01 October 2017

Building the Blocks of Success

Picture of Commander G Tan Tin Wee

Beyond the excitement and challenges that a policing career offers, it is the penchant for making a difference in people’s lives that keeps Assistant Commissioner of Police (AC) Tan Tin Wee anchored in his mission. Recounting his experience as a "young and blur" Investigation Officer when he first started out, AC Tan has since accumulated a wealth of experience under his belt. Be it learning the knacks of security deployments or overseeing operations management, AC Tan has experienced it all.

As affinity would have it, AC Tan who was formerly the Commanding Officer of Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) returns to head the Bedok (‘G’) Division after some 13 years. Currently helming one of the busiest land divisions in the Singapore Police Force (SPF), AC Tan remains down-to-earth as he deftly balances sternness with an occasional air of levity.

Enhancing Operational Capabilities

As many residential buildings and high capacity event venues are nestled in the eastern region, ‘G’ Division has embraced the various initiatives to strengthen frontline capabilities to meet the rising operational demands in light of the heightened security threat.

Besides the use of Police Cameras and MobiCams, a series of new frontline capabilities have also been introduced at the divisional level to tackle the onslaught of evolving crimes. Such capabilities include the formation of the Emergency Response Teams, the Cyber Crime Response Teams, the Crime Scene Squads and the Anti-Crime Strike Force Teams to provide swift and appropriate police response.

"To further enhance SPF’s capabilities, it is important to continuously gather feedback from officers about the various operational procedures. Through such feedback, procedures can be adjusted to better fit the ground, and new ways of working can be found," AC Tan elaborated.

To meet its mandate, ‘G’ Division is exploring fresh ways to expand its limited infrastructural capacity to cater to the addition of future operational capabilities. One of the challenges that AC Tan is facing is the need to refurbish the 26-year-old ‘G’ Division headquarters building so as to better support future capabilities and provide a more conducive working environment for his officers.

Strengthening Community Partnerships

While AC Tan recognises the need to augment operational capabilities, he is also mindful of the importance of community engagement and advocates the strengthening of partnerships with the grassroots. In addition to leveraging social media platforms as an effective channel to reach out to the public on crime advisories, ‘G’ Division has also been working to expand established outreach platforms to widen their impact.

Launched in July 2015, the Vehicles on Watch is one of the division’s most prominent community projects. Acting as additional "eyes" for the police to better fight crime, the initiative allows the police to view the car owners’ in-vehicles cameras when crime strikes in their neighbourhood. To date, approximately 6,000 members have signed up.

Testament to the close collaboration that ‘G’ Division’s NPCs have with their grassroots, the division has been accorded three gold awards and four silver awards in the Neighbourhood Watch Zone competitions – aims to create awareness on crime prevention. As part of the anti-scam campaign which aimed to educate the public on how to protect themselves from falling

victim to such crimes, the division has always sought creative ways to engage members of the public. From the anti-scam vending machines to digital kiosks and game boxes, the division’s officers never fail to rake their brains for new outreach ideas.

"On top of using billboard signage across the division to generate awareness on crime prevention, the division is currently exploring the possibility of building a SGSecure Reality Escape Room," quipped AC Tan. Through experiential learning, the division hopes to deepen the understanding of the SGSecure movement and better guide the community on what they should do in the event of a terror attack. This will help to reinforce the knowledge that residents acquired from the Emergency Preparedness Day exercises and SGSecure visits conducted by their Community Policing Unit officers.

Unlocking the Keys for a Mission Effective Division

On top of keeping a pulse on the community, AC Tan strongly believes that every officer in the division plays a key role in achieving the Force’s mission to prevent, deter and detect crime.

Acknowledging the importance of gathering "frank and honest" feedback from his officers as a means to facilitate organisational improvement, AC Tan makes it a point to understand their challenges by engaging them in regular dialogue sessions. A feedback corner has also been implemented as an additional channel for officers to share their views.

Above all, AC Tan also stresses on caring for and managing the morale of his officers. "Besides ensuring that my officers’ welfare is well-taken care of, it is also necessary to equip them with the right skills and equipment to help them discharge their duties effectively and efficiently," AC Tan said.

Having strengthened officers’ physiological and psychological capacity, AC Tan also reminds us of the need to uphold discipline in the Force. "Discipline is not only a key ingredient that sees us through our mission, it is also the fundamental element in maintaining public trust. Every case of misconduct or negligence undermines this trust," AC Tan asserted. Ultimately, it is a combination of all the aforementioned elements that will help boost the division’s capacity to be mission effective.

Finding your Passion

As the interview draws to a close, AC Tan, who is an avid fan of Star Wars and military history, urges aspiring officers to understand their passion before taking the plunge.

"If you have the passion to serve, to make things right, to make a difference in other people’s lives – there is no other job that will enable you to do this. If you are joining for the money – look elsewhere. You will find out very quickly that policing is really more than just a job, and whether your motivations for joining are right," AC Tan said.

Last Updated on 21 May 2018