SPF should take Lam Keong Yeoh feedback with professionalism and maturity

June 7, 2017

The SPF should have sent Lam Keong Yeoh a NTUC super duper hamper with abalone for his feedback on how to learn and improve community policing in Singapore. But instead the Singapore Police Force (SPF) took what Lam Keong Yeoh highlighted as a direct criticism of its policing process and strategy.

But no matter how SPF chooses to respond to Lam or anyone else concerning its community policing methods…one thing will always stand out – The little India riots in 2013 did indeed raise many thought provoking questions whether there was room for improvement….unfortunately none of it was ever answered.


‘What occured recently in London – when criminals went around mowing and stabbing innocent people indiscriminately underscores how terrorism has changed so dramatically from how it used to be carried out. In the past, terrorist were centrally commanded. There was a definable chain of command, hierarchy and even top down flow chart of decision making that facilitated detection and interdiction by the clandestine services such as Mossad, CIA and M-15

These days these same crimes are committed with seemingly benign objects that are weaponized from trucks to hammers. These attacks seem to be emerging from very small fringe groups that don’t seem to be part of any mainstream terror hegemony or oligarchy. They may be affiliated but the nexus is not strong. It’s a bit like DIY terrorism – where a few nut cases get together and they say, ‘let’s go and mow down and stab as many people as we can.’

This means the methods of waging war has changed and so must the skill of arms – detection has shifted from formal to informal..from the macro level of higlighying and detecting to the micro from the high tech listening post of GCHQ and NSA’s ‘Prism’ to the neighborhood grapevine, from secret agents to the pineapple eyed auntie brigade.

The means of waging war has changed irrevocably so must the methods! In war this axiomatic as it is unforgiving – break this rule and you will lose! Or do something stupid like use horse back cavalry charges against motorised armoured columns.

Surely all this can only heighten terror and even sharpen the sense of vulnerability for the average man or woman not only in London, but every major city in the world as well and Singapore falls into this genre of target cities.

So I understand if people are concerned and even slightly edgy given the backdrop of what has occured recently in London.

And even should they be so concerned enough to point out areas that they believe deserves more attention…it’s not right for officaldom to come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Simply because if that is the sort of pariah dog response that usually follows a constructive criticism or feedback – then most people will just keep mum…why should they stick their necks out when it gets hammered down and if they do that it doesn’t simply mean they don’t care – as much as it translates into the awful reality, this is your baby! You deal with it. Since you seem to be a Mr know it all! And if that sort of blasé cum ambivalent pscyche takes hold in the public sphere….the policeman will find himself marooned. Result: the terrorist will win!

So if it was me…even if I don’t agree with the feedback. I would still hold my tongue smile supremely and say, thank you very much for your insightful feedback. We will definitely look into it. Thank you.

As by adopting an open attitude that is confident and encourages all to contribute their five cents even if it doesn’t make me very happy or reflect too well on my performance…at least I would have already kicked the ball to start a process of recruiting the broader public in the fight against terror…..I need every pair of eyes and ears right now. And the last thing I want to do is alienated the masses.

This is what a strategist would do*.’

*In a war, morale in the homefront can mean the difference between winning and losing. Yes…there is certainly a time to set the record straight…as there might even be a time to quibble about who was right or could it even have been done better. This I don’t disagree. But when the enemy is at the gates….I would rather have a busy body who is asking me ten million times a day what I plan to do about it than to have everyone going about his or her business as if this is something that is outside their scope of involvement. Because no matter what you may say or even should you disagree with the busybody – he knows the urgency of the matter. He appreciates the clear and present risk. Above all he is switched on instead of off. And that is not a bad thing…Because I can use such a person to win! But if all I have is people who are all terminal switched off. Even should they not ask me pesky questions. They are all good for nothing!.

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