Mr. Masagos Zulkifli, Senior Parliamentary Secretary,
Ministry of Education and
Ministry of Home Affairs
Mr. Khoo Boon Hui, Commissioner of Police
Mr. Koh Tin Fook, Director of Technical Cooperation,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to join you here this morning for the opening of the International Seminar on “the Community Policing Strategies evolving from the Koban System of Japan and the NPC System of Singapore”.
Having had the opportunity to attend this Community- Policing course for the third year running, I find it a great honour to participate in this year’s opening ceremony.
Let me first extend my warmest welcome to all the Seminar participants who are engaged in community policing in their respective countries.
This Koban Seminar is part of the Japan-Singapore Partnership Programme for the 21st century, or JSPP21. The JSPP started in 1994, and further developed into the JSPP21 in 1997. Japan and Singapore have worked in close cooperation to extend numerous technical assistance programmes to developing countries.
For the fiscal year 2009, altogether 19 courses have been planned. Among them, we can find the courses on “Public Policy Responses to Global Financial Crisis”, “Economic Development Experience of Singapore”, “Capacity Building for ASEAN Secretariat”, “Maritime Safety”, “Climate Change”, and “Water Resources”. Among these various areas of JSPP21 training courses, the community-policing course has the longest and most successful history. We can say that this seminar has been a flagship program of the JSPP21, and the symbol of Japan-Singapore bilateral cooperation.
(Japan - Koban system)
In Japan, according to the statistics in 2008, there were about 6,000 “Kobans”, or Police Boxes, and about 7,000 “Chuzaishos”, or Residential Police Boxes.
Japan’s Koban system is regarded as one of the important factors that contribute to the maintenance of a safe and peaceful society. The key operating principle of the Koban system or community policing is that the Police should work closely with the community. Officers in Kobans set up in locations all round Japan, provide basic police services, keep watch, respond to emergencies, give directions, or otherwise interact with citizens on a more intimate basis than they could from a more distant station. By working with the community, the Koban officers earn the public’s trust.
(Singapore - NPP & NPC system)
On the other hand, in Singapore, the community- policing approach adopted by the Singapore Police Force has been efficient in reducing crime, and in enhancing the safety and security of the community. The Singapore Police Force has played a pivotal role in Singapore’s nation building, through maintaining the safety and security in the country. It was in 1983, when the first Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) was set up in Toa Payoh district, which was modeled after the Japanese Koban system. Singapore adapted the Japanese Koban system and upgraded it as the NPPs and NPCs (Neighbourhood Police Centres) - to suit its own social environment.
(Purpose of this Seminar)
This seminar on the community-policing is designed to boost the self-help efforts of each country by utilizing the experience and expertise of both Japan and Singapore. Providing the participants with the opportunity to learn about the community-policing system, we try to help them to establish these community-based policing so as to improve safety and security, thus ensuring peace, stability and economic growth of each country.
For the past 14 years, about 320 officials have participated in this seminar. I’m confident that this seminar has made a great contribution to the establishment of the community-policing system in each country.
I sincerely hope that this Seminar provides a good opportunity to share your experiences and exchange your knowledge with a view to improving your country’s policing system, as well as to establish a useful network among yourselves for future cooperation.
In conclusion, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the officials concerned, to the Singapore Police Force, the Technical Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency, for their great contribution to the success of this Seminar.