DSP Clarinda Wong is the Commanding Officer of Woodlands East NPC, where she oversees the NPC's direction and her officers' development. She received the Singapore Government Scholarship in 2008, and went on to study Chemical Engineering with International Studies at the University of Birmingham.
Singapore enjoys one of the lowest crime rates in the world. This is a testimony to the dedication and hard work of our Home Team, which operates on multiple fronts to keep us safe. From crisis negotiation, enforcement and ex-offender rehabilitation to immigration and checkpoints security, the Home Team stands united against crime on every front.
Also, a deep sense of purpose galvanises members of the Home Team to do their best, and more, in their respective positions. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Clarinda Wong Jiefeng, Commanding Officer of Woodlands East Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), is undaunted by her huge responsibilities, overseeing nearly a hundred officers and negotiating effectively in life-or-death situations. Instead, she welcomes the opportunity to serve the country to her utmost ability.
It Begins at Home
DSP Wong knew she wanted to be in the public service since her childhood days. It was only natural, as her father was a police officer himself.
"Given how interesting and varied one's career can be and the sense of satisfaction my father derived from solving cases and upholding law and order, I wanted to embark on the same career," she recalled. "Furthermore, I have always wanted to give back to society, and joining the Public Service was a natural route."
Her hard work was rewarded when she received the Singapore Government Scholarship in 2008, sponsoring her Masters in Chemical Engineering with International Studies at the University of Birmingham.
The Training Days
"If you ask me if there were instances in the Force where I could apply what I had studied, for the technical aspects, the answer is definitely ‘no'," smiled DSP Wong.
However, two key takeaways from her university education would prove indispensable to her work even now, eight years later.
The first is an engineering mindset, an individual's ability to think logically and analyse situations calmly and critically. DSP Wong attributes her ability to stay calm and see through difficult operations in the field to that training.
The second is an open mind and a willingness to listen to alternate perspectives, born from interacting with many different cultures and perspectives during her time abroad.
A Key Negotiator
DSP Wong's ability to put herself in someone else's shoes is critical to her work in the Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU), where she holds a secondary appointment as a Negotiator.
"The mission of the CNU is to save lives by defusing potentially life-threatening situations through negotiation. Whenever we are activated, we operate as a team, taking up different roles to ensure that the primary and secondary negotiators are fully supported."
"We always feel a sense of relief and satisfaction when we help to prevent the loss of lives," she said. She described a case where multiple agencies were negotiating with a man who had barricaded himself in his flat. Her experience allowed her to make the vital call to breach the unit and bring him to safety.
Her foremost position as Commanding Officer of Woodlands East NPC requires her to make such calls almost daily, as she sets the direction for her NPC and oversees the development of her officers. In this endeavour, she is grateful for the support and the close-knitted work culture at SPF.
"We are a close-knitted community that values camaraderie. We trust and respect our colleagues and treat them like our family," she said. "Experienced officers are generous in sharing their expertise with those following in their footsteps, and everyone works hard together for a common goal, to prevent, deter and detect crime."
Officer development and crime prevention are always works-in-progress, and DSP Wong is careful to instil that mindset in her officers as well.
"I am of the view that the status quo, while comfortable, is not necessarily the best," she said. "We should always look at how we can improve current work equipment, tools and processes."
A Feel for the Force
Alongside new inventions come new blood, and DSP Wong is enthusiastic to welcome more people to her home – the Home Team.
There is a lot in it for a prospective officer as well: "We offer a structured yet varied career path that caters for different officers with different interests."
"Whether you are interested in investigations, intelligence or operational work, officers will find their journey with the SPF a rewarding one with no days being the same."