SINGAPORE - Most Home Team officers have been vaccinated against Covid-19, said Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Friday (July 30).
As at the end of June, about 96 per cent of medically eligible officers had received at least their first vaccine dose or were willing to do so, he said.
"We have one of the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates in the world," said the minister, who emphasised the importance of vaccination as Singapore could see new and more infectious strains of the coronavirus.
He was speaking at the virtual Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony, where the names of this year's recipients of the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award were unveiled. The recipients comprise 105 Home Team officers, 15 Home Team volunteers, 10 organisations, three team projects and operations, as well as 86 members of the public.
In his speech, Mr Shanmugam also highlighted the Home Team's fight in the pandemic.
"Over the past year, the Home Team has had to adapt, carry on with its mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure," he said.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority implemented border control measures and enforced the stay-home notice regime very quickly as the pandemic hit Singapore, while the Singapore Civil Defence Force has taken more than 7,000 suspected Covid-19 patients and more than 2,000 confirmed ones to hospitals since the start of the pandemic in January last year.
"The police force also has had to manage a very substantial growth in cybercrime, online scams, which seem to have been exacerbated by Covid-19," said Mr Shanmugam.
He also addressed concerns over false allegations online, citing a video uploaded by The Online Citizen website in May that contained allegations of the police bullying an elderly lady.
"The truth, as many of us know - the old lady appeared to be lost. Our officers helped her find her way home, bought her food, because they were concerned that she might be hungry," he said.
Police Superintendent McIntyre Rosie Ann, 36, commanding officer of Bukit Merah East Neighbourhood Police Centre, was one of the recipients of the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award.
In June 2018, as a negotiator at the Crisis Negotiation Unit, she was involved in a stand-off with a man who had an outstanding arrest warrant. She and her duty team spent around three hours at Block 18 Ghim Moh Road talking the man into surrendering himself.
Another award recipient, Madam Hamida Khalid, 71, was lauded for her 54 years of volunteering with the Singapore Police Force.
As an active member of Citizens on Patrol (COP), the police's community engagement programme, she patrols her neighbourhood with other volunteers.
"It is a meaningful award and I feel honoured to be recognised for my contributions. I will continue to serve the community even during this Covid-19 period, with other COP members," she said.