Meet the police's online avatar, Inspector Clif

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Serene Chiu (second from left), with members of the New Media Team from the Singapore Police Force's Public Affairs Department, who are involved in the development of the online police avatar, Inspector Clif (far right).
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Serene Chiu (second from left), with members of the New Media Team from the Singapore Police Force's Public Affairs Department, who are involved in the development of the online police avatar, Inspector Clif. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Serene Chiu (second from left), with members of the New Media Team from the Singapore Police Force's Public Affairs Department, who are involved in the development of the online police avatar, Inspector Clif (far right).
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Serene Chiu, with members of the New Media Team from the Singapore Police Force's Public Affairs Department, who are involved in the development of the online police avatar, Inspector Clif (above). ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Working out, savouring local food and hanging out with the K-9 unit are the favourite pastimes of Inspector Clif, the Singapore Police Force says of its newest recruit.

But what's striking is the good inspector's friendly disposition as he dishes out tips on avoiding e-commerce scams and pickpockets, and addresses any crime prevention queries people may pose to him.

Moulded to present the best side of Singapore's men in blue, Inspector Clif is an online avatar who has his own Facebook page.

He was created to engage the online community about crime prevention and other safety and security issues in Singapore, the police said yesterday.

Inspector Clif adopts the persona of a real police officer, speaking in a more conversational tone. In doing so, the police force hopes he will help to make its online presence more personable, the statement added.

His name is an acronym of the first letters of the force's four core values: courage, loyalty, integrity and fairness.

His first Facebook post appeared on Oct 3, when he gave tips on how to avoid scams, reminded Facebook users to not drink and drive, and shared snippets of the day-to-day life of a police officer.

On Oct 8, the avatar gave people a taste of his humour in his Facebook post. Drawing bubble tea pearls on a cup, he quipped: "My feeble attempt to fight the temptation to get bubble tea... I shall indulge in the real deal once I clear my IPPT!" he wrote, referencing the Individual Physical Proficiency Test that is a standard physical fitness test uniformed police officers take yearly.

The need for Inspector Clif was prompted by the growing number of Singaporeans using online platforms to interact and seek information, said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Serene Chiu.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2019, with the headline Meet the police's online avatar, Inspector Clif. Subscribe