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  • I-Witness
Published 02 March 2024
4-min Read
Police Life 032024 Her Police Story Out at Sea with SSSgt Khairina 00

This International Women’s Day, we head out to sea with SSSgt Khairina Binte Abdul Hamid Ali, a Crew Commander with the Police Coast Guard, and gain insights into her experience as a specialist unit officer!

By: Christabelle Lim

Senior Staff Sergeant (SSSgt) Khairina Binte Abdul Hamid Ali first joined the Singapore Police Force (SPF) in 2015 and has been serving with the Police Coast Guard (PCG) ever since.

What’s a typical day like for you as a PCG officer?
My day-to-day roles involve ensuring maritime security and enforcing laws within Singapore Territorial Waters to ensure the security of Singapore’s maritime domain.

Police Life 032024 Her Police Story Out at Sea with SSSgt Khairina 01
A love for sea sports led SSSgt Khairina to a career with the PCG! PHOTO: SSSgt Khairina Binte Abdul Hamid Ali

Did you always want to be a Police officer?
I actually wanted to be a Physical Education teacher growing up! I enjoy being active and participating in sports such as swimming and kayaking when I was younger. When I found out that being in the PCG meant I’d be working in and around the sea, I thought it was a good fit!

The challenge of being in a specialist unit appealed to me. Our operating terrain presents many complex situations, challenging me to be resilient and adaptable, and helping me to hone my decision-making skills.

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SSSgt Khairina at the helm of the 5th Generation PT boat. PHOTO: SSSgt Khairina Binte Abdul Hamid Ali

Share one challenge of being in a specialist unit, and how you overcame it.
One key difference between a PCG officer and a Ground Response Force officer in the Land Divisions is the vehicle we operate! The PCG fleet includes many different vessels, and it took me a lot of practice to learn how to steer my first patrol boat and to berth it. I’m truly grateful for my seniors and mentors who’d take the time to stay after their shift or come on their off days to guide me.

In your current team of about 40 officers, you’re the only female officer. How has that been for you?
My teammates don’t give me any special privileges! That’s what I appreciate very much about them. When we board a big vessel that could be as high as eight stories, it’s all about going together as a team, regardless of gender.

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SSSgt Khairina (centre) with her fellow Emergency Response Team. PHOTO: SSSgt Khairina Binte Hamid Ali

Tell us about your memorable moments when on duty.
I recall a case where I had to approach a grounded vessel. The person on the vessel had just freed himself after being stuck on a sandbar for 10 hours by the tide and had already been approached by the port authorities and other Police boats over this period. He became very aggressive and started shouting at me. I believe the long hours had taken a toll on him, but I had to make sure he was alright.

I managed to calm him down by showing concern for his well-being, asking if he’d eaten or had anything to drink, so that I could assess if he was indeed alright and safe to continue sailing. Thankfully, the tensions were defused.

Another memorable moment would be during the monsoon season where the visibility out at sea is almost zero, like a white opaque sheet! That’s where our training, experience and being familiar with our patrol routes help!

What’s the most rewarding part of being in the SPF for the past nine years?
It’s the opportunity to make a direct impact by saving lives and maintaining maritime safety!

Just recently, I passed the coxswain course, and it was my first time being the Crew Commander of the patrol boat. Usually, I’m the second-in-charge, so I was a little nervous. But I told myself, “Khai just go with the flow, take whatever comes to you and overcome it!” Thankfully, it was a smooth sailing shift!

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You may think it’s physically demanding but once you’re in it, really, nothing is impossible. – SSSgt Khairina

What advice would you share with those who are thinking of joining specialist units?
Being part of a specialist unit is demanding, so embrace the challenge, keep developing your skills, seek mentorship and be resilient!

As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Women in Policing, what are your hopes for women in the SPF?
I hope that we can continue to foster an inclusive environment, provide equal opportunities for career advancement and inspire more women to join the Force, to contribute our unique perspectives!

Her Police Story
“Out at Sea with SSSgt Khairina” is part of the Women in Policing series, which will feature six female officers and their journey in the SPF. As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Women in Policing this year, we honour the contributions of women in the Force and pay tribute to the pioneers who paved the way.

Read "Sisters, Mums and Ma'ams", “Seize the Day with Insp Stephanie Wong”, "Investigating with DSP Sindhu" and "Leading with Impact with AC Serene Chiu" next!

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