Left: SSSGT Lim Qing Feng is a Ground Response Force officer from Serangoon NPC, whose duties include responding to ‘999’ emergency calls and patrolling the neighbourhood. SSSgt Lim received the Home Team Diploma (Study) Sponsorship in 2012 for his Diploma in Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic, and is currently pursuing a full-time degree in Sport Science and Management at Nanyang Technological University under the MHA Degree Scholarship.
Right: Insp Lim Yick Liang, Kagen, a 2015 SPF Book Prize recipient, has a degree in Psychology in National University of Singapore. He will be heading to Columbia University for a Masters in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS), before pursuing his career with the SPF.
The Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) mission is to prevent, deter and detect crime. However, it is interesting to know that the SPF also nurtures promising individuals and helps them achieve their ambitions through its various scholarships and sponsorships.
Inspector (Insp) Lim Yick Liang, Kagen and Senior Staff Sergeant (SSSgt) Lim Qing Feng are recipients of the SPF Scholarship (SPFS) and SPF Book Prize, and the Home Team Diploma (Study) Sponsorship respectively.
The duo shared with us how the SPF has helped them with their academic pursuits and career aspirations.
A Childhood Dream Materialised
Insp Lim remembers witnessing the professionalism of the Singapore Police Force during his childhood days. He was on the way home from school with his mother when they saw some young men fighting at his void deck, prompting his mother to quickly call the police. The young boy was so impressed with the police officers’ prompt and appropriate response, he developed an interest to serve others in their time of need.
He developed and matured through various leadership roles in Secondary School and Junior College afterwards. Alongside his good grades, these achievements helped him attain the SPF Book Prize in 2015, a prestigious award given to outstanding second-year Junior College students, or equivalent, to encourage them to continue excelling in school.
“Grades are only one part of [the Book Prize selection criteria],” he noted. “The assessment is holistic. Co-curricular activity (CCA), community service, and the like are also taken into account. In general, I think trying out and exploring new activities also really helps you learn about what you enjoy too.”
A Beautiful Mind
Insp Lim enjoys reading in his free time. He recommended “Thinking Fast & Slow” by Daniel Kahneman as a nice introduction into our own biases as consumers of information and news.
The SPF Book Prize gave him a taste of what a career in the SPF entailed. As a recipient, he experienced a ground attachment with a Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC), observed security operations for the New Year’s Day countdown festivities, and had many opportunities to interact with police officers to hear from their experiences. Even the panel interview for the award was eye-opening for him, as the interviewers’ questions strengthened his resolve to join the Force.
“I learned about the whole gamut of police work,” Insp Lim elaborated. “Members of the public might most commonly see police officers patrolling their neighbourhoods, but the job is a lot more varied than what most people might think.”
Insp Lim realised his childhood ambition when he joined the police through attaining the SPFS. He continued to express his dedication to his cause in his choice of degree, electing to read Psychology in the National University of Singapore, alongside a multidisciplinary programme at the University Scholars Programme (USP). Insp Lim knew that his degree would provide him with skills and knowledge relevant to a policing career.
“One thing that excited me about psychology is that it seeks to uncover explanations that underlie human behaviour. I have been equipped with new ways of thinking about societal problems like crime, based both on psychological research as well as my grounding in other academic disciplines that I encountered in USP modules,” explained Insp Lim.
Another useful takeaway for him was a focus on research and statistical techniques. (As part of policy work, government agencies often deal with big data.)
He will be pursuing a Masters in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (QMSS) at Columbia University, and he looks forward to apply his knowledge when he starts work with the SPF.
“There are various job postings such as investigation postings, planning and policy postings, as well as command postings. Police officers experience a range of these domains of work. I look forward to learning from my seniors and peers, and serving in each of these postings.”
And perhaps someday soon, he may inspire someone else to join the SPF.
Working on the Ground Level
Even after eight years in the Force, SSSgt Lim still clearly recalled how the SPF helped him with his first step towards a tertiary education by sponsoring his Diploma in Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic under the Home Team Diploma (Study) Sponsorship.
“At that time, I did not set my mind to becoming a police officer, because I did not know what policing is about,” he admitted.
However, the more SSSgt Lim learned about his work while on the job, the more determined he became to stay. Most definitely, becoming a Ground-Response Force (GRF) officer allowed him to embrace SPF as his calling.
“Before I became a police officer, I had the perception that a police officer is someone whom I call when I need help. But after becoming a police officer, I understand that there is more to it than that. When we attend to [people], we come to understand their problems and try to help them with what they are facing.”
These revelations were inspired by his work on the ground as the first port of call for any distressed citizen. He proudly described how he inspires public confidence through detailed explanations and precise referrals, with enforcement as a last resort.
Recalling a case where he was called to restrain an unruly youth “acting out”, he detailed how he not only calmed the boy down but also took care to advise his family to connect with the Ministry of Social Services who could help him further. The case showed him the multifaceted meaning behind “serving the people” as he not only administered the law but also served as a facilitator, “connecting the family aspect and the social aspect so that they know where they can seek proper help”.
These experiences strengthened his commitment to the SPF so much that he took on the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Degree Scholarship. Through the scholarship, SSSgt Lim is currently pursuing a degree in Sport Science and Management at Nanyang Technological University.
“I always had plans to further my studies,” he mused. “But due to financial issues, I decided to sign on with the police first. Through my work, I learnt that SPF sponsors further education as well. I applied for the scholarship, and here I am.”
The SPF has supported SSSgt Lim’s academic pursuits every step of the way and he looks forward to contributing back to the organisation that believed in him. He aims to work as an Investigation Officer for his future posting and subsequently progress on to a supervisory role. “Once I get some hands-on experience in each area, I will understand the investigation process better and make better decisions,” he reasoned.
And for those with similar ambitions? SSSgt Lim offered some advice: “Many students are concerned about whether there will be risks involved. There definitely are, but if you have an interest in police work – go for it! Because only then will you know how far you can develop as a person, just like how the SPF has developed me to who I am today.”