She went from rat race to cracking tough cases

SINGAPORE - For five years, Samantha Fong Shu Yi planned events and ran marketing campaigns in commercial companies.

But the 25-year-old decided to trade her corporate wear for the blue uniform in 2012 and become a police officer.

Sergeant Fong said she wanted a change of pace because she "grew quite tired of being desk-bound and working long hours for my bosses' profit".

"For me, a job has to have a sense of purpose, and not the sole purpose of drawing a monthly salary. This motivates me to put in my best at work every day," she added.

She is among a growing pool of mid-careerists that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is looking at to boost its ranks.

An average of 6.5 per cent of new hires in the last two years held jobs previously, a police spokesman told My Paper. "As the younger generations - for example, Gen Y - are increasingly inclined to move around different jobs and careers, SPF is also exploring this alternative talent pool to boost our recruitment outreach," she said.

Among them are former police officers who rejoin the force after being away for four to five years.

The spokesman added that these former police officers - typically between 26 and 30 years old - are relatively young and "there is no significant decline" in their fitness level.

Turning to mid-careerists and those with previous policing experience has helped to push up the recruitment numbers by 40 per cent over the last three years, said the SPF.

Amid the labour crunch, the police are attracting new hires and retaining officers by offering sign-on bonuses and sponsoring university studies.

For instance, new officers with full A-level or diploma qualifications will get a sign-on bonus of $10,000 upon attaining the rank of sergeant.

These moves come amid police commissioner Ng Joo Hee's plan to recruit 1,000 more police officers, following the Little India riot six months ago.

For Sgt Fong, who is based at the Bishan Neighbourhood Police Centre, her previous stint in the corporate sector has helped her in her current job.

For instance, her experience in people management has helped her to "deal with people from all walks of life", and her stress management skills allow her "to make decisions quickly while remaining composed, and ensuring that all areas have been covered".

Although Sgt Fong had to get used to the regulations and shift system in the police force, she relishes the times when she cracks tough cases.

"As a police officer, I am empowered to help members of the public in ways that I would not be able to as a regular citizen. This gives me a lot of emotional fulfilment that most other jobs would not be able to provide," she said.

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