In RP, she keeps an eagle eye out for students and colleagues. But when she dons her bright-blue Citizens on Patrol vest after work, Ms Linda Liew plays her part in keeping her neighbourhood safe.
Introduced in 1999, the Citizens on Patrol programme encourages the community to play a more active role in safeguarding the neighbourhoods. Volunteers join police officers on foot patrols to deter crime and help spread crime prevention messages. There are currently over 700 COP groups in Singapore.
Ms Liew, the Programme Chair of the Common Business Programme in RP, started volunteering in the Citizens on Patrol programme in 2016 after her husband signed up as a volunteer and she feared for his safety. “My first thought was, ‘Oh no, you’re going to do a lot of dangerous things’, so I wanted to tag along,” she said.
On her patrols, Ms Liew has encountered, amongst other things, an unattended bag left at a bus stop, a car with its doors left open by its owner and even came face-to-face with a family of wild boars. One of the wild boars was grunting and preparing to charge at the volunteers. “Thankfully, we were on our bicycles, so my husband said slowly turn around and just ride for your life,” said Ms Liew.
On another occasion, Ms Liew helped to calm a stray cat that wanted to cross a busy road. Eventually, the cat followed her home and the family adopted the cat.
Beyond patrols, Ms Liew also speaks to residents and spreads crime prevention tips on scams and housebreaking. “It may seem like a simple exercise, but to be able to reach out to the residents, it made me feel that I contributed in my own way to the safety and security for Singapore, our home,” she said.
Ms Liew urged RP students to contribute to their community too. “I think people in general, we always think about ourselves – we don’t think about our neighbours next door, we don’t think about our auntie who lives next block. We need to be a little bit more civic-minded. We need to show our care and concern to all the people around us,” she said.