Tuesday 22 May 2012

Community Policing System (COPS) launched 20 May 2012

By Wayne Chan, Channel NewsAsia, 20 May 2012

The Singapore Police Force's new Community Policing System (COPS) was launched Sunday by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office S Iswaran.

COPS, which aims to improve the way Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPC) work with the community, comprises three initiatives.

Under the first initiative, each NPC will be re-organised to set up a new Crime Strike Force and an expanded Community Policing Unit.

The Crime Strike Force will allow police officers to be more familiar with local terrain and be more effective in fighting localised crime.

The Community Policing Unit in the NPC will bring police officers closer to the community through foot and bicycle patrols, and they will play a more active role in community safety and security programmes.

The Tampines Neighbourhood Police Centre will be one of the first of two NPCs to adopt the new model.

With the second initiative, the police will set up cameras at HDB blocks and multi-storey car parks to assist in crime investigations. With this initiative, by 2016, there will be more eyes when police cameras are installed at 10,000 HDB blocks and multi-storey car parks.

While using cameras to solve crimes is not new, Tampines NPC had four cases last year where images captured on camera helped in identifying crime suspects.

By the end of this month, Tampines will see 38 HDB blocks and two multi-storey car parks installed with police cameras as part of the pilot phase.

More blocks in Tampines will get cameras starting from the fourth quarter of this year, as part of the next tranche of 700 blocks islandwide.

In the third initiative, Neighbourhood Police Posts (NPP) will be enhanced with technology to give users round-the-clock access.

The enhanced NPP will be piloted at Radin Mas and Marsiling this year, before being rolled out to other NPPs in Singapore.

The police plan to recruit 450 additional officers over the next few years to perform these added functions. This means an additional 13 officers on average for each neighbourhood police centre.

Bedok Police Division commander How Kwang Hwee said the challenge now is to find the right type of officers for the new system.

"They need to be able to relate very well and engage the community at all levels - different age groups, different profiles," Deputy Assistant Commissioner How said.

"So these are officers whom we will look for - who are extroverts, who are good at communication, who are good at memory, remembering faces.

"And we hope in response to our enhanced presence, the community will also respond and come forward to be our eyes and ears on the ground."

Speaking at the launch in Tampines, Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Home Affairs, commended Tampines residents for their participation in projects with the police.

One of these is a bicycle rack project at 20 blocks in Tampines which led to a drop in bicycle thefts at those blocks.

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