Officers on patrol should maintain stern bearing

Special Operations Command officers patrolling around the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Special Operations Command officers patrolling around the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

I have a great deal of respect for our police officers and I was happy to see men in red berets in full gear with weapons in their hands at the entrance of Tampines MRT Station and Tampines 1 one afternoon recently.

Well done, I thought. Their presence always provides a further sense of safety.

Then, an elderly man approached one of the officers and mocked him, saying that his presence was nothing but theatrics. He asked whether the officer was a full-time national serviceman or operationally ready NSman.

To my surprise, the officer laughed along with the man.

I believe officers should have a no-nonsense look on their face and not play along with such mockery.

Doing so would reflect badly on the force. Laughing along with any passerby would make it hard to take the officers on patrol seriously.

A good example are the officers and soldiers from the Singapore Armed Forces who patrol Changi Airport with stern looks and little talk.

I feel the same way about police officers who board the MRT trains in groups. They chat away and browse on their mobile phones. Shouldn't they be seen to be taking their jobs more seriously?

In this instance, appearance does matter.

Cheng Choon Fei