By Hadi Hafidz (Photos: Public Affairs Department)
Ever wondered when some of our police units, including our Police National Service Department, came to the fore? Let us take a walk down memory lane and look back at our history for some interesting facts.
Traffic Police with ‘Wings’ (1930s)
Traffic Police (Today)
Did You Know?
· The Traffic Police (TP) was first established as the Traffic Office in 1914 after traffic regulations were implemented earlier that year.
· From 1926 to the Second World War, TP officers strapped rattan wings onto their bodies to assist them in directing traffic. Those duties are today carried out by computerised traffic lights, allowing TP to focus their resources on patrolling the roads and keeping road users safe.
· Officers from the Traffic Mobile Squad in the 1930s earned around $28 per month, during the times when a cup of ‘kopi’ cost one cent!
POLICE COAST GUARD
Marine Police (Pre-1945)
Police Coast Guard (Today)
Did You Know?
· 1855 saw the first group of six boatmen on three boats tasked to patrol the sea at night.
· The Marine Police was officially formed in 1866 with the establishment of a floating police station.
· Today, the Police Coast Guard (PCG) has significantly expanded, boasting about 1,200 PCG officers and more than 100 boats.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
Riot Squad (1951)
Special Operations Command (Today)
· The first Riot Squad was formed in 1951 in the aftermath of the Maria Hertogh Riots.
· In 1952, it expanded to three troops of 50 officers each and was renamed the Reserve Unit.
· It was eventually established as the Special Operations Command in 1992.
· Khaki uniforms of the past were changed to fire-retardant uniforms of the present, while rattan shields were swapped for fire-resistant polycarbonate shields, providing officers with better protection during riot situations.
POLICE NATIONAL SERVICE
Police National Service (1967)
Police National Service (Today)
Did You Know?
· Police National Service (PNS) began as a part-time scheme in 1946. To distinguish themselves from regular officers, these Part-time Police National Servicemen wore a whistle with a red lanyard. The part-time scheme was eventually phased out in 1981.
· While Part-time PNS was ongoing, Full-time PNS was introduced on 22 February 1975 and the first intake of 200 Singaporean males enlisted on 24 July 1975. The inception of Full-time PNS was prompted by the Laju terrorist incident of 1974, an incident which showed the importance of strengthening the Force’s manpower to secure Singapore’s security-sensitive installations.
· PNS manpower significantly expanded over the years, and in 2018, there were around 4,800 Full-time Police National Servicemen and 28,000 Operationally-ready Police National Servicemen.
· Today, the roles of Police National Servicemen have evolved from protecting key installations and taking on general policing duties. Police National Servicemen are deployed alongside regular officers, across 11 vocations in various units including the Public Transport Security Command and the Protective Security Command. To maximise their potential, these officers are also deployed in more leadership, specialist and frontline positions.
VOLUNTEER SPECIAL CONSTABULARY
Volunteer Special Constabulary (1950s)
Volunteer Special Constabulary (Today)
Did You Know?
· The Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) has its origins in the Volunteer Police Reserve, which was formed in 1938 to cope with the political and labour unrest during that period.
· After the Volunteer Police Reserve was disbanded in 1942 during the World War, it was reassembled in 1946 as the VSC, to support regular officers in their patrolling duties.
· During the Maria Hertogh Riots in 1950, the entire VSC was mobilised, and their commitment to the Force amounted to 11,577 hours of duty.
· The number of VSC officers increased significantly over the years, from 60 officers in 1947, to around 1,250 officers in 2018.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
26 February 2020 @ 12:00 PM