Retention bonus for police
Tue, Aug 26, 2008
The Straits Times

JUNIOR police officers will get a retention bonus this year as part of measures to keep them in the force in their first eight years of service, said Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng.

Mr Wong said recruitment and retention of these young officers has been adversely affected by the tighter labour market.

Since 2004, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has lost many police officers - from 221 in 2004 to 332 in 2007, a 50 per cent increase.

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(Recruitment and Retention)

Ms Ellen Lee Geck Hoon:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs whether the Singapore Police Force is experiencing higher attrition and slower recruitment of police officers due to the tight labour market and, if so, what are the plans to enhance recruitment and retention of police officers, in particular the younger officers.

Mr Wong Kan Seng:

For graduate Senior Police Officers (SOs), recruitment and retention has remained stable and strong despite the tighter labour market.

For Junior Police Officers (JOs), however, recruitment and retention has been adversely affected by the tighter labour market. Since 2004, SPF has had more POs leaving the service; from 221 in 2004 to 332 in 2007, a 50% increase. As for recruitment, the numbers dropped initially in 2005 (from 419 in 2004 to 350 in 2005), but has since improved (350 in 2006 to 407 in 2007).

Despite the stronger recruitment numbers, SPF is still unable to meet its recruitment needs to address the higher demands placed on the Force. Apart from the threat from terrorism, the growth of Singapore as a (place for) Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Meetings (MICE) has resulted in more high-profile meetings and large scale events such as the F1 and the Youth Olympics being hosted here. To ensure the safety and security of such events, SPF has had to develop new capabilities with a resultant increase in manpower.

To meet this demand in a tight labour market, SPF will have to adapt quickly to increase recruitment and retention.

Building on the recruitment momentum generated over the past 3 years, the SPF launched its new recruitment campaign with the slogan "Realise your talent in the real world" in January 2008. This was accompanied by a series of road shows in shopping malls to more effectively reach prospective applicants.

SPF has also increased its recruiting presence in schools to highlight the Police Force as an attractive career choice. Besides the traditional career fairs at JCs, Polytechnics, ITEs and secondary schools, a recent innovative initiative was the introduction of a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Competition for students which leverages on the popular TV drama "CSI".

As remuneration is a key consideration for job applicants, we had reviewed the remuneration package for our Police Officers as part of our overall review of the Home Affairs Uniformed Service (HUS) Schemes last year to ensure that we stay competitive. To address the issue of retention, we will be paying a retention bonus this year to our junior officers with the specific aim of retaining these young officers in the first 8 years of service. With these changes, we hope to attract and retain our younger officers.

Beyond remuneration, the SPF has improved its career development framework in recognition of the fact that many POs leave service because of higher career aspirations. With more officers taking up degree courses to upgrade themselves, there are stronger aspirations today to become a Senior Officer. To meet these aspirations, the SPF has, since 2007, enhanced its career development framework to allow more appointments and promotions into the SOs ranks for deserving POs.

In summary, despite challenging labour market conditions, SPF and MHA will continue to pursue an aggressive recruitment and retention strategy so as to remain competitive and attractive as a choice employer.


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