Officers on TransCom's transformation as it marks 10th anniversary
Public Transport Security Command officers past and present talk about the unit's evolution as it marks its 10th anniversary
When the unit first started, its officers sometimes stood on white stools at MRT stations to monitor crowds. Ten years later, the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) has come a long way, with officers from the unit performing the task in an operations control room.
At a media event yesterday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the specialised Singapore Police Force unit, TransCom officers past and present talked about the challenges and how the unit has evolved.
The unit started operations on Aug 15, 2009, with about 100 officers, and the task was to counter terrorism. Today, the unit has about 600 officers and the crimes they tackle include outrage of modesty, theft and the taking of upskirt videos and pictures.
Last year, TransCom officers made 723 proactive arrests.
Their first commander, Mr Andy Tan, helmed the unit from 2009 to 2011. Now the director of the Centre for Protective Security, he told the media: "Back then, I used to have my men trace the MRT lines and memorise the routes. But that was when there were only three MRT lines."
In July, the command formed its first community engagement programme, known as Riders-On-Watch (ROW), with about 26,000 volunteers.
Current TransCom commander, Assistant Commissioner (AC) of Police Koh Wei Keong, said: "Community policing has proven to be successful in keeping crime rates down. So we want to do the same for our public transport security."
Mr Lui Jiagui, 30, a Certis investigation officer, was among the first batch of ROW volunteers.
He had demonstrated community policing when he nabbed a molester who had assaulted three women in less than five minutes at Yishun MRT station.
On Oct 23 last year, Mr Lui saw a man touching a woman's buttocks and then walking away.
Mr Lui followed the man, who then tried to use his elbow to brush against a second woman's chest but missed and grazed her arm. The man then touched another woman's buttocks.
Mr Lui apprehended him and asked a passer-by to call the police.
"That incident inspired me to join ROW," Mr Lui said. "Public transport should be safe for everyone."