Group Leaders (GLs) where they are given the opportunities to lead, conduct ambush operations to catch suspects of crime and manage incidents like any regular officers. They are also equipped with other non-lethal equipment such as the Taser.

TransCom leverages technology such as CCTVs and data analytics to enhance our policing efforts in solving crime. On the evening of 10 February this year, the police were alerted to a case of voyeurism on a train heading towards Pasir Panjang MRT station, where a man had allegedly taken upskirt photos and videos of a female commuter.

While CCTV has been around for a while, newer technologies such as data analytics can serve to greatly enhance policing efforts in solving crime. Piecing together evidence from CCTV images and data mining, TransCom officers were able to establish the identity of the man and arrested him within 12 hours of the report.

With the public transport network expanding progressively in the coming years, TransCom continue to evolve their operations and work closely with partners and community to strengthen police presence in our transport network and raise the security awareness of the community.

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In The Force

Lifesavers flying the flag at the Hanoi SEA Games

Two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) NSFs who are also national athletes share how they achieved sporting glory.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: SCDF

Say hello to Corporal (NSF) Noah Lim Tian Run and Lance Corporal (NSF) Muhammad Syakir Bin Jeffry, two SCDF Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) who recently participated in the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Hanoi, Vietnam.

CPL Noah, an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) from Alexandra Fire Station, clinched the gold medal in Jiu-Jitsu, while LCP Muhammad Syakir, a firefighter from Tuas Fire Station, brought home the joint-bronze medal in Pencak Silat for Team Singapore. They share their experiences balancing life serving National Service (NS) with being national athletes.

TRAINING SMARTER, FIGHTING HARDER

CPL (NSF) Noah (left) competing against his opponent from the Philippines.

What is Jiu Jitsu? What is its main objective?

CPL Noah: A Jiu-Jitsu match is fought between two opponents and the main objective of the martial art is to make your opponent tap out using submission holds such as arm locks, leg locks and chokes. There are various types of submission locks in Jiu-Jitsu. Every submission lock must be precisely carried so your opponent does not have a chance to escape. Jiu Jitsu is not an easy martial art to master.

How long have you been practicing Jiu Jitsu and what attracted you to this martial art?

CPL Noah: I have been practicing Jiu-Jitsu for about six years. Prior to this, I was a competitive swimmer. My elder brother was already learning Jiu-Jitsu then and he would practice his submission moves on me at home [laughs].

I became fascinated by the different types of submission moves that one could master in Jiu-Jitsu. That was how I got into the martial art and dedicated myself to it.

How do you feel having won the gold medal for Singapore?

CPL Noah: I did not expect to do well in this sport, as I was up against several strong opponents in the competition. Moreover, I was unable to train as often as before after my National Service (NS) enlistment. My brother, who was more experienced than me in Jiu-Jitsu, competed in the same category and clinched a bronze medal. Knowing this and the challenges involved, I placed a lot of pressure on myself to make Singapore proud.

Were there any challenges faced during the competition?

CPL Noah: Yes, definitely! My opponents were all very strong. During my first match, I used a technique which I was confident would work against my opponent. However, he was the same size as me and physically stronger. I managed to wear him out later in the match and emerged victorious.

What is your training regime like for Jiu Jitsu after you enlisted to serve NS?

CPL Noah: Before I enlisted for NS, I would usually train three times a day for about two hours each session. I currently train during my days off. As an athlete, the key to doing well in your sport is consistency and self-discipline. This may sound simple, but with all the distractions around us, one can find it hard to stay focused. This is when we must fall back on the reason we got into the sport and what we want to achieve at the end of the day.

In what way does your involvement in Jiu Jitsu positively impact the work you are doing in SCDF as a NSF?

CPL Noah: Jiu-Jitsu helps me stay calm under pressure. This helps me strategise my moves to overcome my opponent. Likewise, in my work as an EMT, I have worked under immense pressure during emergencies where there is a need for physical and mental fitness, and most of what we do is closely scrutinised by the public. The ability to keep my composure during a stressful situation allows me to make good judgment calls to save a person’s life.

What do you plan to do after NS?

CPL Noah: I will be enrolling myself in Medical School. This would most likely affect my training schedule. I want to use the time I have now to compete in as many matches as I can before moving on to the next chapter in my life.

OVERCOMING INJURY FOR THE PRIZE

LCP Muhammad Syakir Bin Jeffry didn't let injury stop him from bagging the bronze medal at the Hanoi SEA Games.

What is Pencak Silat? What is its main objective?

LCP Muhammad Syakir: Pencak Silat is a martial art that originated in Indonesia. It involves the use of strikes, throws and grappling techniques to overcome your opponent. In general, there are two types of Silat. The competitive type, which is Pencak Silat, and Seni Silat, a form of performance art.

How do you feel about your recent SEA Games medal?

LCP (NSF) Muhammad Syakir (black and red sparring vest) in a match against his opponent from Thailand.

LCP Muhammad Syakir: This is this first SEA Games I had participated in, and it was definitely an eventful competition. About 10 weeks before the competition, I tore my left Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and my doctor advised me to refrain from competing in the SEA Games. I insisted and till the day of competition, I focused on my physiotherapy sessions to get myself back in shape. It was not until a week before the SEA Games that I could finally execute kicks and run normally.

During the semi-finals, I was competing against a Thai exponent. The Thais are one of the strongest in the region and I could feel the pressure building up within me, especially when I knew I had not fully recovered. I said to myself: “I have come this far, there is no turning back. I just have to give 100 per cent in this competition”.

I managed to overcome my opponents until the match against Indonesia, which was a close fight. Even though I lost, my coach commended my determination even though I was not in peak physical condition. His encouragement meant a lot to me.

How do you juggle your time between training for Silat and your work as a firefighter?

LCP Muhammad Syakir: Before my enlistment, I used to train five days a week, from Monday to Friday, twice per day. During my off-duty days in NS, I would hit the gym at my fire station to build my physical strength. As I have been practising Pencak Silat for 10 years, firefighting to me, is not physically demanding but a form of daily exercise to maintain my physical condition to compete in Pencak Silat.

What are your future plans?

LCP Muhammad Syakir: I have just gone for my surgery, and henceforth, will focus on my recovery. Once I have fully recovered, I aim to compete in next year’s SEA Games in Cambodia.

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In The Force

From NS to volunteerism: Continuing to serve our nation

Two of the Home Team volunteers have chosen to play a bigger role in the Home Team after completing their NS stints. Here’s why.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN)

Serving National Service (NS) under the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is a valuable opportunity for many, but would one consider serving outside of NS? Mr Muhammad Azim Bin Hamdan found his National Service (NS) stint with SPF to be so fulfilling, he signed up to be a Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) officer after completing his NS.

As a Full-time National Servicemen (NSF), Mr Azim served at SPF’s Protective Security Command (ProCom) as an In-Situ Reaction Team (IRT) officer. IRTs serve as quick reaction forces on the ground to neutralise armed threats. He worked closely with regular officers to patrol sensitive locations and interacted with members of the public daily.

Mr Azim says, “During NS, I learned that knowing ‘why’ is essential before performing any duties. Working alongside dedicated regulars made me realise that Police officers are humans too, with families to return home to. They shared that they have a strong sense of duty to protect their loved ones and society.”

SERVING WHILE STUDYING

Mr Muhammad Azim Bin Hamdan was a ProCom officer during his PNSF days.

After his Operationally Ready Date (ORD), Mr Azim joined as a VSC officer so he could continue contributing to the nation’s security while studying. Now an undergraduate at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), the 25-year-old is deployed as a Ground Response Force (GRF) officer. He finds his stint with the VSC challenging but fulfilling and believes volunteering helped him develop his decision-making and communication skills.

“I constantly make an effort to remind myself of ‘why’ – to help keep my loved ones and others safe before carrying out my duties as a volunteer, alongside the regular officers,” notes Mr Azim. “This mindset has helped to motivate and carry me through challenging times over my course of volunteering.”

Mr Azim encourages fellow NSFs to consider volunteering with HTVN. He believes that the basic training, skills and knowledge that NSFs received in their respective fields are transferrable and add value to their volunteer schemes.

“Go for it! If you aspire to give back to society, having a full-time job and fighting crime on the side, volunteering with the VSC or any schemes under HTVN is the perfect opportunity for you,” says Mr Azim.

READY FOR ANY EMERGENCY

Mr Ou Chun Ju volunteers as a medic and firefighter for the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit.

Through serving NS as a medic for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) holding the rank of SGT1, Ou Chun Ju SGT3 (V), a 32-year-old front-end web developer had learnt to save lives and work under pressure.

Mr Ou had multiple opportunities to assist ambulance crews and save patients from potentially dangerous situations during NS. This piqued his interest in emergency medical services and inspired him to sign up with the HTVN where he volunteers with the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) to further develop his skills after his NS stint.

“During NS, my team and I had attended a cardiac arrest case and succeeded in saving the patient’s life,” said Mr Ou. “The patient’s family members were happy and grateful to us which made me realise how important and valuable my job and knowledge is.”

In addition to life-saving skills, which includes cardiac life support and trauma management, the 32-year-old also picked up valuable life-skills such as situation management and leadership during NS.

While volunteering as a medic on standby at SCDF’s Singapore-Global-Firefighters and Paramedics Challenge (SGFPC), Mr Ou was able to apply his skills when he was put in-charge of a first-aid station.

“I used my leadership and situation managements skills to arrange my manpower needs in the event of an influx of cases at one go,” said Mr Ou. “When I attended to the patients, I applied my trauma management skills as part of the competition.”

As a medic and firefighter volunteer for the CDAU, Mr Ou encourages new paramedic volunteers to seek help from regular staff when in doubt and to maintain a positive attitude towards learning as medical knowledge is constantly evolving.

“Any decision we make will affect the patient’s life. Not everyone gets the chance to really put their hand up and save people,” he said.

In 2020, Mr Ou also became a CDAU firefighter to gain exposure to a different field and to challenge himself. To Mr Ou, being a firefighter meant that he could step forward and save casualties head-on, in dangerous and high-pressure circumstances with high stakes.

“When there is a fire or road accident, firefighters are the ones who put in their lives, patience and skills to save the casualties,” explained Mr Ou. “As medics, we usually wait for the patient to be rescued before taking over.”

“I wanted to experience enduring high temperatures to fight fires while carrying heavy equipment to save my casualties. To me, this is a very precious opportunity as not everyone has the chance and motivation to do this,” he added.
 

Find out more on how you can make a difference in your community. Volunteer with Home Team Volunteer Network today!

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Featured In The Force

Keeping Singapore drug-free

Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB)’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign recognises the devastating impact of drugs on abusers and their loved ones, and aims to garner public support for a drug-free lifestyle. We ask two CNB staff and one Singapore Civil Defence Force NSF why staying drug-free is important to them.

TEXT: MELODY TAN

PHOTOS: HOMETEAMNS

While the number of drug abusers arrested in Singapore declined by 11 per cent last year, there is a worrying trend: Some 34 per cent of the 2,724 arrested were new drug abusers – and 60 per cent of these new abusers were under 30 years of age.

Given the high proportion of younger abusers, it is important to raise awareness of the harmful effects of drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin and cannabis, which are most commonly abused in Singapore. These drugs not only harm the health and well-being of the abusers, but they also damage the lives of their families, friends and the community at large.

This year’s Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) aims to build continued support for a drug-free Singapore, with a DrugFreeSG Light-Up on Sunday, 26 June between 7.30pm to 12 midnight.

Held since 2018, the light-up will see Singapore’s most iconic buildings lit up in the green and white, colours of the anti-drug ribbon, to symbolise Singapore’s support for the drug-free cause and commemorate the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – known as ‘World Drug Day’ – which falls on 26 June. This year, the light-up is paired with the DrugFreeSG Pop-Up at Suntec City Tower 3 East Atrium, between 26 June and 3 July.

Said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and President of HomeTeamNS, in a video produced by CNB in support of the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign: “26 June marks the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs cause to society and serves as a reminder for all of us not to take our relatively drug-free environment here in Singapore for granted.”

AVOIDING THE TRAP OF DRUGS

Mr Samuel Ang Wei Jie is an administrative officer in the Department Technology Office in CNB. He provides an essential service to the functioning of the organisation by handling the on and off-boarding of CNB officers’ accounts.

Having worked as a community engagement officer in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) during his full-time National Service (NS) stint, Mr Ang was eager to join CNB due to the familiarity of its structure.

In addition, CNB’s work resonates with him as he is adamant about staying drug-free. “Since I was young, schools have been emphasising the need to stay drug-free,” says Samuel. “I keep myself away from drugs because I know the heavy consequences that come with them.”

In his view, having the right people around you are just as important as one’s personal resolve, when it comes to steering clear of drugs. “I think many people do drugs when they’re seeking attention or are being influenced by a bad social circle. I would tell them: ‘Don’t fall for the trap – your life is your own, not anyone else’s.”

EARLY PREVENTION FIGHTS ADDICTION

As an NSF Provost in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), SGT1 Darren Goh helps to enforce discipline and assists in running the rehabilitation and regime programmes in the detention barracks.

Having been recognised as an outstanding Provost and an exemplary role model, SGT1 Darren lives out his high professional standards  through his personal life as he takes a resolute stand against drugs.

“Drug abuse causes the abuser to become overwhelmed daily by the temptation of drugs, to the point where he or she is unable to carry out routine tasks such as working or studying. The abuser will be less likely to care or consider the feelings of others. That is why drug abuse can ruin the lives of a lot of people.”

SGT1 Darren believes that drug prevention is the way to go, so that people do not become addicted in the first place. “It is important that people – especially those who are young – stay away from drugs, including things like cough syrup which can be easily purchased. One quote I would like to share with them is this: ‘Work hard to soar high, don’t do drugs to get by.’”

WORKING TO SUPPORT THE DRUG-FREE CAUSE

CNB Community Partnership intern, Dion Lee, hopes to one day join the organisation as a regular officer. The former Ground Response Force NSF officer with the SPF responded to several drug-related incidents that made an impact on him and fuelled his determination to stay drug-free.

Recalling an incident where a man was found lying on the ground, Mr Lee says that he and his partner soon discovered that the man had no pulse and was not breathing.

“It was determined later by a pathologist that the person had passed on due to a drug overdose,” he recounts. “When I conducted a search on him, I found a picture of him and his mother. My heart sank and I thought to myself, how would his mother feel if we were to break the news to her? That is when I realised that drugs do not just affect the abusers, but those around them as well.”

When studying at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, Mr Lee volunteered as an A3 (Anti-Drug Abuse Advocacy) advocate, disseminating anti-drug messages within his circle of friends. “I tapped on what I learnt in school and my previous internships to help create awareness of the drug-free cause and make a positive impact in the community. I believe for every person we reached out to, another person is impacted – and he or she can help in promulgating anti-drug messages too.”

Mr Lee, who is currently tasked with helping to plan the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign, says that the social evil of drugs is something that Singaporeans should not disregard. “I believe everyone has a part to play in keeping Singapore drug-free, and it all starts with me and you!” 

Visit the CNB website to learn more about the DrugFreeSG Light-Up on 26 June, and the Anti-Drug Abuse Campaign.

As part of this year’s Drug Free SG campaign, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) is collaborating with HomeTeamNS to educate and encourage members to stay clear of drugs.

Members and visitors at all HomeTeamNS Clubhouses are invited to fold green and white Anti-Drug Ribbons to show support for a drug-free Singapore. The activities take place over the following dates:

  • 19 June to 2 July 2022: HomeTeamNS-JOM Balestier
  • 1 to 30 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Bukit Batok
  • 12 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Khatib
  • 6 to 26 June 2022: HomeTeamNS Tampines

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Featured In The Force

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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Featured In The Force

What leadership means to him

SCDF MAJOR (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi on the three leadership values that matter to him as a commander.

TEXT: SCDF / PHOTOS: SCDF

MAJ (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi, 39, enlisted for National Service in 2005 and was posted to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). He completed a 9-month Basic Officers’ Course (BOC) and was posted to the Special Rescue Battalion (SRB) as a Platoon Commander. “As I matured from being a recruit to a commander, the camaraderie, knowledge and experiences gained were invaluable, and it shaped who I am today,” he reflected.

Currently a Deputy Commander of 21 Rescue Unit, MAJ (NS) Rozaiman was also appointed a Company Commander of the Operations Support Company (OSC) in 2019. He also serves as a HomeTeamNS Volunteer in the Audit Committee and was formerly in the Development Committee (North) in 2017.

“As a leader, I strongly believe in achieving three things — empowerment, trust and effective communication.”

MAJ (NS) Rozaiman Rosidi

Under his leadership, his OSC achieved the highest score in logistics management among the RBN units for three consecutive years. MAJ (NS) Rozaiman is delighted with the unit’s achievements and he added that being able to grow professionally together with his team has made him proud to serve as an NSman.

LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

“As a leader, I strongly believe in achieving three things — empowerment, trust and effective communication,” said MAJ (NS) Rozaiman. Here are his thoughts on these three key elements of leadership.

Empowerment
“I believe that by empowering my men with tasks big or small, they will in turn take ownership of their work and responsibilities. The art of empowerment also requires you to recognise their achievements by complimenting them. Conversely, for any of their shortfalls, it would be a lesson for all to learn from and to be resolved so we can emerge stronger from it.”

Trust
“I trust my team. At the same time, I strive to earn my team’s trust. Therefore, I make it a point to get to know every one of them and give them the opportunity to get to know me. I believe that when they trust me, they are better able to appreciate my thoughts and decisions. When faced with challenges, they know that they are not alone for I am right beside them, guiding them through thick and thin.”

Effective communication
“I tend to emphasise open communication such as giving and receiving feedback when working with my team. I seize opportunities to solicit their feedback on how we can improve. I make it a point to explain the larger objectives to my team, as well as the constraints and expected challenges. This helps them better appreciate their respective roles and what lies ahead to get things done effectively. This is how I practise effective communication.”

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Ordinary People, Extraordinary Mission: The Home Team Volunteer Network

Want to volunteer with the Home Team but don’t know which scheme suits you? Here’s how you can find out the best way you can give back.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

If you feel that it’s time to pay it forward, volunteering with the Home Team is one way to make a difference. Each Home Team Agency plays a unique role and several volunteer schemes are available.

From fighting crime and fires to educating the public and befriending offenders and ex-offenders, there are many ways you can help. The Home Team Volunteer Network (HTVN) welcomes passionate, dedicated individuals who want to do their part.

HELPING YOU TO HELP US

If you are unsure which volunteer scheme to sign up for, head to the HTVN website and enter your details on the page. We will analyse your responses and recommend suitable schemes based on your stated demographics, skills and interests, as well as the Home Team Agency you wish to contribute to.

There are five Home Team Agencies to choose from:

  • Singapore Police Force
  • Singapore Civil Defence Force
  • Singapore Prison Service
  • Central Narcotics Bureau
  • Yellow Ribbon Singapore

and skills and interests which include (but are not limited to):

  • Befriending
  • Firefighting
  • Lifesaving, and many more!

Visit HTVN’s website now to find out which volunteer scheme suits you best and be part of the HTVN family!

Visit mha.gov.sg/volunteers and volunteer.gov.sg/mha for more information about their volunteer schemes or connect with the Home Team Volunteer Network on InstagramFacebook or TikTok.

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In The Force

A man in blue with a green agenda

SC2 Sean Sy Yeo encourages everyone to do their part for sustainability and environmental causes.

TEXT: SPF / PHOTO: SPF

Sustainability is a global concern that impacts our collective future. As PUB World Water Day and Earth Hour took place in March, the Singapore Police Force’s SC2 Sean Sy Yeo did his part to contribute to the environmental cause.

Sean currently serves as a Community Engagement officer with the Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre. While his work is demanding, he still finds the time to take care of his vegetable garden and collect rainwater to reuse it for watering plants and washing clothes.  

A MINDSET CULTIVATED FROM AN EARLY AGE

As a child, Sean preferred visiting museums and the zoo – over playing games – so he could learn more about animals. These institutions often feature exhibits about the threats many creatures face, such as poaching and environmental changes that have led to the extinction of several species.

He also learnt that human actions — both direct and indirect — impact other aspects of the ecosystem. For example, deforestation destroys animal habitats (directly) and global warming caused by the release of greenhouse gases leads to environmental changes such as rising sea levels (indirectly). This inspired him to try to prevent the extinction of more species by doing his part to care of the environment.

Sean believes that it takes many generations to reverse the damage inflicted on our planet. His solution to the growing problem? That we educate our young about environmental protection so that they can grow up to become responsible global citizens.

CONTINUING THE FIGHT FOR A GOOD CAUSE

He fondly recalls learning about environmental issues during regular school assembly talks and various learning journeys when he was in primary school. Besides visiting the zoo, he also went to Bishan Park to pick up litter and learn more about the environment through activities hosted by the park (Bishan Park has been adopted by his school, Rosyth School).

When he was a student at St Joseph’s Institution during his secondary school years, Sean was elected by his class to be a Green Ambassador due to his keen interest in sustainability.
He used this position effectively and responsibly to encourage his schoolmates to adopt sustainable practices, such as recycling and reducing wastage of resources like electricity, paper and water.

Sean believes that everyone can and should do their part to help the environment, regardless of how small the act seems. Something as basic as sorting our rubbish and properly disposing in recycling bins can lead to the right step towards sustainability.

Find out how DAC (NS) Mulyadi Ahmad is doing his part for the environment and how organisations like HomeTeamNS are adopting green practices.

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Empowered to save lives

With myResponder, SCDF ORNSmen such as Sergeant1 (V) William Lim Wei Loon are always prepared for emergencies.

TEXT AND PHOTO: SCDF

Community First Responders (CFRs) have always played a pivotal role in times of need. Smart solutions like the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)’s myResponder mobile application (app) significantly enhance their response to emergencies. Launched in 2019, more than 100,000 CFRs have registered with the app. These responders include members of the public, as well as in-house personnel such as the SCDF Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) men and volunteers from the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU).

READY TO RESPOND

“I would have the myResponder app turned on, even at work, so that I could respond to any emergency happening nearby,” shared SGT1 (V) William Lim Wei Loon, an Operationally Ready National Service (ORNS) Fire and Rescue Specialist with 1st SCDF Division, who works as a retail supervisor at NTUC FairPrice.

SGT1 (V) Lim completed his full-time National Service (NSF) in 2008 and joined the CDAU as a volunteer firefighter in 2011. “Since my NSF days, I have been trained to be very alert to my surrounding environment, and my first instinct is to always check for any emergency nearby,” he added.

THINKING ON HIS FEET

It was through the myResponder app that SGT1 (V) Lim was alerted to a rubbish bin fire at a void deck in Bukit Batok at about 3am one morning. When he arrived at the location there was neither a fire hose nor an extinguisher nearby.

After surveying the area, he spotted a funeral wake a block away and rushed over to request for assistance to put out the fire. “Whenever I respond to a fire incident, I have to be creative enough to find an effective solution to a problem in the fastest way possible,” said SGT1 (V) Lim. “The people there were very kind and they helped me to extinguish the fire using pails of water from the temporary toilets located outside the funeral hall.”

Besides responding to the myResponder app’s alerts, SGT1 (V) Lim also extinguished a rubbish bin fire near his home two years ago. He was alerted to the blaze after hearing an explosion in his neighbourhood. He rushed to the location but the flames had already spread to a minivan parked nearby.

“As I did not want any passers-by to be harmed, I put out the fire with two fire extinguishers that were taken from the nearby coffeeshop before the firefighters arrived. At the same time, I had to ensure that no one was injured,” said SGT1 (V) Lim.

He added: “As a CFR, I am touched whenever a member of the public thanked me for helping him or her through a crisis. That keeps me going as a volunteer with the SCDF!”

Find out more about how you can make a difference in your community with the CDAU and how other MHA volunteers are helping to keep their neighbourhoods safe.

Visit mha.gov.sg/volunteers and volunteer.gov.sg/mha for more information about their volunteer schemes or connect with the Home Team Volunteer Network on InstagramFacebook or TikTok.

Categories
In The Force

Putting others first

Meet Mr Choo Hock Hua, an active 75-year-old who enjoys spreading the word about crime prevention and caring for fellow seniors.

TEXT AND PHOTOS: MHA

“Singapore is a safe country, but low crime doesn’t mean no crime”, says Mr Choo Hock Hua, 75, a Crime Prevention Ambassador (CPA) who has been volunteering with the National Crime Prevention Council for 18 years.  When asked what his motivation as a volunteer was, Mr Choo said he finds meaning in serving the community. “I see the role and function of the National Crime Prevention Council as a good cause to further enhance the safety and security of Singapore. Joining the CPA programme allows me to help spread the crime prevention message to Singaporeans,” he says.

As a CPA volunteer, Mr Choo helps to conduct crime prevention talks and organise crime prevention exhibitions to educate the community, especially senior citizens. He shares updates about criminal tactics and advises them on simple crime prevention measures to safeguard themselves. “For example, when they receive a suspicious phone call (that they) believe to be a scam, they should practice the: ‘Don’t Panic, Don’t Believe, Don’t Give,’ mantra,” he explains. Mr Choo and his team works closely with Central Police Station officers to conduct chit chat sessions with the elderlies, mostly in dialects. He would share crime prevention messages and distribute crime prevention brochures. The brochures highlight various crimes and their prevention such as online purchase scam, investment scam, impersonation scams and love scam. “I believe that by constantly chit chatting with the elderly, they would remember simple crime prevention message so as to protect themselves from being a victim of crime. In addition to volunteering as a CPA, Mr Choo also serves as a grassroots leader at the Chin Swee Residents’ Committee (RC), a role he has taken in for the past 20 years. He is thus very passionate about caring for the elderly.

TO THE RESCUE

Mr Choo giving a gift pack to an elderly resident after the flu injection exercise in December 2021.

CPAs are sometimes involved in non-crime prevention activities as well. During a flu vaccination exercise in December 2021, many senior residents had difficulty getting their shots due to mobility issues. Mr Choo and a team of CPAs, who are also grassroots leaders, visited their homes to assist with the flu shots, which were administered by certified nurses.

They also presented each senior with a gift bag of daily necessities prepared by the RC, which reduce the need for them to venture outside their homes after their injection. “Seeing the residents smile and nodding their heads in acknowledging our efforts made me feel proud and keeps me motivated to serve the community. I will continue to serve the elderly in Chin Swee as long as my assistance is required,” says Mr Choo.

ENCOURAGING VOLUNTEERISM

Mr Choo tells Frontline that he intends to continue volunteering with CPA, and strongly encourages others to use their time for a meaningful cause. “Crime Prevention is everybody’s responsibility. It’s like brushing your teeth and washing your face; we need to do them daily,” says Mr Choo.

“Likewise, every day we must look out for one another in our family and neighbourhood. We should be wary of dubious get-rich-quick schemes and online that are too good to be true. This will help protect us and our family from becoming victims of crime.”

Mr Choo also highlights the importance of work-life balance when volunteering. “It is essential to plan ahead and have a contingency plan,” he says. “I am lucky to have a supportive wife and a team of helpful and cooperative grassroots leaders to help me whenever I am involved in CPA activities.”

GET INVOLVED

The Crime Prevention Ambassador (CPA) volunteer was a scheme launched in 2002 by the Crime Prevention Council (CPC). The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a non-profit organisation committed to promoting public awareness of and concern about crime and to propagate the concept of self-help in crime prevention.

The Council comprises representatives from the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as from the public sector and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). CPAs help to share and promote crime prevention messages to your peers and also the wider community.

Come and join Mr Choo as a CPA or as a Home Team Volunteer for a good cause today!

Find out more on how you can make a difference in your community and how other MHA volunteers are helping to keep their neighbourhoods safe.