Police launch new community scheme to boost mission to fight crime

(From left) National Crime Prevention Council chairman Gerald Singham, Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Tan Hung Hooi at the launch of the new Community Watch Scheme on Dec 11, 2021. PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - She has been a volunteer since 2016 with Citizens on Patrol (COP), a group that has worked closely with the Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre to keep the area safe.

Keen to continue and help out in her neighbourhood, the office worker, who wanted to be known only as Ms Chong, has also volunteered to join the new Community Watch Scheme (CWS) launched by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Saturday (Dec 11).

The CWS will subsume three existing programmes - the Neighbourhood Watch Zone (NWZ), Vehicles on Watch (VOW) and Riders on Watch (ROW) - and continue in the effort to create a vigilant and informed local community.

Said Ms Chong: "This new scheme potentially promotes a collaborative effort that is akin to many kampongs helping to move a mountain. Nothing can beat the true community spirit, where we help to watch each others' backs."

The CWS features five categories: Home, Work/Learning, Transport, Lifestyle and Cyber.

Under the five categories are six interest groups, namely: Neighbours on Watch, VOW, ROW, Workers on Watch, Cyclists on Watch and E-shoppers on Watch.

The respective groups will keep a look out for possible incidents around the neighbourhood as well as workplace issues, among other things, and share crime information with the police.

Members of the public can sign up to join more than one group. They will receive regular updates from the police, such as crime-related advisories and opportunities to participate in related activities, training and workshops.

Speaking at the launch on Saturday, guest of honour Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Home Affairs, and Sustainability and the Environment, said: "Community policing is always one of the key thrusts of the SPF's policing strategy, where the community is actively involved in fighting and combating crime."

He said Singapore's safety and security should not be taken for granted, and added: "The CWS recognises the importance of the community in detecting and preventing crime and furthers the vision of having the community as an enabled police partner."

The Neighbourhood Watch Scheme was first introduced in 1981, and was reorganised into NWZs in 1997. Over the years, the NWZ scheme has grown from 26 zones to more than 800 zones, with almost 4,000 volunteers.

The CWS aims to leverage the success of the NWZ scheme.

The director of the Community Partnership Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police Shng Yunn Chinn, said: "The Community Watch Scheme is a call to action... every action from our CWS members contributes to the success of our collective mission to prevent, deter and detect crime, and keep our country as one of the safest in the world."

For more information or to sign up, go to the website.

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