SINGAPORE - 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 helped solve family disputes, attended to traffic accidents and even dealt with a false alarm about a gunman at a hospital.
For his service to the community, Sgt (NS) Hafiz received the NSF of the Year award on Thursday (July 12). He was one of the four recipients of the award. The others are Inspector (NS) Melvin Ong, 21; Special Constable Sergeant Shafwatuddin bin Norisham, 22; and Special Constable Corporal Yong Zong Yao, 22.
Said Sgt (NS) Hafiz: "(The past two years) have taught me compassion. When someone needs help now, I know what I should do."
The awards were given out at Thursday's Singapore Police Force (SPF) graduation parade for some 495 PNSF trainees. The event included the recitation of the Police Pledge, a march-past and a display of police defence tactics.
Fifteen other PNSFs were also 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, was the reviewing officer 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 frontlines, keeping Singapore safe and secure," she said in a speech.
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) has started operating 24/7 since the beginning of July. Previously, the helpline 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: "Abuse or harm by one officer to another will be severely dealt with. Each and every officer has the duty to stop and report any unauthorised or harmful activities in the workplace."