A police officer who was a deputy team leader at one of the land divisions in the Singapore Police Force (SPF) was fined yesterday for making multiple crude remarks about his female subordinate.
On one occasion in November 2017, the victim, a 26-year-old ground response force officer, was practising with a T-baton with her teammates during a police defence tactics re-certification course.
The 36-year-old police officer walked by and said: "Don't later poke until baby come out."
On another occasion that year, he made sexually charged remarks about some cupcakes that the victim had brought as a treat for her teammates.
On both occasions, the victim felt harassed and offended, but she ignored the remarks.
It was only in April last year that the victim told another police officer about the offensive remarks and a police report was lodged.
The man, who cannot be named due to a gag order from the court to protect the victim's identity, pleaded guilty yesterday to three charges of making insulting communication that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, under the Protection from Harassment Act.
Another five charges of a similar nature were taken into consideration in sentencing.
For the offences, the police officer of 18 years was fined $6,000.
Urging the court to sentence the man to a fine of at least $5,000, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gregory Gan said that his actions were unacceptable.
"As a supervisor of the victim, he should not have subjected her to such crude jokes," said DPP Gan.
He added: "Everyone is entitled to a healthy work environment and such offences ought to be dealt with severely... to send a clear signal that such workplace harassment is unacceptable."
Defence counsel Kalidass Murugaiyan urged the court to impose a fine of $4,500, adding that his client has had an "immaculate record of service", including several commander's awards and commendations.
In addition, he has been suspended from duty since January, and is likely to lose his job and "all that he has worked for since he joined the force at 18 years old", said Mr Kalidass.
But DPP Gan disputed this, noting that the potential loss of job should not be a mitigating factor. Mr Kalidass said his client intends to apologise to the victim "unreservedly" but has yet to be able to do so.
A spokesman for SPF said that its officers are "not only expected to uphold the law but also maintain the highest standards of conduct and integrity".
"We deal severely with officers who break the law, including charging them in court. The police officer who was involved in the case had been interdicted from service since Dec 26, 2018," the spokes-man said, adding that SPF started disciplinary proceedings against him yesterday.