Police Workplan Seminar 2022 puts the focus on effective policing through partnership and empathy.
By: Seah Hwee Khan
“Policing with a Heart, Impacting Lives with our Partners” is the theme for the Police Workplan Seminar 2022. This year’s Workplan unveiled initiatives that focused on the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) expanded scam-fighting capabilities; enhancements in the management of sexual crime and family violence cases; and strengthening partnerships to enhance victim care. Police Life shares how these initiatives help to keep Singapore safe and secure, with heart!
Policing with a Heart
Setting the tone for the Workplan Seminar was a short film titled “Policing with a Heart” that premiered on the SPF’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. The film highlights the SPF’s efforts in addressing crime not only through enforcement, but also by working closely with social sector partners in order to help victims, families and offenders.
Expanded Scam-fighting Capabilities
The Workplan Seminar also saw the unveiling of the Anti-Scam Command (ASC) under the Commercial Affairs Department. The ASC will further consolidate expertise in scams across all the SPF units and allow for greater oversight over scam-related investigations within the SPF, enhancing sense-making and enabling faster and more targeted interventions and enforcement actions.
The ASC seeks to disrupt scam operations and leverage technology to strengthen its sense-making capabilities. By proactively screening Police reports for online monikers, URLs and advertisements linked to scam activities, the ASC will work with online marketplaces to take down suspicious advertisements and monikers, as well as with telcos to terminate scam-tainted phone numbers and WhatsApp lines.
The ASC will also continue to collaborate with banks and fintech companies to develop anti-fraud financial systems and leverage artificial intelligence to identify and block suspicious financial transactions. The ASC currently partners with over 60 institutions, including local and foreign banks, fintech companies, cryptocurrency houses and remittance service providers in Singapore.
Due to the close collaboration with partners such as the Monetary Authority of Singapore and financial institutions, the ASC successfully froze more than 27,000 bank accounts and recovered more than S$196 million between June 2019 and March 2022.
Dedicated Scam Strike Teams have also been formed in the Police Land Divisions. Under the command of the ASC, these teams will engage in joint investigations and operations to tackle transnational scam cases.
Enhancing the Management of Sexual and Family Violence Cases
To combat sexual crime and family violence cases, the SPF announced at the Workplan Seminar the formation of the Sexual Crime and Family Violence Command. Together with the formation of dedicated Family Violence Teams within the Police Land Divisions, the new Command will work with stakeholders such as the Ministry of Education, schools, institutes of higher learning and autonomous universities to enhance crime prevention and education.
Family Violence Teams comprise officers who specialise in the investigation of family violence cases. The Teams will be specially trained to handle familial issues and engage victims of abuse during investigations. They will also be trained in legislation related to family violence and will work with social service agencies to better protect the vulnerable.
Existing sexual crime investigation officers will also be provided with additional resources and enhanced training to support victims of sexual crime during the investigation process. The SPF will further engage professionals and stakeholders from agencies in the criminal justice system, social service agencies and non-governmental organisations to share best practices.
Strengthening Collaboration to Enhance Victim Care
The SPF has been working closely with partners to adopt a holistic and victim-centric approach towards supporting vulnerable victims of sexual crime and family violence as well as persons with suicidal tendencies. One example of this drive is the planned enhancement of OneSAFE Centre at Police Cantonment Complex in 2023.
The Centre allows sexual assault victims to undergo forensic medical examinations and interviews at a single, private location. The OneSAFE Centre will be enhanced to provide greater privacy and facilities such as interview rooms and medical examination rooms.
The SPF has also been collaborating with partners to better deal with family violence cases. Working with partners such as Family Service Centres, the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations and crisis shelters, the SPF has developed a scenario-based learning model to help officers better engage victims and survivors, as well as to identify victims of family violence.
From June 2022, officers from the Community Policing Unit will be appointed as Family Violence Community Policing Officers across the Police Land Divisions. These officers will specialise in the management of family violence cases and escalate high-risk cases to social service agencies for early intervention.
The Institute of Mental Health’s Crisis Response Team is another example of the SPF’s collaborations to improve care for victims. Piloted in March 2021, the Teams comprise nurses who provide early intervention for attempted suicide cases. Since December 2021, the Crisis Response Team has been rolled out to all Police Land Divisions.