1965 - 1983

Securing the new Nation
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Policing in a Post-independent Singapore

 

Officers from the first batch of Police National Service (Full-Time) pose for a photo in 1975. Source: SPF

On 9 August 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia and became an independent republic. In 1968, the Police crest adopted the name ‘Polis Repablik Singapura’, or Republic of Singapore Police. In charge of its own defence, the police took on a bigger role in securing the nation. Within five years of independence, recruitment numbers expanded, Police National Service was introduced in 1967, the Force was inducted into the Interpol, and the Police Training School was elevated to Police Academy. The Force was also reorganised in 1969 which saw the grey flannel shirt and khaki shorts replaced with blue uniforms consistent with international policing colour.

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By 1970, Singapore was heralding a period of peace and prosperity. Crime rates fell, secret societies were kept under control because of the passing of the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act in 1955, and rapid economic growth rendered communist ideals irrelevant.Singapore had defied the odds and its economy had taken off. Improved living standards, combined with tough and effective law enforcement – with the enactment of the Arm Offences Act and Misuse of Drugs Act in 1973 – led to a decline in crime. In 1976, the crime rate was not only the lowest in two decades, but also the lowest in the world for a city of comparable size. In a survey of the public’s opinion conducted in 1979, the indications seemed to point to the SPF as being efficient and enjoying a good public image though tending to be aloof and official. Steps were taken to make the police to be more involved with the community it was serving, and create a reliable and friendly image to win the confidence and trust by the public on whom it depended for information and cooperation.

Police Radio Division at Eu Tong Sen Street in 1973. Source: SPF