The recent shooting incident at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where 3 shots were fired exposed the complacency of the police officers involved. The New Paper reported last Monday that one of the escort police officers had left the private holding room when the shooting occurred. The same report interviewed former police officer Joseph Tan who shared that “Two officers must be present” while holding custody of a suspect.
Even though I pity the injured police officer, I still think there was an operational lapse in the KTPH shooting incident.
The Home Team is not unfamiliar with these high profile incidents. A gold-coloured Mercedes breached Woodlands ICA checkpoint in March 2014 that escalated into an island-wide hunt for the perpetrator. The incident was also marred by a leaked security footage from the ICA control room that showed the process of the breach. That video went viral and some netizens questioned the integrity of ICA officers who were supposed to safeguard privileged information under their care. No further updates were released over the leak of the footage.
The public might remember that in January 2014, a mentally unsound Malaysian woman trespassed into MFA building after she slipped through the ICA checkpoints by tailgating other vehicles. Despite island wide warnings, police officers failed to notice her or her vehicle.
The competency of the Home Team was questioned again in September 2014 when Adam Christopher Whittington sneaked into
Singapore illegally without clearance via an unsecured Raffles Marina Pier where there were no ICA officers on duty.
Even the life-saving force SCDF got embroiled in controversy when a group of unruly specialist trainees in Civil Defence Academy were caught on tape smoking and destroyed properties that belonged to SCDF.
The only home team agency that probably deserves public praise is CNB, the nation’s anti-narcotics agency. Looking through
its public statements , the CNB could praise itself for completing 2-3 successful raids each month on average! But its success on the public front is a stark indicator of its failed anti-drug public campaign and the failure of other enforcement agencies which failed to stem the inflow of drugs and its usage within the underworld.
If these lapses happened due to low pay and long working hours that the ground officers have to go through daily, then the public should question out-of-touch home team scholars who are more eager to please their higher-up for personal glory and go through the motion of their 2-year tour without any regard for the consequences of the policies they put up. These parachutists are a bunch of protected breed with guaranteed career path who are insulated from the reality faced by the ground officers.
I wonder if elitism is the cause of Home Team’s lapses?