Volunteer officers go on patrol to keep law and order

VSC (Community) officers Wong Chee Wai and Lena Wan chatting with retired transportation officer Lee Kim Seng while distributing leaflets on online scams at Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre yesterday.
VSC (Community) officers Wong Chee Wai and Lena Wan chatting with retired transportation officer Lee Kim Seng while distributing leaflets on online scams at Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre yesterday.ST PHOTO: JOSE HONG

Ms Lena Wan and Mr Wong Chee Wai stopped by 72-year-old Mr Lee Kim Seng's table at Serangoon Garden Market and Food Centre yesterday morning, and gave him a leaflet on online scams.

They asked the retired transportation officer if he was aware of the ways people could lose their money online. After they were assured that he knew what to look out for, they smiled and bade him goodbye.

Ms Wan, 53, is an administrative executive at a counselling centre, and Mr Wong, 47, is a primary school vice-principal.

They are among the first batch of about 40 Volunteer Special Constabulary (Community) officers doing their patrols around Singapore.

Under a new Singapore Police Force scheme, individuals can sign up to be volunteer officers but with shorter training and patrol duty commitments. They need to only undergo training of seven weeks and perform at least eight hours of patrol duty monthly.

In comparison, the regular Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) scheme requires officers to undergo six months of training, with at least 16 hours of patrol duty per month.

Unlike regular police and VSC officers, the VSC (Community) officers do not carry firearms. But they have powers to make arrests, and carry batons, handcuffs and communication sets. They take public transport and wear a new uniform - blue polo T-shirt and black cargo pants.

Ms Wan said she wanted to become a VSC (Community) officer to serve the community. "I have a passion for helping people - I used to teach marketable skills to young people overseas so that they can find jobs," she said.

With her on patrol was Mr Loo Jian Kai, 24, a second-year criminology and security student at Singapore Institute of Technology. He said he liked being able to apply what he learnt in school to the real world.

A police spokesman said that since the VSC (Community) scheme was launched last month, officers have carried out their duties enthusiastically.

"During patrols in the neighbourhoods, residents are happy to see the officers and welcome the stronger police presence on the ground. We hope to encourage more volunteers to step forward and join them."

Singaporeans who are 18 and above and keen to join the VSC (Community) vocation can sign up at https://gems.gevme.com/volunteer-registration-62562051

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline 'Volunteer officers go on patrol to keep law and order'. Print Edition | Subscribe