Wanted by police: Recruits looking for more than a job

Wanted by police: Recruits looking for more than a job
Staff Sgt Ong tells potential recruits about incidents she handled during her four years as a front-line officer.

SINGAPORE - The police are changing their pitch to potential recruits in a bid to attract the right men and women for the job.

The focus has shifted from drama and excitement to the "purpose-driven" nature of police work, said manpower director Senior Assistant Commissioner Hung Hooi Tan.

"In the current 'More than a job' recruitment campaign, we adopted a different slant (and) highlighted instead how police officers in their different vocations can make a real and direct impact on the community on a daily basis," he said.

Staff Sergeant Ong Chao Hui, one of 313 career advisers in the force, said she gets asked at job fairs how often she is part of a stakeout, raid or ambush.

"They are very much influenced by TV shows like CSI (crime scene investigation), or Hong Kong police dramas," she said. "Many think police work is all about action-packed cases and apprehending criminals."

Real-life policing, however, is interesting in a different way. When she meets potential recruits, the 30-year-old makes it a point to recount incidents from her four years as a front-line officer, dealing with everything from disputes between neighbours to theft and suicide cases.

"I remember a woman who was devastated after her husband jumped to his death, and wanted to grab a knife from the kitchen and end her life," she said. "But we managed to hold her down and talk her out of it."

Perennial questions raised by would-be officers include those about the rigours of shift work and pay, said Staff Sgt Ong.

The force, however, is increasingly getting asked about scholarships and opportunities for further studies and upgrading.

"Quite a number of (applicants) are actually interested because, financially, they want to start work early, while at the same time they want to eventually further their studies and join the senior officer track," she said.

This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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