Speech by Senior Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at the Police Community Roadshow 2023 and Launch of Coffee with a Cop, at One Punggol on 17 June 2023.
Our Commissioner of Police, Commissioner Hoong Wee Teck,
Commander of Ang Mo Kio Division, Assistant Commissioner Xie Xingmao,
Police officers and volunteers,
Grassroots leaders and residents of Pasir Ris-Punggol,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to all of you.
This is the Singapore Police Force’s first community roadshow since the start of the pandemic. We are very glad that it is here at One Punggol, before it moves to Toa Payoh HDB Hub next weekend.
Safety and security are built on trust between Police and community
Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. The Gallup Global Law and Order Report has had Singapore in the number one position for some years now, with 95% of those who responded to the survey reporting that they feel safe walking alone at night in Singapore. This is quite an achievement for a busy, international city.
These outcomes would not have been possible without the high level of public trust between the Police and the community that the Police force serves. In the SPF’s 2021 Public Perception Survey, 96% of those who responded said they trusted the SPF and our Police officers. This trust is why members of the community are willing to work with the Police to help keep Singapore, and our communities, like Punggol, safe and secure. In the same survey, 98% of respondents said that they would be willing to help provide information to the Police.
Many have gone above and beyond this, helping in even more direct ways. Let me share two examples from the 46 Public Spiritedness Awards and 146 Community Partnership Awards that the SPF presented to members of the community last year.
Last March, you will remember that there was a man walking around swinging a sword. Six members of the public restrained the man, preventing him from causing more harm to others and to himself. They bravely took on personal risk, to intervene for the safety of all of us, until the Police arrived to take charge of the situation.
Others in the community devote their time and effort to raising awareness about crime, so that we can keep ourselves safe. Under Project PRAISE, senior volunteers from RSVP – an organisation that engages seniors in purpose-driven volunteerism – engaged 2,500 senior citizens to increase scam awareness through 30 outreach sessions in 2022. Many of our seniors are becoming victims to scams, and one important way to prevent yourself from being scammed is to be more aware of what scammers do so that we can protect ourselves.
Our residents in Pasir Ris-Punggol are also doing their part, with many volunteering their time and skills to keep our community safe. Mr and Mrs Dharmender Rai both volunteer as Citizens on Patrol and often go on community patrols together. Mr Dharmender is also a Community Engagement Response Team, or CERT, member and part of the Punggol Shore Community Emergency and Engagement Committee. What does that mean? It means they volunteer their time to patrol your neighbourhood, and will respond to emergencies in your community. Mr Edmund Neo Boon An, a retired police officer, continues to use his skills as a Citizens on Patrol group leader in Punggol. He is also a Crime Prevention Ambassador. I’m very happy that Mr and Mrs Dharmender, and Mr Neo are here with us. Thank you to all our many volunteers for raising awareness, keeping us safe and responding when there is an emergency.
Launch of ‘Coffee with a Cop’
Maintaining the strong relationship between the Police and the community requires continuous effort. This roadshow is part of the Police’s efforts to engage the community. Today, I am pleased to launch a new community engagement initiative: ‘Coffee with a Cop’.
As the name suggests, police officers from the Neighbourhood Police Centres will engage residents over a cup of coffee or tea. During the engagements, officers will share the latest crime trends and crime prevention advice. Residents who would like to play a part in keeping their neighbourhood safe can also find out more about the Police’s volunteer schemes.
‘Coffee with a Cop’ started off as a three-month trial at three Neighbourhood Police Centres last year. During the trial, the Police engaged more than 230 residents, ranging from students to working adults and senior citizens. The Police received positive feedback from the participants. Residents said they got to know the officers in their neighbourhood better and many residents appreciated the opportunity to interact with them in a casual setting.
Starting today, ‘Coffee with a Cop’ sessions will be held monthly, island-wide, in your neighbourhoods. You can follow the social media accounts of your Neighbourhood Police Centres, on Facebook and Instagram, to get details of upcoming sessions.
We have a ‘Coffee with a Cop’ booth here at today’s roadshow. I encourage you to drop by and say hello to our police officers, to get to know them and the work they do.
Highlights of the Police Community Roadshow 2023
Finally, let me draw your attention to the exciting activities and exhibitions that the Police has put together for this weekend’s Roadshow.
One of the highlights is an experience in the metaverse – the ‘MATA-verse’ Roblox game. Participants can play mini-games that mimic aspects of policing, such as conducting patrols, to get a feel of what police officers do on a daily basis to keep us safe.
There are “escape rooms” that let you experience conducting a police investigation, an obstacle course and rides that are kid-friendly, performances by the Police Band and the Police K-9 unit, and a demonstration by our Special Operations Command troopers.
The Police has also prepared welcome gifts that come in different shades of blue, to celebrate our officers’ pride in wearing their blue uniform.
Let me end by expressing my appreciation to all our Police regulars, national servicemen, and volunteers for working hard to keep us safe. And let me say a big thank you for your dedication in serving the nation. Many thanks also to our community partners, volunteers, stakeholders and to all our residents for working together with the Police to make our community a more safe and secure place for all of us.
I wish all of you an enjoyable day at the Police Roadshow. Thank you very much.
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