Sergeant (NS) Hafiz Mohamad Hamzah, 21, is by nature an introvert. But since becoming a first responder at Yishun North Neighbourhood Police Centre, he has learnt to talk to and engage people from all walks of life, he said.
The national serviceman has attended to family disputes, traffic accidents and even a false alarm about a gunman at a hospital.
Sgt (NS) Hafiz received the NSF of the Year award yesterday. He was one of the four recipients of the award. The others are Inspector (NS) Melvin Ong, 21; Special Constable Sergeant Shafwatuddin Norisham, 22; and Special Constable Corporal Yong Zong Yao, 22.
Said Sgt (NS) Hafiz, who has finished his full-time NS stint: "When someone needs help now, I know what I should do."
The awards were given out at the Singapore Police Force (SPF) graduation parade for some 495 police NSF trainees yesterday.
Fifteen other police NSFs were honoured for being the best trainees. The overall best trainee and recipient of the Police National Service Statuette Award was 19-year-old Douglas Choi.
Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development, said in a speech at the parade: "National service is vital to our security and the foundation on which Singapore's progress is built. Our NS officers are at the front lines, keeping Singapore safe and secure."
There will be more NS officers serving in front-line support roles such as in community engagement, she added. They will also be given leadership responsibilities, including as group leaders in public transport security command and as specialists at neighbourhood police centres.
Ms Sun also said that the counselling helpline for full-time national servicemen (NSFs) started operating 24/7 at the beginning of this month. Previously, it was open only on weekdays from 8.30am to 6.30pm. NSFs can call the helpline to report any abuse.
The issue of abuse in the uniformed forces came under the spotlight after the deaths of two NSFs in recent months.
Said Ms Sun: "Each and every officer has the duty to stop and report any unauthorised or harmful activities in the workplace."