Suspect a shopper is up to no good? Offer him a shopping basket, says award-winning cop

Inspector Ang Xin Yan (left) and Inspector Tay Kok Leong King were among those who received commendations on Feb 2, 2018. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - When a shopper behaves suspiciously, staff of several supermarkets in Choa Chu Kang and Teck Whye know exactly what to do.

They would offer him a shopping basket.

"We advise staff to offer baskets to patrons who are behaving suspiciously as a way of letting them know that they are being watched," said policeman Tay Kok Leong King.

This was just one of the crime prevention suggestions from the deputy officer-in-charge of the community policing unit at Choa Chu Kang neighbourhood police centre.

Listening to feedback helps him come up with better schemes, said Inspector Tay, 39, adding: "It's about putting (my) ear to the ground."

He also makes it a point to reach out regularly to foreign workers.

"We visit dormitories and remind (foreign workers) not to leave their mobile phones around when they are charging them," he said.

On Friday (Feb 2), Inspector Tay was recognised for his community policing work at the Commissioner of Police's Commendation Ceremony held at the Senior Police Officers' Mess at Mount Pleasant.

At the event, 68 individual, 47 team and 16 special commendations were given to those who made outstanding contributions to the police force last year.

Another award winner is general investigator Ang Xin Yan, 27, who stood out for his compassion and thoroughness.

Inspector Ang played a key role in cracking a case involving a man who had tried to poke his girlfriend's eye using a knife.

The victim ducked but suffered a 3-cm cut on her scalp and a deeper cut on her right hand that needed emergency surgery.

The man cleaned and hid the knife before fleeing. When he was arrested later, he denied the crime at first but admitted it after the police found the knife.

"We went through the house and.. after searching thoroughly, we spotted the knife in the kitchen dustbin," said Inspector Ang.

The cop of three years also showed kindness as the lead investigator of a case involving a man who would hurt his father and sister whenever he got drunk.

Inspector Ang assisted the accused with his alcohol addiction by working closely with his assigned social worker.

Inspector Ang said the man was a nice guy when sober, but became another person when he drank. "We would advise him to stop drinking, and perhaps due to his addiction, he could not do so."

One thing Inspector Ang said that he has learnt is to see things from different points of view. He said: "I learnt a lot of different ways to look at things and not just one angle."

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