Chasing speed demons all in a day's work for female officer in Traffic Police's elite unit, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Chasing speed demons all in a day's work for female officer in Traffic Police's elite unit

In all black riding gear, Sergeant Joey Png operates stealthily on a Traffic Police (TP) black BMW RT 1250, ready to pounce.

She is 1.61m tall and weighs only 53kg, but she cuts an intimidating figure when she is on her bike, which can be almost seven times heavier than her when fully loaded.

"When I'm on the road, people actually approach me and say, 'Wow, I've never seen a female officer before, especially one riding a big bike. A lady riding is very rare'," said the 34-year-old, who joined the police in 2012 and was immediately posted to the TP as a patrol officer.

Sgt Png is a member of the Special Operations Team (SOT), an elite group within the TP that performs covert operations and VIP escorts for local and foreign dignitaries.

They also tackle illegal racing, and sometimes find themselves in high-speed chases.

In the last two months alone, the TP said they dealt with 22,447 speeding-related violations.

There were 69,291 such violations in the first half of this year, compared with 66,480 last year.

Those caught speeding face demerit points and fines ranging from $150 to $400, and drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 40kmh must appear in court.

There were 231 accidents related to speeding in the last two months, with 487 reported in the first half this year, compared with 474 in the same period last year.

Sgt Png has had her fair share of dealing with motorists with a need to speed.

Although she declined to provide specific details, she said she and other SOT members were deployed to a large carpark in the east after a tip-off that an illegal race was about to start.

Many of the drivers turned up in "fancy cars", she said.

"We will usually engage the organiser and ask them to help disperse them safely. So we did our job, at least to prevent... some illegal racing or some high-speed chases," said Sgt Png.

Those hoping to be police outriders have to clear the 270m-long Class 2 Specialised course at the Police Driving Circuit in Admiralty.

Sergeant Joey Png is a member of the Special Operations Team, an elite group within the Traffic Police. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


The Straits Times witnessed the riders navigate the challenging course on BMW RT 1250s. They had to manoeuvre the heavy machine around tight turns and over obstacles, including planks only 30cm wide and a series of bumps.

Sgt Png passed the TP's mandatory circuit training in one try.

While she already had a motorcycle licence, it is not a prerequisite to join the TP.

It was a chance encounter at 17 when she was an Institute of Technical Education student that spurred her to pursue a Class 2B licence.

"I was at Plaza Singapura when I saw a Malay woman wearing a tudung riding a red Vespa, and I was inspired," recalled Sgt Png, who owns a Vespa and is single.

There are 12 other female outriders in the TP, all riding the BMW RT 1250, in use since last year.

Sgt Png said that while her uniform can look intimidating, motorists are often surprised when she lifts her helmet visor.

"When female officers talk to violators, we are like peacemakers. Our tone can actually help calm them down," she added.