SINGAPORE: The National Parks Board (NParks) is getting its rangers or enforcement officers to go for self-defence courses, in the wake of rising assault cases by members of public. The authority has put out a tender on the Government’s procurement portal, GeBIZ, for vendors to run self-defence courses for rangers.

There were eight cases of assault recorded so far this year, up from two for the whole of last year, and seven from 2012. The Commissioner of Parks and Recreation at NParks, Dr Leong Chee Chiew, said in some cases, the officers had to be hospitalised.

“For instance, one of our officers was assaulted when she approached a group of six who littered at East Coast Park and declined to provide their particulars when requested. She sustained multiple injuries and had to be hospitalised,” he said in a statement.

He described the move to get rangers to learn the art of self-defence as a “pre-emptive step”, even though NParks has not seen an increasing trend in the number of cases in which its officers have encountered confrontational and abusive situations.

He said the authority wants to ensure NParks officers can protect themselves should they encounter verbal or physical abuse as they enforce rules against illegal fishing and littering in Singapore’s parks, nature areas and park connectors.

Dr Leong added that NParks enforcement officers are already provided basic knowledge of self-defence, but the tender will give them a “more structured training programme”. As a precaution, officers also have to carry out duties in pairs and carry cameras for documentation purposes.

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