Budget Book KPIs
The increase in theft and related offences, especially in
relation to handphones, is one of the reasons for the increase in
the number of seizable offences, as reflected in the Budget Book.
Another key reason for this increase is more intensive Police
enforcement against drink driving, which reflects the Home Team¡¯s
commitment to keep our roads safe.
To address Mr Low Thia Khiang¡¯s and Mr Charles Chong¡¯s query
about MHA¡¯s key performance indicators, may I say that except for an
increasing crime trend, the Home Team has met, if not exceeded, most
of its key performance targets in FY2004, and is expected to do as
well for FY2005despite heightened security demands and limited
As regards the targets set
for our indicators, I should point out that, among the targets for
key performance indicators mentioned by Mr Low, two of them were
actually revised upwards in FY04. For ¡°percentage of urgent cases
responded to within 15 minutes¡±, the target was revised from 85% to
87%, while the target of ¡°percentage of non-urgent cases responded
to within 30 minutes¡± was raised from 85% to 90%. The upward
adjustment was due in part to a sustained period of good
performance. And while the actual performances on these two
indicators from FY03 to FY05 have declined as reflected in the
Budget Book, they have still exceeded their performance targets.
Despite heightened security
demands, we have kept those two targets constant since FY04 and they
are thus projected at 87 per cent and 90 per cent respectively for
FY06. In addition, the target for ¡°percentage of 999 calls answered
within 10 seconds¡± has remained constant and was not adjusted
downwards; it remains at a stringent 90 per cent between FY03 to
FY05. Although the performance for this target declined slightly
from 99 per cent in FY03 to 97.4 per cent in FY05, a 1.6 per cent
point difference, it still exceeds the target of 90 per cent.
We should therefore look at MHA¡¯s performance on these KPIs in perspective, and remember that
they are all 90 per cent or better, despite recently revising two of
our targets upwards. Notwithstanding that, we will continue to do
our best to improve our performance vis-¨¤-vis the targets.
Mr Low Thia Khiang asked if
there has been a compromise on neighborhood security due to the
focus on counter terrorism and hosting of high profile international
events like the IMF World Bank meetings. Let me assure members that
there we will continue to pay close attention to neighborhood
policing and security. The Home Team has been able to manage its
limited resources effectively, so that we can balance the different
competing demands while maintaining high levels of operational
readiness and effectiveness.
While the headcount policy
does impose some constraints on the ministry, we have been able to
manage the increase in demands because of the corporatisation of
CISCO, which came into effect last year. As such, we have kept
manpower resources in the Police relatively stable, at about 8,000
regular Police officers. If we include the National Service and
non-uniformed component, the Police's strength has increased from
35,500 in 2001 to 37,200 in 2005.
Ultimately, what matters is not
having a ubiquitous and pervasive Police presence but the
effectiveness of the Policing strategy. This is translated into the
sense of security people feel when they walk around Singapore.
Safety and security are valued dimensions in the quality of life in
Singapore. In the first nation-wide Safety and Security Survey
conducted in Oct 2004, 83 per cent of the respondents felt safe in
the neighborhood they lived in and 70 per cent did not see crime as
a problem. Foreigners have consistently provided feedback that they
are amazed at how safe they feel when walking on the streets of
Singapore in the wee hours of the night. They find this all the more
impressive because they do not see an overwhelming police presence.
Ms Indranee Rajah has also asked about the increase in
gun-related incidents. From the data we have for the past 5 years on
firearm offences, it appears that the recent gun-related incidents
are isolated incidents. Between 2001 and 2005, there were only two
cases of firearm offences, one in 2002 andanother in 2003.
While we need not be overly
concerned about violent crimes involving firearms becoming a serious
problem in Singapore, we will continue nevertheless to be vigilant
and maintain our tough, zero-tolerance stance towards firearm
offences. This is backed by the Arms Offences Act, which prescribes
heavy punishment, including the death penalty, for offenders
convicted of trafficking in arms or committing or attempting to
commit scheduled offences with arms.
Sir, another crime which has an impact on the overall law and
order situation is that of unlicenced moneylending or loansharking.
Dr Tan Boon Wan has asked for an update of the loanshark situation
since we amended the Moneylenders Act, which came into effect on the
1st of January this year. Thus far, 7 people have been charged under
the new Moneylenders Act for unlicensed moneylending with 2 of them
simultaneously facing additional charges of harassment.
Since then, Police has also conducted three successful major
operations which led to the arrest of 36 people. Cash amounting to
$170,000 were seized together with notebooks, desktop computers and
mobile phones. These operations have been made possible because
Police has centralised and beefed up its intelligence and
enforcement resources under the Anti-Unlicensed Moneylending Task
Forceat the Criminal Investigation Department to tackle this
Sir, the process of taking
down an unlicensed moneylending syndicate, or any criminal
syndicates such as drug trafficking for that matter, requires
detailed and lengthy investigations and intelligence gathering.
Therefore, it will take some time before we can see the full effect
of the enhanced efforts to tackle this problem. We are making good
progress, and the overall assessment is that the enhanced penalties
under the Moneylenders Act, the use of the Criminal Law (Temporary
Provisions) Act, our policy of cancelling the passports of convicted
or detained higher-tier loansharks as well as more intensive
enforcement actions by the Police are beginning to have an impact on
the ground. Police is also working with other Government agencies,
such as Ministry of Law, Housing Development Board and Monetary
Authority of Singapore to deal with the problem comprehensively. We
will continue to put pressure on these loansharks, to make it more
difficult for them to operate in Singapore.
Mr Tan also asked about the
case of the woman who suffered a miscarriage after confronting a
loanshark. At this stage, we are unable to reveal any details on
this case as investigations are ongoing. However, I wish to assure
the House that Police takes a stern view of unlicensed money lending
activities and will not let up on its efforts to bring to justice
the culprit of this case and for other cases.
Strategies to Tackle
Sir, my Ministry will continue to
monitor crime trends, adjust our crime-fighting strategies and make
legislative amendments if necessary to enhance deterrence. One of
the strategies that the Police will continue to pursue is a strong
partnership with the community in preventing crime. This recent
partnership with the community went back a long way and I thank
Singaporeans for their contributions in community policing.
Engaging the Community
Police will work with
grassroots organisations to promote a greater sense of vigilance in
the neighbourhood. In particular, grassroots volunteers, such as
those in the Citizens-on-Patrol (COP) scheme, would be encouraged to
pay particular attention to HDB void decks and other common areas
during their patrols. Police will also leverage on the Neighbourhood
Watch Zone (NWZ) scheme to rope in more residents to help look out
for one another and inform Police of suspicious persons loitering in
The SMS Crime Alert Services
is another new initiative by the Police. Under this scheme, Police
will send SMS messages to alert community leaders, Neighbourhood
Watch Zone volunteers and business associations on salient crime
trends. This has been tried out on a pilot basis since August last
year and Police will consider extending the SMS alert service to the
wider community this year.
Police is also working with
Town Councils to install CCTVs in common areas at HDB estates, such
as the ground lift landings and void decks, as a crime prevention
measure as well as to deter littering and other localised problems.
In view of the high incidence
of crimes involving handphones, Police is implementing measures to
disrupt the disposal of stolen handphones. Since June 2005, where
there are reasons to do so, Police has checked the International
Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number of handphones of persons who
are stopped by the Police. In April 2006, a website will be set up
to enable the public to check if a used handphone they intend to
purchase has been reported stolen.
Police will also step up its public education efforts through a
poster advertisement campaign to remind the public to be alert
against handphone and other crimes.
Sir, while the crime rate has
gone up in 2005, the overall law and order situation remains well
under control. Singapore remains still one of the safest cities in
Sir, the Home Team will
continue to work closely with the community to ensure that Singapore
remains a safe and secure best home for us all. This is because
keeping Singapore safe and secure is not just the responsibility of MHA alone. Indeed, public-assisted arrests accounted for 42 per cent
of the arrest of criminals involved in outraging of modesty,
housebreaking, robbery, motor vehicle theft, snatch theft, murder
and rape in 2005. I think very few countries in the world can
achieve this rate of public-assisted arrests. Every Singaporean has
a part to play, whether it is making sure that his handphone is not
carelessly left around or his home properly secured. Every
Singaporean can help beat crime by being vigilant and by alerting
the Police of any suspicious activity in the neighbourhood.
To summarise, crime remains a
key aspect of MHA¡¯s focus. This however should not and must not
detract us from our fight to keep terrorists out of Singapore and to
put in place measures to deal with a terrorist incident if one ever
happens in Singapore. But low crime does not mean no crime.