Demands on the Singapore Police Force will keep increasing, due to factors such as cybercrime and the external environment, said Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam yesterday.
These factors, coupled with the fact that there are fewer people entering the workforce, will make it challenging for the police force going forward, he added. "So we have to, rather than react, see what's happening and then prepare ourselves for it," he said.
Mr Shanmugam was speaking to reporters at an event to thank police officers for their work this year. About 80 officers from the various Land Divisions, Special Operations Command and Traffic Police attended the tea reception at the Police Cantonment Complex.
"This has been a very, very taxing year for the whole of Home Team," said Mr Shanmugam. "I think a lot of leave has been cancelled, a lot of plans have been put on hold (and) this is on top of the regular policing that has to be done... We have done exceptionally well."
Major events this year included the state funeral for founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the South-east Asian Games, and the General Election.
In an e-mail to the force, Mr Shanmugam added: "The Paris attacks two weeks ago is a sombre reminder of the critical importance of what you do - to keep our country safe and secure. In this current threat environment, your work is all the more significant."
Senior Staff Sergeant Balamurugan Raja Singam, 35, was one of the Traffic Police officers at the event.
He said the job is tough but meaningful. "I've been cursed and scolded for giving out summonses. The misconception is that we have a quota to meet, but there is a need to educate people on the consequences of their offences."
Separately, when asked to comment on the release of alleged match fixer Dan Tan Seet Eng, Mr Shanmugam said: "We believed that we had good grounds to detain him; we accept and respect what the court said about the Detention Order and we will look at it."
Tan was released last week after a Court of Appeal ruled it was unlawful to detain him without trial under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act as he did not pose a threat to public safety.