DPM Heng Swee Keat Recalls Police Case As He Commemorates 200 Years Of SPF

Police officers help ensure the safety and security of Singapore by preventing, stopping, and spotting crimes. Though we might not see them in action every day, they are crucial to helping our society function.

As the Singapore Police Force (SPF) marks its 200th Anniversary this year, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Heng Swee Keat shared an encounter from years ago when he was a young police officer.

The event, which involved a deceased old lady’s wealth, has reportedly impacted DPM Heng to this day.


Through the incident, DPM Heng reportedly understood the importance of certain values that are key to community policing in Singapore.

DPM Heng recalls experience as a young police officer

As the Parliament passed a motion on Tuesday (3 Aug) to commemorate 200 years of the SPF, DPM Heng also made a speech to give thanks to the Force.


DPM Heng excitedly shared about his experience as a police officer back in the days. He had joined the SPF in 1980, 15 years after Singapore’s independence.


He shared that the Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) system had reportedly just been implemented while he was in his second year.

The system was modelled after the Japanese Kōban system where officers would be assigned to different parts of the country to keep a general watch.

He was excited to be part of this effort as it meant he had more investigation opportunities. Little did he know, one of the cases he had to attend to would deeply disturb him.

Case involving deceased old lady’s wealth

The case involved an old lady who had been deceased for several days in a rented cubicle in Chinatown. As she was living alone, no one was aware of the situation until the stench got too unbearable.

During the investigation, DPM Heng uncovered a sum of cash and gold jewellery that the deceased had left behind. He then decided to trace the elderly’s next-of-kin to return the valuables.

Later on, many of the lady’s alleged relatives turned up to retrieve the items. However, it was questionable if they really knew the deceased at all, as they were unable to say what they had done with and for her.

Strong relations with community is key to maintaining order

From that incident, DPM learnt that building strong relations with the community was crucial if the police wanted to maintain law and order.

As DPM Heng was involved in implementing NPPs across Singapore, he made sure that house visits were conducted regularly and that residents were given crime prevention advice.

Officers were also told to encourage neighbours to form Neighbourhood Watch Groups to keep their estates safe.

Police officers have contributed greatly to S’pore’s safety

SPF has come a long way since its inception 200 years ago and have played a key role in maintaining law and order in Singapore.

It’s heartening to hear of the lessons DPM Heng learned from his SPF stint, which must’ve shaped his views even today as a senior politician.

Thank you to all SPF officers past and present for their dedication, contribution, and sacrifices for making Singapore a safer place for everyone.

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Featured image adapted from Heng Swee Keat on Facebook