Enhanced Measures Against Ragging and Unauthorised Activities
23 May 2018
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) has zero-tolerance towards all forms of ragging and unauthorised initiation activities. SCDF has existing measures in place to deter and detect such activities (please see Annex for details). There is also an existing disciplinary framework to take to task any officer found to have been involved in such activities.
Arising from the death of SCDF full-time National Serviceman CPL Kok Yuen Chin, SCDF conducted an immediate review of its existing measures. SCDF will be taking the steps below.
SCDF officers know that they have a serious duty to protect the officers under their charge. This includes the responsibility of protecting officers from any harmful or demeaning actions. These are long-standing, clear duties of officers.
All unit commanders (regulars and NS officers) have been specifically told that they will be held personally accountable for any ragging and unauthorised initiation activities that take place in their units. Division Commanders will hold one-to-one sessions with all commanders under their charge to ensure that they are fully aware of their responsibilities.
In addition, newly appointed commanders will have to undergo a training programme that will communicate the expectations of command, advise them how to detect and prevent such activities, as well as how to identify vulnerable individuals for early intervention.
A metal grating will be installed across the opening of the pump well, which will be locked to prevent unauthorised access. Access to and use of the pump wells will be strictly controlled.
CCTV coverage within SCDF premises will be expanded, to deter and detect unauthorised activities.
Currently, any officer found to have participated in any ragging or unauthorised initiation activities is punished severely. For example, SCDF full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) or Operationally Ready National Servicemen (ORNS) are liable to be given a detention sentence of up to 40 days, in addition to demotion in rank.
Page 2 of 3
SCDF regular officers would be disciplined under the Public Service Commission disciplinary framework and are liable to be fined, demoted or dismissed from service.
9. To enhance deterrence, SCDF will also extend these penalties to officers who are found to be aware of such activities but did not attempt to stop or report them. This sends a strong signal that such officers must also bear responsibility.
Enhanced Feedback/Monitoring Channels for SCDF NSFs
SCDF will increase feedback and monitoring channels to ensure the well-being of NSFs. Presently, fortnightly one-to-one interviews between NSFs and their supervisors are conducted during their first three months in a new unit. These interviews continue to take place on a quarterly basis thereafter. These sessions help supervisors ensure that NSFs are adjusting well and allow NSFs to raise any concerns or issues.
Moving forward, fortnightly interviews will also be held during the last three months of the NSF’s service, and conducted by senior SCDF officers who are not based at their same station. This ensures impartiality in the feedback process, and facilitates in reassuring the NSFs to bring up any issues of concern. Any case of unauthorised activities reported during these interviews will be immediately surfaced to SCDF senior management for necessary follow-up action.
Introduction of Dedicated 24/7 Staff Feedback Helpline
SCDF will introduce a dedicated SCDF Staff Feedback Helpline on a 24/7 basis, to augment its existing whistle-blowing framework for officers to raise any grievances and misconduct within the organisation. This will allow SCDF officers and their families to contact SCDF at any time to provide feedback relating to the workplace, including feedback and concerns over unacceptable practices. NSFs and their parents/guardians will be given information about this helpline at the point of enlistment.
SCDF will also carefully consider any further recommendations that the BOI might make.