From house visits to Zoom meetings: Keeping up with community policing, Community News & Top Stories

Judith Zeng

SINGAPORE – Inspector Lam Yew Keong is no stranger to policing in a pandemic.

He was deployed to Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre throughout the Sars outbreak in 2003 to avoid unauthorised personnel from coming into the market.

“My household was continually worried as I commonly arrived into make contact with with strangers or worked in an setting that might expose me to the virus, this kind of as hospitals,” mentioned the 44-calendar year-previous, who is married with two kids.

The knowledge has assisted him and his family cope with anxieties above Covid-19, making it possible for him to emphasis on new troubles to community policing, especially amid the hottest pandemic.

He was speaking to the media very last 7 days about alterations in neighborhood policing over the many years.

Insp Lam, who is deputy officer-in-cost of the local community policing device at the Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), claimed a single of the new challenges is educating the aged about on the web ripoffs, which have been on the rise.

The range of ripoffs noted past year strike a file higher, climbing 65.1 for every cent from 2019, as scammers took extra than $201 million from their victims.

The 15,756 described scenarios of frauds pushed the over-all crime price to its best because 2009, though physical crime fell substantially.

“I made use of to do community outreach at a newer estate with younger citizens. To have interaction them, we could place up facts on social media, but for the elderly, it really is harder to arrive at out to them,” Insp Lam mentioned.

Though he utilised to go doorway to door to converse to aged people about criminal offense trends in the region, he now works with eldercare centres to engage them on the net, on videoconferencing system Zoom.

“Numerous inhabitants who have not been victims of criminal offense are likely to think crime is not going to transpire to them. But it happens to everyone,” he reported.

The Queenstown NPC is the to start with these kinds of centre to be established up in Singapore, in 1997.

It offers a broader suite of companies than the neighbourhood police put up (NPP), which was released in 1983 to endorse community policing, based mostly on Japan’s koban program of law enforcement bins in each and every public housing estate.

There are now 35 NPCs and 62 NPPs in Singapore.

Modern local community policing technique was released in 2012, with each NPC getting a crime strike pressure and a community policing unit to increase its solutions.

Though the criminal offense strike power tackles localised crimes, the local community policing unit engages the group and conducts patrols.

Inspector Muhammad Rostam Togiman, 42, who is deputy officer-in-cost of the criminal offense strike power at Queenstown NPC, was also at final week’s session with the media.

He said possessing eyes and ears on the ground is critical to law enforcement do the job.

He recounted how he was capable to capture a man who was advertising contraband cigarettes in the Tanglin Halt estate in 2006 primarily based on a suggestion-off from a resident whom he had befriended throughout his patrols.

In another circumstance, a shoe theft, he been given facts about the suspect’s typical haunts from a cleaner and ambushed the suspect while dressed in simple dresses.

When law enforcement cameras are now greatly put in in general public residential estates and neighbourhood centres, and have assisted greatly in pinpointing suspects, the have to have for shut ties with the local community stays, said Insp Rostam.

The several years of efforts at participating the group have been spending off, he added.


Insp Rostam reported getting eyes and ears on the ground is crucial to law enforcement function. Picture: SPF

“Men and women utilised to be much more frightened and cautious of the law enforcement. Now, they are far more keen to work with us, and we get to out to the community a lot more to construct up that belief,” he said.

The pandemic, which has brought with it stress for some men and women, has also been an option to demonstrate care on both of those sides, he added. 

Insp Rostam mentioned that throughout his deployment at a government quarantine facility past calendar year, he and staff from the National Group Management Institute furnished publications and toys to children of family members getting quarantined, and surprised them with birthday offers to help make their stay much more comfortable.

And at a dormitory where Insp Rostam was on obligation, the community and food and beverage businesses gave food items to the police and stability staff members.

“It is not often we get to see this,” he claimed. “The neighborhood arrived with each other in a complicated time to relieve the duties of entrance-liners. It really demonstrates the rapport we’ve created in excess of the a long time.”

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