Singapore police seen as world-class crime fighters: Survey

HOME AFFAIRS AND LAW MINISTER K. SHANMUGAM
HOME AFFAIRS AND LAW MINISTER K. SHANMUGAM

The Singapore Police Force scored high marks in the latest public perception survey, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam revealed yesterday, in the light of recent discussion about the public service.

"An incredible number of the public holds the police in high regard. Eighty-seven per cent regarded the police as a world-class crime-fighting organisation," Mr Shanmugam said during the Budget debate.

The 2016 survey involved 4,800 Singaporeans and permanent residents. The survey also showed that 90 per cent of respondents believe the police are ready to deal with any major law and order incident, and are well prepared to respond to future security needs, he said. Meanwhile, 88 per cent feel the police provide "a high quality of service".

Separately, 93 per cent of the respondents said they felt safe walking in their neighbourhood at night.

Mr Shanmugam credited the heightened police presence and the quick arrest of criminals as some reasons for the high score. "All of this reflects the extraordinary level of faith and trust Singaporeans have in the police force. I have no doubt that the same goes for other Home Team departments... Many law enforcement agencies around the world envy this," he added.

  • PUBLIC PERCEPTION SURVEY RESULTS

  • 4,800 Singaporeans and permanent residents were surveyed by the police last year.

    93 per cent felt safe walking in their neighbourhood at night.

    92 per cent rated general safety and security in Singapore as "good" or "very good".

    90 per cent believed the police are ready to deal with any major law and order incident, and are well prepared to respond to future security needs.

    88 per cent felt that the police provide a high quality of service.

    87 per cent regarded the police as a world-class crime-fighting organisation.

    Almost half said the installation of police cameras at housing estates made them feel safer.

A key factor is the "immense dedication and commitment of our Home Team officers", said Mr Shanmugam, adding that the overall crime rate last year of 588 cases per 100,000 population was the lowest since 2014. That year, the figure was 589 cases per 100,000 people.

The survey results, made known to him on Thursday, may have been about the police, but they also give perspective to the discussions about the public service that had taken place in Parliament this week, he said. During day two of the Budget debate on Wednesday, several MPs cited anecdotes showing how the public service should think out of the box, and be less zealous about guarding its own turf.

GOOD WORK

In a large majority of cases, our public servants are outstanding, dedicated and go well beyond the call of duty and serve with heart.

HOME AFFAIRS AND LAW MINISTER K. SHANMUGAM

Nominated MP Kuik Shiao-Yin said more could be done for the working poor, while Mr Louis Ng (Nee Soon GRC) said he was concerned the public service may lack heart in its pursuit of efficiency, and Ms Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC) pointed out that public servants can guard their turf too jealously, to Singaporeans' detriment.

These cases arise because of structural reasons or inter-agency issues, but "are the exception and not the rule", said Mr Shanmugam, who is the latest minister to defend the public service, after Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean and Senior Minister of State Desmond Lee did so on Thursday. Said Mr Shanmugam: "In a large majority of cases, our public servants are outstanding, dedicated and go well beyond the call of duty and serve with heart," he said, adding that Mr Ng, Ms Lee and Ms Kuik share this view.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 04, 2017, with the headline 'Singapore police seen as world-class crime fighters: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe