Lance Corporal Syafiqah was one of the Auxiliary Police Officers representing AETOS during the 2019 Lima Division Commander’s Award Ceremony, held by the Singapore Police Force. W/LCP (APF) Syafiqah received the Operational Excellence Award for her role in the arrest of a subject for evasion of immigration clearance and vandalism. Notably, this year’s ceremony marks the first time that Auxiliary Police Officers were officially represented. We sat down with her for an interview to find out more.
Congratulations on the award! Could you tell us more about the incident that led to you being nominated for it?
At the time of the incident, I was carrying out my regular duties during the night shift at Woodlands Checkpoint. There was a sudden commotion as a vehicle had rammed through the barrier at the immigration counters. The officers present were attempting to restrain the driver and called for assistance. I ran over without hesitation and assisted them to bring the driver into custody.
What was it like for you during the incident?
Honestly, I had no time to think. When something unexpected like that happens, there are no scripts to refer to – you need to be able to make quick decisions on the spot. In the moment, all you can do is rely on your training and trust your instincts. I could only begin to process what happened once it was all over. It was definitely a new experience and something to learn from, although I really hope it doesn’t happen again!
How do you feel about receiving the award?
(laughing) Achievement unlocked! It’s definitely a good feeling to be among the first batch of APOs invited to attend the Commander’s Award Ceremony, and I’m happy that we are being recognized for the effort that we put in. As for the award itself, I was really just doing my job, like the rest of my fellow officers.
Would you consider the events of that night the most challenging experience you have faced on the job so far?
Actually, one other incident stands out more to me. I was on duty at the F1 Singapore Grand Prix last year, and we had to deal with a lot of drunk people at the grandstand area. Many of them were involved in arguments or were being unruly. It could get quite difficult when we tried to intervene. One man even knocked my cap off! His friends quickly apologized on his behalf and helped me retrieve it, but it was definitely challenging for me to keep my cool at that moment.
My previous work experience in the retail line can be quite useful in this regard, especially in terms of customer service. I used to work at a children’s edutainment center, and dealing with difficult kids and parents was an everyday thing. There usually were large crowds and long queues, and tempers would often run high. I learned a lot about patience and staying service-oriented there, and it helps a lot in this industry too. That being said, while service is often a key component of what we do, the topmost priority will always be security.