Top cop wants: 1,000 more policemen

Top cop wants: 1,000 more policemen

SINGAPORE - The Commissioner of Police Ng Joo Hee wants to recruit 1,000 more cops to beef up the police's anti-riot capability while keeping Singapore safe, he told the Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the Dec 8 riot on March 25.

The extra manpower will let him raise an additional tactical troop specialised in tackling riots and police hot spots, and increase the number of officers who patrol the streets and neighbourhoods. It would also allow the police to train its front-line officers better.

Mr Ng said that there was a manpower crunch as police ranks have not kept pace with Singapore's population growth over the years. In 1994, there were 222 officers for every 100,000 residents here. Now there are 163.

This also affects the size of anti-riot squads, better known as Police Tactical Troops (PTT) under the Special Operations Command. Mr Ng told the COI that the way to "increase police robustness before the next disturbance comes around is to build up rather than to cut down on our contingency forces".

"My intention, if I have the resources, is to raise an additional PTT to be on standby at any one time. If we are able to do this, we can increase our rioting fighting capability by 50 per cent and create the ability to bring a far larger force to bear to an incident," he said.

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