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Monday, May 13, 2013

Singapore Police Force (Part 1)


How many of you have ever wondered what the job of a Police Officer is like?

I'm sure all of you have shared the same awe as I did ever since I was young, and spotted these smart looking men and women in their dark blue uniforms, looking sharp and scary with their armed weapons and handcuffs! They've always filled me with a sense of respect and awe, and I know that our nation is kept safe and secure because of them!




A few of us bloggers, Beatrice, Rachell and myself were extremely extremely privileged to have first-hand experience during a customized visit to the Singapore Police Force!

The customised visit was tailored to reflect the various vocations of a Police Officer, and we had the opportunity to understand the core tenets of policing while getting a realistic picture of policing work.

We arrived at Police Training Command (also known as TRACOM) bright and early for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and this is also where Police Officer Trainees undergo their basic residential training at the Home Team Academy!

Rachell, Bea and myself. All excited for the day ahead!

We were told to come attired in long pants and track shoes.. You'll find out what kind of activities were planned for us real soon!


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Introduction to Training in Singapore Police Force


We were given a presentation on the Singapore Police Force and how police officers are trained! Training is of course very important for every police officer, in order to develop competent officers who can play a part in keeping our country safe and secure!


Miniature model of the Home Team Academy grounds, you can see it's huge!



The staff kindly arranged buggies for us as we had to cover the huge compound in a short period of time, hehehe. Cool!

En route to our first programme of the day, while the police officer driving us also gave us a brief tour of the grounds!



We started off with a demonstration of the Police Standard Obstacle Course, also known as the PSOC for short! This is an obstacle course that simulates real life obstacles that police officers may be required to overcome while discharging their duties, such as fences, large pipes, drains, road dividers and the likes!

In order for us to get a feel of what being in uniform feels like, we were all given a ops utility belt to wear.


Many of the obstacles look deceptively easy, but you really require some skill to navigate through them successfully!

The officer-in-charge explaining to us about every single obstacle and how they apply to real life scenarios and landscapes!

We were allowed to try some of the lower-risk obstacles.. Like the Sandbags which is supposed to simulated going through a crowded area whilst having to protect your armed ops utility belt!

Spot those pink shoes (i.e me) hahahaha

Another obstacle we tried that simulated a HDB void deck with pillars and ledges. I look like a superhero in action! :D (Ok... not really. Haha)

Rachell was really game for it and gave the steep slope a try! It is definitely steeper than it looks.. with a 2.5m drop at the end of it!

The PSOC is one of the segments that a trainee has got to pass within a certain time limit (depending on whether you're male or female) in order to become a full-fledged police officer! It may look challenging, but with the help of the experienced Trainers at Home Team Academy, it's definitely achievable!



The next part of our programme was really an eye-opener: the Police Defence Tactics Training! Of course, as a police officer, you sometimes may come across dangerous criminals and to be able to protect yourself and other civilians, you have to be trained in self-defence tactics and be able to take down the opponent!

Every police officer is actually issued weapons to be used under necessary circumstances: from the T-baton, to the Taser (stun gun), a gun and of course, handcuffs!

Us trying to wield the T-baton. Alot of practice is required to be able to handle this weapon confidently! 

(Don't we look all so official here with our Police Force polo tee and the ops utility belt? Heheh.)

Doing some simple stretching before we get started on learning some simple self-defence tactics..

The officer-in-charge demonstrating to us on how to handcuff the criminal.

Verbal command is actually very important to be in control of the situation, and this is something that I've learnt during this short stint at TRACOM! You need to be able to take charge of the situation by giving commands to the criminal so that you will be able to exert your authority and be in control!

It took me many tries to get the hang of using the handcuff! 

Hands-on attempt at handcuffing.

Posing with the T-batons and trying to look cool, but I guess you can tell we are not too familiar with it at all :P

And something very useful we learnt too, self-defence tactics on how to get yourself out of a rear necklock and either apprehend the opponent, or be able to run away :P

We got to try out the move on our "opponents" too!

It is honestly quite scary to be "attacked" from the back, even when I was already expecting it. One really needs to be extremely quick to react and be able to remain calm even in the face of danger!

You need to be able to get yourself out from the rear necklock, and maneuver yourself so that you can have breathing space, elbow the attacker in the side, push him away, then whip out your T-baton (for a police officer that is) or give yourself enough space to run away :P

Being taught on how to handle the T-baton!

We then watched a demonstration by four very capable officers on unarmed tactics, and how to handle opponents in different situations. Very impressive indeed!

Seeing how well-trained these police officers are really makes me feel even safer on our sunny island! ^.^



We were all very much looking forward to the next programme: Basic Combat Shooting Course and Dry Practice

Pre-briefing before we get down to the shooting!

The various parts of a revolver as well as other equipments being explained to us.

We then went into the range control room, where we learnt about the mechanics of the shooting range and how to practice safe shooting inside the range!
Finally, we got to enter the shooting range! Being taught how to handle the revolver and fire correctly at the target! 

Ear muffs and safety glasses on.. we were doing only dry shooting (without any ammunition) but went through all the standard procedures to get a feel of how it really felt like!

Shooting time!

We had to follow instructions and fire accordingly in different configurations, i.e. shooting 5 shots in 12 seconds. There was a laser point to help us sight the target, and it was actually very very fun and I was totally engrossed in firing my shots as accurately as possible!

We then tried simulation shooting next, which was done with a huge computer screen, and mock weapons that used air pressure to simulate the feel of real arms!


With the computer simulation, there are real life scenarios that allow you to respond accordingly and your shots and reactions are all recorded down (there's a video camera as well!) for evaluation during the learning process!


It was really enjoyable and interesting to be able to handle the weapons and learn how to shoot!



Back on the buggy which brought us to the Training Village, where trainees are taught via scenario-based training to learn how to manage and handle potential situations that may happen while on duty as a police officer!

I was amazed to see a complex that was done up to look like a shopping mall, complete with restaurants, a bank, shops and other facilities! :O Nearly thought that the mama shop was real, but later found out that it is only a mock-up for the trainees to have scenario-based training at!

There was a class of trainees that happened to be having lessons at the moment, so we sat in on the lesson and watched!

A case of shop theft was simulated with two trainees acting as the offenders, and two other trainees having to apprehend them with the correct procedures and manner!


After the mock scenario, the trainer would then tell the trainees on what was done well, and what needed to be corrected. In this manner, they would be able to have an in-depth understanding and hands-on learning.



As all new officer trainees are required to attend a residential training at TRACOM, we got a glimpse of the living grounds/dormitory facilities of the trainees! :)

Inspection is carried out on a regular basis, to ensure that everything is in order and nothing amiss.

Super spick and span dorm! There are also other facilities, such as the recreational centre, and a gym for the trainees to be able to enrich themselves mentally and physically.


Of course, having to live at TRACOM during the residential training, I'm sure you'd think that the meals are very important! We stopped by the Mess Hall for lunch, our last stop at TRACOM! I was really looking forward to lunch, after the long morning of non-stop activities!

Very high levels of hygiene are practiced so yes, washing our hands thoroughly before our meal!

Meals are all conducted in a very organized fashion, it's like a canteen where you queue up with your food tray for food. 

Going through the food queue to get our portions dished out to us!

Meal times are staggered for different squads, so meals are very orderly and efficient!

The portion is HUGE! Rice, veggies, meat and soup, all covered :D And it was pretty delicious too!!!

Tucking into lunch! I was so famished, and it tasted really good to me! I asked one of the officers, what if one of the trainees had a very big appetite and needed more food, he said that the trainee could always request for more, but more often than not, there are trainees who ask for less food instead because the portion is so generous. HAHAHA. After I took a look at my lunch, I understood why! :P


A final group shot with Mdm Lilian, who took care of us for the entire morning, patiently answering all our queries and guiding us through all the different activities we went through! Mdm Lilian has been in the Force for 18 years, and she is such an inspiring woman!

During the course of chatting with Mdm Lilian over lunch, we learnt that she has had a very illustrious career in the Singapore Police Force, and just came back from a posting to Interpol in France for three years! Mdm Lilian actually studied Marketing in uni, and worked in Product Management for a very short time, before she realized that it wasn't the career for her, and joined the police force instead! And since then, she's been serving in the police force for a good 18 years! Indeed awe-inspiring and I really respect her very much for being so dedicated and committed to the Force.

Besides fresh graduates, the Singapore Police Force is also constantly on a look-out to recruit outstanding mid-career candidates are able to share their wealth of experiences and knowledge, and to provide a different perspective to the job issues and challenges! We heard from one of the police officers that a lady who acted in Crime Watch was so inspired after speaking to actual officers during the filming, that she signed up and joined the Force as a Police Officer eventually!


The next part of our day was spent at the Central Police Division, "A" Division! This is at Cantonment Complex near Outram Park MRT, I'm sure many of you have seen this huge building before!

Oh yes, we finally had our ops utility belts removed when we left TRACOM at Home Team Academy and suddenly felt very much lighter without the extra weight. Haha.

We had a presentation on "A" Division, which is the largest land division that takes care of areas such as Chinatown, Bukit Merah, and CBD etc! We would be learning more about the type of general policing work that the Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPCOS) and Community Policing officers (CPOs) carry out on a daily basis.

After the introduction and briefing, we went on a tour of the Divisional Operations Room, as well as the Bukit Merah East NPC Report Room. No pictures of those areas because they are highly restricted and confidential!



We then moved on to the very last activity for the day: attachment to the Community Policing Unit (CPU) and FRC patrol team!

Crime scene equipment! This is really cool, like what you see on TV! 

Equipment used to detect finger prints at crime scenes.

Gas mask and other safety gear!

Did you know that there are police officers on patrol, 24 hours, in every part of Singapore? Whenever I  saw a police car on the roads, I used to think that the police car was just travelling from one place to another, but in fact, there are police officers driving around our roads in 12-hour shifts every single day! Don't worry, each officer take turns to patrol, so the officers gets to enjoy 2 off days after 2 days of 12-hour shifts!

We had the opportunity to sit in one of these police vehicles and experienced what it felt like to be on the look-out while patrolling the streets! Nothing happened on our shift though :P But that's partially what the purpose of the patrolling is for, to increase visibility of the police force so as to serve as a deterrence to any potential crimes/offences!
We also joined the CPU in their daily patrol of the neighborhood, this includes going door-to-door to speak to the residents in order to foster better relations with them, and to understand if there are any concerns faced by the residents in the neighborhood! The response from the residents were generally very positive, and it was really heartwarming to see how friendly the residents were to the CPU!

As you can see, the CPOs have a different attire from the regular blue-attired police officer, and actually wear polo tees and berms! Sometimes, the CPOs ride bicycles around the estate, and at other times, they go on foot patrol. The more casual-looking uniform helps to facilitate interaction with the residents, and is also much more comfortable for the police officers on patrol, especially when they're riding on bicycles! :P All Police Officers are still fully armed though!

 I was super impressed with the police officer leading the CPU, because he was able to speak with all the residents with such ease and familiarity! Some of the older residents only understood Mandarin, but it was no issue for the officer because he immediately switched into Mandarin fluently! 

We started from the highest storey of the HDB flat and worked our way down via the staircase, this also allows the CPU to ensure that the stairwells are safe and free of any dangerous objects/persons.


At the end of our patrol! With the friendly officer, Station Inspector Jason who drove us around and was extremely helpful in explaining in detail to us the intricacies of policing work! 

Last group shot before we ended for the day! :D

***

After spending a day learning about the Singapore Police Force, touring the Home Team Academy, getting hands-on experience in training, and joining the teams in patrolling work, I can honestly say that it was really an experience of a life time, and my views of the Singapore Police Force have been altered completely! I can see the strong sense of camaraderie, dedication and passion each and every police officer has to the Force, and it is indeed very very inspiring to know that there is such an amazing force of men and women who are dedicated to keeping the nation safe and sound. I would be extremely proud to be part of such a dedicated team, and you could be one of them too!

As a Police Officer, you will be uniquely involved in maintaining law and order to keep your loved ones, family, friends neighbors, and every Singaporean safe. There is truly real job satisfaction in knowing that you're touching the lives of so many others, and I think it is an extremely admirable job to be proud of!

Psssst. I wasn't aware, but there are really so many perks to signing up as a Police Officer!

Here's just a few of them:

- Sign-on bonus of $10,000 for new officers with Full  GCE ‘A’ Level Certificates, International Baccalaureate (IB) / NUS High School Diplomas, 5 Local Polytechnic Diploma Qualifications, or NAFA / LaSalle Diplomas upon appointment to the Sergeant rank. There will be a bond of 2 years for the sign-on bonus, effective from the date of appointment.

- Retention bonus schemes with payouts ranging from $6000 to $10000 starting from your 3rd or 5th year of service

- Opportunities for continuous learning and progress (Home Award and other sponsorships)

- For the NS men, there is a Minimum Term of Engagement (MTE) scheme that allows preenlistees (males who have yet to serve NS) to join SPF as a regular officer and receive full pay and benefits, while serving NS with SPF.

If you're considering exploring a career with SPF,  and/or applying to become a Police Officer, do go to Careers@Gov (www.careers.gov.sg) where you can sign-up and get more information from! Do also check out SPF Recruitment's Facebook Page where you can post any career-related questions you may have, while getting regular updates regarding recruitment :)

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‘Like’ SPF Recruitment Facebook page to show your support and take part in the SPF Recruitment Facebook Contest!

All you need to do is the following:
2. ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ any of the original blog post links on your own Facebook Wall
3. Comment (i.e. “Liked & Shared!”) on the original blog post linkst after you have done the above

10 lucky winners will walk away with a pair of movie tickets each. Winners will be announced on SPF Recruitment Facebook page.

Contest ends on Thursday, 13 June 2013, 3pm!
(Participants have to 'Like' and 'Share' before the closing date/time to account for an entry.)




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© Yina Goes

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