Police Commissioner wants 1,000 more officers to give force 'much needed' depth

Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee, leaving the court on March 25, 2014. Commissioner Ng has asked for 1,000 more police officers to give the force  "much needed strategic depth". -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW
Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee, leaving the court on March 25, 2014. Commissioner Ng has asked for 1,000 more police officers to give the force  "much needed strategic depth". -- ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee has asked for 1,000 more police officers to give the force "much needed strategic depth".

Also on his wishlist, stated on Tuesday at the hearing into the riot that broke out in Little India on Dec 8 last year: an extra Police Tactical Troop to be placed on standby at any time, thereby raising the number of available troops from two to three. He also hopes to ramp up the number of boots in Little India and Geylang, saying that 150 more officers are required in each location to bolster police visibility.

"(This is) so that we can police Little India and Geylang better, so that we can reinforce our thin lines in the neighbourhoods and communities in the rest of the country, so that we may continue to keep Singapore safe," he told the Committee of Inquiry, adding that there is "some truth" in the refrain that one hardly sees police officers roaming the streets of Singapore.

"We frequently have to rob Peter to pay Paul, as was the case when we keep reducing the size of our anti-riot troopers to fund other capabilities," he said, of the constraints in headcount and budget. "I have never been satisfied with the situation in Geylang or Little India, but I accept the fact that we can do little more with the resources that we currently can muster."

Mr Ng, 47, noted that over the past 20 years, Singapore's population has grown by 58 per cent, far outpacing the less than 16 per cent growth in police force over the same period.

The ratio of police to residents here, he noted, is two to three times lower that of other cities. Singapore has 614 people per police officer, he noted, compared with 252 in Hong Kong, 303 in Tokyo, 242 in New York City and 249 in London.

He said: "But at the same time, we are able to deliver safety-from-crime outcomes that are still the envy of the world."

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