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  • I-Witness
Published 08 September 2023
5 -min Read

Write, shoot, edit; repeat – what happened when two final-year poly students joined Police Life…

By: Nur Ihshana Shaheen Binte Babajahn and Ashwini Jayasankar

Photo of two young female, one with a tan coloured top and black headscarf on the left and another girl with a light brown top, standing against each other and facing the camera
PHOTO: Amanda Wong

Hi! We’re Ihshana and Ashwini, final-year students studying Mass Communications at Republic Polytechnic (RP). Choosing to intern with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) as journalists turned out to be one of the best decisions of our lives! Read on to find out how we spent our 24-week internship.

Female officer posing, wearing a a tan blouse and black headscarf
PHOTO: Amanda Wong

Nur Ihshana Shaheen Binte Babajahn

As a journalism student with a keen interest in law enforcement, the journalist role with Police Life immediately caught my eye when I was searching for an internship on the RP internship portal. I applied for the position and was interviewed by a panel of officers from the Police Life team. I still remember how ecstatic I was upon receiving the acceptance email, and I couldn't wait to begin my journey!

I was greeted warmly as I set foot into the office at Police Headquarters for the very first time. With a mix of the jitters and anticipation, I was ready to start learning!

My Pride and Joy
My editorial colleagues eased me into my role as a journalist and ensured that I was exposed to as many learning opportunities as possible. To my excitement, I was tasked to work on the “SPF Fit” series, which features Police officers sharing about their fitness regimes and active lifestyles. I interviewed officers from the Police Coast Guard, Public Transport Security Command, Criminal Investigation Department and Toa Payoh Neighbourhood Police Centre – all of whom generously shared how they help to safeguard our nation. Truly inspiring individuals!

photo of two SPF band members, in ceremonial attire, with music instruments
Telling a story of family and musical ties in the SPF Band. PHOTO: Soh Ying Jie

One article I wrote that’s especially close to my heart is a Father’s Day profile featuring a father-daughter duo from the SPF Band. Being family and colleagues, they share a unique bond, and I could feel Station Inspector Julaimi’s pride as he spoke about his beloved daughter, Sergeant Natassha Lydia. The pair has performed together on countless occasions, creating beautiful memories and music in the Force. It was an absolute joy to capture and share their love for each other!

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
Despite my lack of experience, my colleagues treated me as a valued member of the team. Their encouragement and affirmations boosted my confidence and helped me to step out of my comfort zone to produce work that I could be proud of.

four officers having a discussing at an office table, with light shining through a window behind them
Team discussions are a regular part of interning at Police Life. PHOTO: Amanda Wong

My 24 weeks as a Police Life intern have been an invaluable learning experience! I was able to put everything I’d learnt – from photography and writing to editing – into practice through my articles. The assignments that I worked on have also piqued my interest in journalism as a career.

I’m now returning to school with a trove of real-world experiences and skills that I’ve honed through my internship. I’ll treasure this learning journey and carry it forward in life.

officer ashwini, wearing an orange top but wearing an SPF police vest
PHOTO: Christabelle Lim

Ashwini Jayasankar

Embarking on a 24-week stint as a budding journalist felt like a dream come true! I’d been on the lookout for an internship that would resonate with my aspirations, and the journalist role with Police Life sparked my interest. As someone who’s always wanted to know what it means to serve the community, I was overjoyed when I received my acceptance email to intern with Police Life!

Navigating New Waters

As a rookie in the working world, I was apprehensive yet excited as I stepped into my new office. After a warm welcome by my team and a round of introductions to colleagues from other units, I was given a brief overview of the SPF’s work.

In my first few weeks, I attended Crimewatch filming sessions and shadowed my colleagues on writing and photography assignments, which helped me to understand my work environment better. This laid the groundwork for the stories I’d later work on, and increased my appreciation for the dedication of Police officers in keeping Singapore safe and secure.

Finding My Creative Voice
My most memorable assignment was a series of articles on Volunteer Service Constabulary (VSC) officers. I had the privilege of interviewing senior VSC officers from the Police Operations Command Centre and the Airport Police Division. It was truly interesting to learn about their work, motivation and commitment as volunteers!

heavily armed SPF officers in light green gear storming a narrow pathway with their guns. There is a light shining from their muzzle
Getting up-close with officers in action on the Boarding and Search Trainer. PHOTO: Soh Ying Jie

I also had the opportunity to write articles on events such as the Singapore Road Safety Month Carnival, and to showcase the SPF’s training capabilities through articles on the Police Coast Guard’s Boarding and Search Trainer.

Working on these stories allowed me to develop my creative voice and explore different writing styles. The experience expanded my perspective and helped me hone my craft as a journalist.

Seizing Moments through the Lens
I’ve also had the chance to participate in numerous photoshoots and media features during my time at Police Life. I benefited immensely from my colleagues, who graciously shared their expertise, including on how to master the nuances of photography!

ashwini taking a photograph using a camera of officers doing a forced entry
Learning to be quick on her feet when it comes to getting the perfect shot. PHOTO: Christabelle Lim

One assignment that’s close to my heart is the media feature on the Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) Unit. It was my first media feature and we were given a glimpse of the STAR Unit’s tactical training and their specialised skill-sets. Grateful for the opportunity to be one of the photographers, I learnt the importance of being quick on my feet to capture shots swiftly and effectively. What’s also stayed with me is the unwavering dedication of the officers to their profession, which ignited profound respect within me!

ashwini and ihshana in an office cubicle working on a laptop
Back to writing in the office! PHOTO: Amanda Wong

A Journey of Discovery
My stint as a journalist with Police Life has been a remarkable journey of discovery, empowerment and growth! I’ve acquired a wealth of knowledge from the team and many opportunities to develop my proficiency as a budding journalist.

a group photo of many officers together
Thanks for joining our team, Ihshana and Ashwini! PHOTO: SPF

What struck a chord with me was how my colleagues always made me feel at home. As I look back on my internship, my heart is filled with immense gratitude towards the team. Their constant encouragement and lively spirits have made my internship an enjoyable one! I’ll always cherish the memories I made here!

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