As a former policeman, I wish to share some concerns on life as a cop.
It is a very difficult and thankless job.
Death awaits a cop.
They often face allegations. Investigations by external and internal agencies takes time.
There is stoppage of bonus and adverse effect on promotional opportunities. To worsen matters, we sometimes have other fellow cops who “rejoice at cops in trouble”.
Due to work which at times may stretch into long hours, many a cop suffers strains on marriage.
Divorces are common. Hence, many a cop suffers from stress. Cops cannot join Unions. Some succumb to taking their own lives. It is sad. I saw it during my 32 years long service.
I therefore speak with experience.
Cops are even hauled to Court on private summons and are expected to get their own lawyers to defend them.
Matters have worsened. Our cops today are an overworked lot. There is severe manpower shortage and extra hours of work is required.
Pensions and many other benefits have been taken away from them.
Unlike our time when benefits galore, today’s cops are Not entitled to special privileges, like places in schools for their loved ones or getting a BTO flat faster.
They are expected to protect areas even after tour of duty but pay for HDB season parking like any others.
These is completely different from grassroots leaders who enjoy generous privileges.
The late Commissioner of Police, Tan Sri Tan Teck Kim insisted on “special allocation of HDB flats” for policemen. It was acceded to immediately.
Our old leaders (adorned with on medals) were a determined and a no nonsense lot.
They never allowed any form of “external” interference.
Hence the SPF was run efficiently just as it was under the British Colonial masters.
Policemen of our era remained apolitical and were strictly forbidden from becoming members of any political parties.
As investigators we worked without fear or favour. Even a serving PAP MP was arrested for assaulting a fortune teller with an umbrella “in the presence of policemen”.
We had the courage to tell off MPs and their “supporters” who were seen to be interfering in our professional work.
CPIB could arrest us for violations under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Chap 104 and our officers could also arrest erring and corrupted CPIB officers.
That was an ideal setting and should have been allowed to continue. But things changed.
The recent episode alleging policemen failing to arrest someone and even closing an eye to threats have prompted me to write this appeal.
Any offence which is considered as “non-seizable” has a procedure in place and victim/s can seek redress via a “private summons”.
It has always been the same as before.
However, any non-seizable offences which occurs “in the view of police officers becomes a “seizable” offence or malfeasance.
If the other party (violator) in this episode has indeed threatened” the witness or victim (as has been alleged), then the responding policemen should have taken appropriate action on the spot. It indicates a charge of Criminal Intimidation – a very serious charge.
If the utterances or gestures of the alleged violator towards the victim/witness is interpreted or considered as serious and dangerous, an arrest under Criminal Intimidation should have been made.
In all fairness to the endowed professionalism of our SPF personnel who responded to the case, I feel that these complaint be thoroughly investigated so as to get to the bottom of the truth.
Our men in blue are trained by professional police trainers and are certainly au-fait with procedures that empowers them to initiate appropriate action.
Please be fair and NOT make frivolous or groundless allegations against anyone or any organisation.
The SPF Public Relations Dept should investigate such a claim seriously and come to a professional conclusion, even if there is a need to take action against any parties.
I am not saying that we should Not bother the SPF but we should refrain from making baseless allegations.
The Police has better things to do then looking into such frivolous and groundless claims.
Sukhdev Singh Gill