Police review vetting processes after cases of cops with gang links

The Police Cantonment Complex along North Bridge Road. Screening processes for potential officers will be reviewed after two policemen were found to be secret society members.
The Police Cantonment Complex along North Bridge Road. Screening processes for potential officers will be reviewed after two policemen were found to be secret society members.PHOTO: ST FILE

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has reviewed its screening processes for future potential officers following recent cases in which two policemen were found to be secret society members.

It said in a statement yesterday that the force conducts vetting of shortlisted job applicants.

An SPF spokesman added: "Notwithstanding these measures, we recognise that we may not always detect the adverse background of all the applicants... The SPF has also reviewed our screening processes to minimise the possibility of similar cases from falling through the gaps again in future."

On Thursday, a senior staff sergeant attached to Ang Mo Kio Division admitted in a district court to being a senior secret society member and a motorcycle gang leader.

Umar Hassan, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of being a member of an unlawful society. He will be sentenced on June 20. He had set up his motorcycle group with three others in 2001. He was later recruited by another gang and made a senior member after six years.

Court documents did not state when Umar joined SPF. He was arrested on Nov 18, 2016. His Facebook page, laptop and mobile phones were later found to contain pictures of him using a hand sign to show that he was a gang member. Umar's SPF service was suspended on Dec 14 last year.

Police said that after discovering Umar's gang affiliation, there were extensive investigations into his history, the extent of his secret society involvement and whether he had attempted to recruit colleagues. The spokesman added: "We also thoroughly examined the information which he had access to and whether he had used it in a manner prejudicial to SPF, and law and order. Based on our investigations so far, there is no indication of such abuse."

Upon his conviction, police said they will start disciplinary proceedings against him.

On Wednesday, Muhd Firdaus Abdullah, 20, an SPF full-time national service man, was jailed for six years and two months with five strokes of the cane. He had pleaded guilty in April to offences including harbouring an alleged murderer, Muhammad Khalid Kamarudin, 22.

Both Firdaus and Khalid were members of the same secret society. Khalid's case is still pending.

The two men and Umar belonged to different gangs.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Police review vetting processes after cases of cops with gang links'. Print Edition | Subscribe