Don't mess with these teacher-cops

Don't mess with these teacher-cops
Bukit Panjang Government High School teachers Lim Jun Sheng (in police uniform) and Zizi Elliza (third from left) speaking to some students last Friday.

SINGAPORE - Mr Robin Chia belongs to a growing group of schoolteachers that do more than just teach.

Besides giving lessons, the 56-year-old, who has been teaching for 34 years, also conducts patrols and checks on students in his school. If his students run afoul of the law, he can even arrest them.

Sounds no different from a policeman? That is because Mr Chia actually is one.

As an honorary Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) officer, he is vested with full police powers, privileges and immunities to deal with student-related matters that occur within the school premises, its immediate vicinity and other venues where school activities are held, said a police spokesman.

The bad news for troublemakers in schools is that there are more of these "teacher-cops" like Mr Chia.

When the scheme was launched in 1997, mainly to battle youth crime, only 11 teachers from five secondary schools signed up. Today, there are 293 teacher-cops in over 140 secondary schools and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) campuses.

These officers have to go through 10 days of non-residential basic training at the Home Team Academy, where they learn about the law and acquire self-defence skills. They are also taught how to identify the troubled teens in school.

The scheme seems to be working.

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