Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world, and this is in part thanks to the efforts of our men and women in blue, the officers of the Singapore Police Force (SPF). As our protectors, SPF officers work tirelessly to prevent, deter, and detect crime, contributing to the peace and security of the nation.
Taking up a career in the SPF requires passion and dedication for what you do. It requires tenacity and toughness when dealing with suspects, but also demands empathy and the ability to be sensitive in your approach when interacting with victims of a crime. On top of that, it presents an opportunity to experience strong camaraderie with those who share your ideals and motivations.
A career in the SPF is an exciting one with many different ways in which you can serve, something which 25-year-old Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ng Li Ki attests to.
A Desire To Serve
ASP Ng knew that he wanted a career in public service from the start. As much as he appreciated the innovation and vitality that can often be found in the private sector, he was motivated by a desire to work for the common good and found public service to be a better fit.
“The SPF stood out for me as I can get to know the real Singapore through our policing work. The prospect of a few solid developmental years at the frontline appealed more than the paths that other scholarships provided,” he explains when asked what spurred him to pick the SPF over roles in other government agencies.
While the career is dynamic and exciting, there are additional opportunities that are available under the scholarship programme. “As a scholar, your career path is well-planned with different roles and responsibilities that will best develop you at different stages and prepare you for future appointments,” ASP Ng elaborates. “What the scholarship did add is an appreciation of the wider social phenomena surrounding policing work, and a larger perspective on how the various parts of the SPF fit together.”
Ng Li Ki
Singapore Police Force Scholarship (Overseas)
Investigation Officer (Tanglin Police Division)
BA Philosophy, Politics and Economics – University of Oxford
Masters in China Studies – Peking University
Embracing The Challenge
A career with the SPF is admittedly not the easiest – one which comes with heavy responsibilities. But even as he acknowledges this, ASP Ng describes it as a journey of constant aspiration and improvement on both a personal and professional level. He shares, “You are in a uniformed organisation. You are subjected to a strict code of conduct which is arguably one of the most stringent across the public service. As a police officer, you shoulder heavy responsibilities and have expectations to live up to.”
His current role as an Investigation Officer sees ASP Ng taking over cases during the follow-up investigation. He elaborates, “In this role, I see through much of the criminal justice process. I make decisions about arresting persons, about crime scene management, investigative strategies, and what a just outcome should look like. Our work is what oils the criminal justice system – we keep it moving.”
This contrasts with his previous role as a Ground Response Force Officer, where he was the first responder for incidents on the ground. Going forward, ASP Ng expects the nature of his work to keep changing with his future postings.
ASP Ng affirms that a career with the SPF presents interesting and deeply engaging work. It is one where you will rarely be left yearning for excitement; where you will often meet people from all walks of life. As an Investigation Officer, it is his job to uncover and understand what drives someone to act in a certain way. When asked about the most fulfilling aspect of his job, he replies without hesitation: “I like bringing peace of mind to people. I like resolving disputes. I feel rewarded when a grievance is resolved, or when someone sleeps better at night because of something I have done.”
Contributing To Singapore’s Future Security
Those interested in a career with the SPF should first and foremost be prepared to deal with people. Understanding people is a skill that you will hone over the course of your career, and there might be situations where you are expected to exercise judgement in highly stressful and delicate situations. “The job is a lot more about people than you might think. Because of that, the job is not a black-and-white one. There are many grey areas to navigate,” ASP Ng states simply. Versatility in interacting with others is also key, not just in your interactions with members of public, but also for your colleagues and officers whom you might be leading.
ASP Ng’s advice for aspiring police officers is to seek out conversations which can help you to better understand what a career at the SPF really entails. “Policing is a calling. One must understand that it requires dedication and perseverance. It is not a glitzy or glamorous life, but the work matters.”