03 April 2019

Voices of Our Women in Blue

SPF Logo

By Hadi Hafidz (Photos: Public Affairs Department)

The 70 years of Women in Policing milestone not only celebrates the progress that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has made in ensuring more involvement of our female officers, it is also a celebration for all our female officers who have worked as hard as their male counterparts to safeguard Singapore’s every day. Police Life caught up with six of our female officers who were also the organisers of this year’s celebrations, to share about their experiences and motivations to don the blue.


Assistant Commissioner of Police, Pauline Yee, Director Community Partnership Department


• 28 years in service

• Mother of three kids

• Joined the SPF in search of a purpose-driven career, over of a profit-driven one

• Chairman, Organising Committee of Celebratory Dinner

What is the best part of being a police officer?

The best part of the job is that you are constantly learning about different aspects of the organisation as I was given the opportunity to be posted to a new unit every few years. Personally, I have served in 11 units since joining the SPF over 20 years ago.


But I must say that while this can be exciting, it comes with many challenges - having to manage a steep learning curve and adapt quickly whenever I move to a new post. I am thankful for the colleagues and supervisors who have been encouraging and supporting me throughout my career.


What is the hardest part of being a police officer?


As a parent, I would say that the toughest part of being a police officer is the lack of time with my children when I am involved in major operations, projects and large-scale events. For example, the Trump-Kim Summit required officers to be deployed for long hours and leave plans had to be cancelled as we needed to pull all our resources together to ensure the success of this historic event. Despite these sacrifices, the sense of fulfilment and pride is high at the end of it when we see how our hard work has helped to present Singapore as a safe and secure nation to the rest of the world.


What is your most unforgettable moment in your policing career?


The moment occurred when I was a Commanding Officer (CO) of a Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC). While my officers were on duty, a truck crashed into one of the patrol cars, killing both officers in the car. Although we were all grieving the loss, I was extremely proud of my NPC officers as they responded in such a united and resilient manner. Teammates of the officers who passed away continued to carry out their duties professionally and stayed focussed on the mission even though I know they were deeply affected by the loss of their teammates. At the same time, officers from the other teams also stepped in to support them.


What advice would you give to aspiring officers?


Never lose the passion. It is important that we remember why we chose this profession as there will be challenges to overcome and it will give us the strength to carry on.



Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police, Serene Chiu, Deputy Director Public Affairs Department


• 20 years in service

• Growing up watching countless police dramas and was a former National Police Cadet Corp (NPCC) in school

• Inspired to serve and see that justice is done

• Chairman, Organising Committee of Celebratory Event

What is the best part of being a police officer?


Doing good, as I believe that good triumphs over evil. Policing is challenging and offers a compelling purpose. It is a job that provides me with great satisfaction.


What is the hardest part of being a police officer?


It has to be dealing with death, whether it is informing the next of kin of the death of their loved ones or learning that an officer passed on in the line of duty. I remember when I was an investigation officer, I attended to a case of a naked man found dead in a hotel room. The man had checked into the room with a female companion who was not his wife. The hardest part was having to break the news to his wife.


What is your most unforgettable moment in your policing career?


The security deployment at the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s lying-in-state at Parliament House was one I would never forget. The security plans had to be changed and implemented very quickly on the ground when queues of people waiting to pay their last respects swelled. As a result, the hours were extended to round the clock daily and many more officers were deployed at short notice to provide the additional security coverage over the four-day period. No one complained about the long hours as we were solely focussed on executing our mission.


At the end of our deployment, my officers and I were given the opportunity to pay our last respects to the late Mr Lee and I saw some officers with teary eyes. That moment meant a lot to me as we stood by our policing duties faithfully throughout the four-day deployment before we finally got to be like any other civilian paying our respects to a great leader.


What advice would you give to aspiring officers?


Never stop learning, seize the opportunities that come along your way and do your best. Every assignment is a chance to build your credibility and dependability, qualities that go beyond competency and experience. Through building such reputation for yourself, opportunities will then follow naturally. It is also important to build your network of support at work and outside work. After all, policing is a demanding career and it helps to have someone to turn to for support when needed. Most importantly, love what you do and you will achieve personal fulfilment.



Superintendent of Police Phoa Hui Lin, Commanding Officer, Woodlands East Neighbourhood Police Centre


Photo: Woodlands East Neighbourhood Police Centre


• 12 years in service

• Competed in netball tournament since young and aspired to be a national netball coach

• Joined the SPF with the desire to contribute meaningfully to the community

• Programme Subcommittee Officer-in-Charge, Celebratory Event


Tell us about your work.


I am currently the CO of Woodlands East NPC. As a CO, I lead my NPC in our fight against crime. To do that effectively, I strongly believe in cultivating strong bonds amongst officers and creating a family-culture workplace. Having such a culture allows us to work better together; there is a saying in my NPC: “WE are family. WE are Woodlands East”.


Elaborate on your toughest moments while serving with the SPF.


Having experienced working through 24-hour shift as an Investigation Officer and 12-hour shift as a Team Leader, I thought I was ready for my staff posting in Operations Department. Little did I know that it would be by far the toughest moments of my career as the learning curve was extremely steep!


One project which stood out was the implementation of the Community Policing System (COPS). From presenting at many high-level meetings, to drafting parliamentary and media replies, and to coordinating with multiple stakeholders, I have learnt so much about my strengths and weaknesses through the complexities involved and the long hours working on the project.


What does work-life balance mean to you?


Our heavy workload makes it challenging to achieve a complete work-life balance. I am not used to the phone calls in the middle of the night or late night operations, and never will be. That said, I truly enjoy what I am doing and believe in spending time outside work. As such, whenever the opportunity presents itself, I will simply chill-out with great company over awesome food and drinks!



Inspector Jolene Kua, Staff Officer, Criminal Investigation Department


• 4 years in service

• Does archery and plays computer games

• Inspired to sign on with the SPF after experiencing firsthand how the SPF officers would always find a way to pull through difficult times together during her internship

• Publicity Subcommittee member, Celebratory Event


Tell us about your work.


I am a staff officer who drives transformation initiative for the investigation fraternity to be implemented in the near and long-term future. This responsibility allows me to dream big and still be in touch with the day-to-day operations. Even though I may not be able to see the results immediately, this is a meaningful way to bring about positive change in this organisation.


Elaborate on one of your toughest moments while serving with the SPF.


I remember the toughest day in my investigation life – 23 April 2017. It was a Sunday morning, and those tend to be quite peaceful. However, first thing in the morning, we received an electronic police report stating that they had seen a video online of a middle-aged couple pushing an old man at a Toa Payoh hawker centre. We immediately began tracing the parties involved, but little did I expect that the incident would gain so much attention.


During the same tour, there were several other urgent and sensitive cases to follow up concurrently. Despite not being on duty, my remaining team members returned to follow up on the cases, and fight this battle together. There was a moment that after 30 odd hours of not sleeping, I told my Deputy Head Investigation, “Ma’am, I am very tired. Can I sleep first?” After an hour of sleep, we continued with the investigations. When we finally cracked all the cases, there was a real sense of relief. Whenever things get tough, I would always remind myself that it cannot be as bad as that day.


What does work-life balance mean to you?


A supervisor once told me that there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only work-life effectiveness. I think it depends on your stage of life; I am at that stage where I have that bandwidth to do more things, and to try new experiences. I am not obsessed with reaching home by a certain time every day, but I make the effort to spend time with people I care about. It does not have to be often, but they need to know you value them.



Deputy Superintendent of Police Brenda Ong, Commanding Officer Bukit Panjang Neighbourhood Police Centre


• 6 years in service

• Enjoys cookouts at her friend’s house

• Inspired to sign on with the SPF by her dad, a retired police officer

• Publicity Subcommittee Officer-in-Charge, Celebratory Dinner


Tell us about your work.


As a CO, other than leading my NPC in our fight against crime, I take pride in ensuring my officers’ development. It gives me a sense of satisfaction seeing how they become stronger and better in their work.


Elaborate on one of your toughest moments while serving with the SPF.


I remember being tasked, as part of a team, to set up a new unit that focuses on charting the SPF’s future plans. Part of my job scope was to create a Technology Masterplan to help with the SPF’s technological needs. With minimal experience in technology systems, I had conduct a lot of research to attain the necessary knowledge before eventually coming up with a suitable plan.


What does work-life balance mean to you?


To me it is necessary to make time for your loved ones as they will always be there for you. For example, my father is always ready with a “Back in my time, things were worse…” story whenever things get tough – to remind me that things are not that bad. I am also fortunate to have strong and supportive good friends in my division. Sometimes, after a bad day at work, it really helps to have a meal together and have listening ears.



Station Inspector Saleha Binte Sani, Deputy Officer-in-Charge Fatal Accident Investigation Team, Traffic Police


• 12 years in service

• Once rode 14 hours from Singapore to Hatyai, Thailand

• Inspired to sign on by her NPCC days in school

• Programme Subcommittee member, Celebratory Dinner

Tell us about your work.


I am currently the Deputy Officer-in-Charge of the Fatal Accident Investigation team. My duty is to manage fatal accident scenes, investigate the cases and deliver the results to the next of kin. I feel a strong sense of duty to bring closure to the grieving family members.


Elaborate on one of your toughest moments while serving with the SPF.


The toughest moment was losing our colleague who met with an accident while on duty. It was a heartbreaking moment and we really needed each other’s support and motivation to carry on with our duties as guardians of the road.


What does work-life balance mean to you?


Having that balance means a lot to me. As such, I always keep my focus at work to ensure that I complete my tasks promptly before spending quality time with my family and friends. Whenever possible, I would spend a large part of my free time travelling with them and learning about different countries’ cultures.


Last Updated on 03 April 2019