SCDF men may be demoted or sacked for trashing dorm

The dorm trashing incident in April was captured in two videos that went viral on social media. The culprits comprise nine regular and 14 full-time national service officers, all of whom are sergeants.
The dorm trashing incident in April was captured in two videos that went viral on social media. The culprits comprise nine regular and 14 full-time national service officers, all of whom are sergeants.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

THE Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers who were filmed misbehaving and damaging property in a dormitory in April may be demoted or even dismissed.

Investigations into the incident, captured in two videos that went viral on social media, found that 23 officers were involved, said the SCDF in a statement yesterday.

The culprits comprise nine regular and 14 full-time national service (NSF) officers, all of whom are sergeants.

The regulars are facing civil service disciplinary action,with punishments ranging from a letter of warning to dismissal, depending on the extent of their involvement, said the SCDF.

The NSFs have been charged under the Civil Defence Act and could be fined, put in detention and/or demoted.

Another five regular officers with supervisory roles could be given letters of warning or advice. It is not known what ranks these five officers hold.

The SCDF did not say when punishments will be decided.

Yesterday's development comes almost two months after the SCDF said it will "leave no stone unturned" in investigating the behaviour of its officers.

The clips showed several officers from the 20th Section Commander Course trashing a dorm at the Civil Defence Academy in Jalan Bahar on April 24.

In the first minute-long clip uploaded on April 27, the men were seen in a room with overturned bedframes, mattresses and cupboards. Some of them were smoking in the dorm, which is an offence.

A second video posted the next day showed the men cheering and filming themselves as one of them smeared what is believed to be shoe polish on the floor.

The incident prompted criticism from the public, who urged the SCDF to punish the men involved, saying their actions reflected poorly on the force.

A 30-year-old staff sergeant, a regular who has been with the SCDF for 10 years, said he and his colleagues felt embarrassed when the videos surfaced.

"It tainted our career and reputation. It's just their act of stupidity, it doesn't represent the whole force," he said. "They should be punished as a wake-up call and to prevent this from happening again."

Yesterday, the SCDF said it "deeply regrets" the misconduct of its officers and takes a "very serious view" of it.

"Such behaviour does not reflect the culture and discipline expected of all SCDF officers," it said, adding that all officers are expected to demonstrate exemplary personal and professional conduct.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2015, with the headline 'SCDF men may be demoted or sacked for trashing dorm'. Print Edition | Subscribe