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Keeping a tight lid on crime

The Singapore Police Force has been striving for excellence over the past two decades to help keep the country safe.

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"The Business Excellence Framework is one of the means which we adopt to conduct an organisational health check," says Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck.

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SPF has rolled out the M.A.T.A.R 3.0, an autonomous patrol robot equipped with a tethered unmanned aerial vehicle to conduct autonomous patrols.

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Traffic Police officers in action.

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Training at the Home Team Tactical Centre's drive-in-range.

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SPF's Volunteer Special Constabulary (Community) officers.

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Community Policing Unit officers.

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An ERT (Emergency Response Team) at the CBD.

THE Singapore Police Force (SPF) has invested heavily in technology and talent over the years to help reach its goal of making the Republic the safest place in the world.

In 1999, the organisation attained the Singapore Quality Class (SQC) as a means to ensure it stayed on track in achieving this vision amid a changing landscape.

Since then, the Business Excellence Framework has become an integral part of the SPF's pursuit to keep Singapore's crime rate low. It won the Singapore Quality Award in 2002 and the Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation (SQA SC) in 2007. It was once again honoured with the SQA SC at this year's awards. It has also been certified to the People Developer and Innovation Class since 2003, and the Singapore Service Class since 2004.

"As a Force for the Nation, we are committed to make Singapore the safest place in the world. What is effective today is not good enough for tomorrow. We have to continue to learn, innovate and transform to future-proof ourselves. We are committed to better serve the people and the nation. The Business Excellence Framework is one of the means which we adopt to conduct an organisational health check," said Commissioner of Police Hoong Wee Teck.

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Among other benefits, the BE journey has helped the SPF seek out best practices around the world, improve its processes and adopt new ways of fighting crime. Deputy Commissioner of Police Jerry See said that using the framework has allowed the SPF to align its strategy and processes to achieve outstanding results.

"Business Excellence has always been part of our work processes because we are always thinking of innovative and practical ideas to make Singapore the safest place in the world. To stay relevant and achieve what we believe in, we have to constantly review and evaluate ourselves. We see SQA SC as an important and independent accolade for us to benchmark against other top organisations. It affirms the standard and robustness of our processes. It makes us take a hard look at ourselves and inspires us to continually improve this unique service for our nation," said Mr See.

SMART DEPLOYMENT OF TECHNOLOGY

The SPF has leveraged technology to complement and transform the way it conducts police work. For instance, police cameras have been installed across the island in phases to enhance its capabilities for crime detection.

Meanwhile, the Police Operations Command Centre incorporates technology and analytics for enhanced incident response, allowing frontline officers to make better-informed decisions.

"There were multiple initiatives rolled out over the years to improve our work processes. These innovative initiatives helped to optimise manpower through automation, and also enhanced security at Singapore's key installations," said the SPF's director of operations How Kwang Hwee.

The organisation is the first law enforcement agency in the region to trial unmanned technologies for more efficient maritime security operations. Similarly, it has rolled out the M.A.T.A.R 3.0, an autonomous patrol robot equipped with a tethered unmanned aerial vehicle to conduct autonomous patrols.

The SPF also introduced the Found Property Dropbox, which allows the automated handing-over of found items by members of public to the police. This makes it more convenient for the public as waiting time is reduced, and police officers can be freed up to be deployed to frontline duties.

FUTURE-PROOFING THE WORKFORCE

The SPF invests heavily in developing its talent as it strives for organisational excellence. To ensure officers' skills remain relevant, the SPF set up the Training & Capability Development Department to improve its training initiatives and integrate new technologies into training.

The SPF also set up state-of-the-art training facilities such as the Home Team Tactical Centre to simulate real-life incidents in an urbanised environment.

Meanwhile, the organisation's commitment to its officers' career development ensures it remains an employer of choice.

To this end, SPF rolled out a number of initiatives in 2016; including a unified rank structure for smoother career-advancement opportunities, and an expert career track to build deep expertise in specific areas of policing such as investigation, intelligence and special operations.

"The SPF has a culture of working together as a team to excel in our mission. Our officers serve at the frontline, to prevent, deter and detect crime," said the SPF's director, Organisation Excellence Office, Chua Chee Wai.

Beyond its own resources, the SPF also partners other stakeholders to fight crime through various platforms. For instance, members of the Citizens-On-Patrol volunteer scheme share crime prevention advice and patrol their neighbourhoods. Other community programmes include the Volunteer Special Constabulary (Community) scheme and Safety and Security Watch Group.

"Multiple initiatives have been rolled out to facilitate ground-up involvement of the community to fight crime and strengthen community response to the threat of terrorism. With strong commitment from our officers and support from the community, we have earned a high level of public trust," noted Mr Chua.

It also works with parents, schools, and other community partners to introduce various youth engagement programmes. This effort has contributed to a decrease in the number of youths arrested by 3.3 per cent in 2018, compared to 2017.

A GLOBAL LEADER IN POLICING

The SPF works closely with other police forces to address rising crime trends, and contributes to the building of expertise through sharing of best practices at international symposiums and workshops.

For instance, the SPF hosted the inaugural Police Specialist Conference in 2018, where law enforcement agencies from over 13 countries shared their experiences in counter-terrorism.

The SPF also had a representative elected into the Interpol Executive Committee Delegate for Asia in 2015, and another representative appointed into the Interpol Eurasian Working Group in 2017.

"While the focus continues to be on fighting crime in Singapore, the SPF also leads on the global stage. This has put Singapore in a leadership position to help shape international policing policies," Mr Chua pointed out.

Looking ahead, the SPF will continue to progress on the BE journey it started two decades ago.

Said Mr Hoong: "Our pursuit towards organisation excellence is a continuous journey. We shall continue to transform ourselves for future challenges, and remain steadfast in our core values. Above all, we will strive to do even better for our nation and our people, so as to make Singapore the safest and most secure home for all of us."