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The Public Sector Transformation Awards

By: Irwan Shah

(Photos: Public Affairs Department)

The Public Sector Transformation (PST) Awards serves to commend the excellent organisational practices and work of public officers and public service agencies. This year, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) clinched not just one, but two awards. They were presented to Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Kiran Kushum Kumari Devi and the SPF’s Commercial Affairs Department’s (CAD) Anti-Scam Centre (ASC). Police Life caught up with the award winners to hear their thoughts about their achievements.

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Rank/Name: Assistant Superintendent of Police Kiran Kushum Kumari Devi

Designation: Officer-in-Charge (OC) Watch Team, Police Operations Command Centre (POCC)

Award: Exemplary Service Excellence Award

ASP Kiran was awarded the Exemplary Service Excellence Award in recognition of her steadfast dedication and efforts in serving the community. Even if it meant making personal sacrifices, ASP Kiran would not hesitate to go above and beyond her duty as a police officer. Her passion in helping others also spurred her to take the lead in organising several citizen-centric initiatives. This includes helping the public to learn how to use the SPF’s e-services, and simplifying information for Citizens On Patrol (COP) to more clearly explain what COP is about to the public, and to attract potential volunteers.


The Community at Heart

ASP Kiran believes that it is essential for police officers to listen to and understand the ground sentiments to better prevent, deter, and detect crime. In her previous role as OC of the Community Policing Unit (CPU) at Jurong East Neighbourhood Police Centre, she worked closely with her team of officers to build a tight-knit relationship with the community to strengthen the community’s trust in the Police. As the leader of the Clementi Division’s para-counselling team, ASP Kiran often organises talks for her fellow officers to motivate them and provide advice on staying mentally resilient even in difficult situations. Her passion for helping others also drove her to go the extra mile to ensure that the necessary aid was given to those in need.

One such example was a case of neighbourly dispute, which involved a family in need of medical help. When attending to the case, she noticed that one of their family members was medically unsound and offered her assistance. However, the family rejected her help and even lodged a complaint against ASP Kiran and her team. Despite the family’s reluctance, ASP Kiran remained unfazed and continued to keep an eye on them while liaising with several government agencies – such as the Ministry of Social and Family Development and Institute of Mental Health – to provide assistance to the family. After much persistence and communication between ASP Kiran and the family, they became more forthcoming and eventually accepted her assistance. To ASP Kiran, issues must be nipped in the bud. She believes that crimes can be prevented by identifying and addressing other underlying issues – for instance, addressing any emotional and mental health issues of stakeholders first.

“I had to lay the foundation, which was to gain trust from the community stakeholders and agencies. A way to do this was by giving them my contact number and being available for them at any time of the day,” explained ASP Kiran. “I personally visited all the stakeholders when issues came up and once the stakeholders saw the sincerity and honesty of my word, relationships and trust started to develop.”

ASP Kiran and her team had also spearheaded several competitions for migrant workers under an initiative called Community Shield, which was launched in 2015. It aimed to foster deeper bonds between migrant workers and local stakeholders, and to also provide a sports platform for them to stay healthy. The initiative was very well-received by the migrant workers residing in the dormitories within Clementi Division’s jurisdiction. They had been actively participating in popular sports such as cricket, badminton and football, and continue to engage in such activities today. To strengthen communications between the migrant workers and the officers, ASP Kiran and her team also developed a mobile app which was also used to effectively and efficiently disseminate crime advisories – such as crime prevention tips – to the migrant worker community.


Leading the Watch Team

In August 2019, ASP Kiran assumed the role of OC Watch Team at POCC. Being in the nerve centre of police operations, she now leads a team of officers who respond to emergency calls from the public. ASP Kiran and her officers play a key role in relaying vital information to the officers on the ground, so that they can respond to incidents swiftly. Being first responders, her officers usually encounter distress calls from the public. Her secondary role as senior para-counsellor becomes useful during such situations. She is able to guide her officers to keep the situations under control while also being calm and reassuring to the panicked callers.

“The environment can be tense and very fast-paced, with a great amount of expectation. These expectations include attending to and tracking all incidents, as well as advising ground officers on their next course of action to apprehend the perpetrators. Hence, it helps that there are words of encouragement for my officers. Being sensitive to the different views and not taking sides is a skill which I have managed to acquire with the many cases I have encountered,” elaborated ASP Kiran.

The 27 years in the SPF have provided ASP Kiran with many different opportunities to learn and grow as a police officer. Spurring herself on, she enjoys guiding young officers in the Force and will always take pride in donning the SPF uniform.

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Department: Anti-Scam Centre (ASC)- SPF/CAD

Award: Exemplary Innovator Award

The ASC clinched the Exemplary Innovator Award for their team’s innovative strategies – such as the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – to curb the scourge of scams and making a positive impact on their stakeholders, both internal and external. To more effectively fight scams, the ASC was formed in June 2019 to prevent, deter and detect scams from across the country through information-processing, intervention, investigation, initiatives, inculcation and international cooperation.


Building Bridges

Recognising the importance of strong relationships with the community, which is vital in thwarting the scammers’ schemes, the ASC has established strong partnerships with over 30 external stakeholders from several industries. This includes entities such as banks, telecommunication companies, fintech companies and other online marketplaces. “We are honoured to be invited by our bank partners and community groups to share our experience in identifying and dealing with scams. Earlier this year, we conducted a sharing session with our UOB counterparts during their ‘Lunch and Learn’ session,” shared OC ASC, ASP Teng Chin Hock.

The strong ties between the ASC and its stakeholders have also culminated in several innovations. The ASC has successfully worked with the local banks and fintech companies to digitalise production orders, which are formal requests to the banks to provide banking information. Working closely with the banks, scam-related bank accounts can be frozen and bank account holders’ particulars can be retrieved within a few days. The whole process is a breakthrough for ASC as it has helped to reap time savings for investigation, which is critical and vital in preventing the movement of monies in scam-related bank accounts. Without these partnerships and innovations, these processes would have taken between 14 to 60 days, which would have affected any actions to stop the scammers from succeeding.


Keeping up to Date

The modus operandi of scammers are always evolving, and the ASC is constantly finding new ways to adapt to these changes. Through regular engagement sessions with their overseas counterparts, the ASC sharpens its strategies and strengthens its sense-making capabilities to counter the latest scam trends. The ASC also refines its approach to tackle scams by leveraging new technologies such as the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to save time and increase work efficiency.

“RPA is a form of process automation technology which we use to churn out production orders, email the banks, and track the processes in our scam management system,” elaborated ASP Teng. “During the start of COVID-19, there was a sudden influx of cases due to fraudulent sales of facemasks on online platforms. Owing to the RPA, we were able to effectively manage the reports and cope with the overwhelming workload.”

Since its inception, the ASC has been successful in mitigating victims’ losses. Its innovative ideas and strong stakeholder partnerships have helped the ASC to recover over SGD 21.2 million, close to 40.8 per cent of the overall scammed amount based on the scam reports received by ASC. With all hands on deck, the ASC – together with its stakeholders – can successfully disrupt scammers’ operations more effectively and prevent others from becoming scam victims. The ASC will continue to upgrade itself and innovate new ideas to safeguard the community against the scourge of scams.


23 December 2020 @ 1:30 PM
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