SCDF moves to reassure whistleblowers, reinforce anti-ragging message in wake of NSF’s death

15-Sep-2018 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be taking steps to better assure victims and eyewitnesses of ragging incidents that they will be protected if they speak up.

This was one of the measures announced by the SCDF on Thursday (13 September) following its review of the Board of Inquiry’s report on the death of SCDF full-time national serviceman Corporal Kok Yuen Chin. Kok died on 13 May during a celebration held at the Tuas View Fire Station to mark his impending operationally ready date (ORD).

Law minister K Shanmugam convened the Board of Inquiry to look into the matter on 22 May. A day after, the SCDF announced that it would carry out new measures including harsher penalties to tackle ragging. Five SCDF personnel have also been charged over the incident.

In its press release on Thursday, the SCDF said its follow-up actions would fall under three key areas: reinforcing a culture of care and safety; enhancing command responsibility across various levels of leadership; and reviewing operational and training needs.

“Building on these measures, SCDF will now institutionalise a code of conduct which will require all officers to internalise SCDF’s zero-tolerance stance against ragging, and acknowledge ragging as being contrary to SCDF’s core values,” the release said.

Reinforcing the anti-ragging message

To this end, the SCDF will take steps such as employing “experiential learning” to ensure that the “anti-ragging message is well-ingrained in our officers”. With regard to whistleblowing, reporting channels will also be made available in all four languages to help officers and their families feel more comfortable when seeking help.

To reinforce the SCDF’s ethos of “care”, more will also be done at the unit and organisational levels to give recognition to those who have gone the extra mile in showing care for their colleagues.

Team-bonding programmes that are “safe and structured” will also be organised to support positive cohesion among officers, while guidelines have also been introduced for those planing informal gatherings including the celebrations of an officer’s ORD.

Training for all levels of leadership

As part of the enhanced training to come, commanders will also be taught how to “identify vulnerable individuals and pre-empt and prevent unacceptable behaviour in SCDF, including ragging”.

Long-serving officers who are “not in formal command positions but nevertheless wield informal influence on the ground” will also be roped into the effort to spread the anti-ragging message, said the SCDF.

Pump wells to be decommissioned

On the Board of Inquiry’s recommendation, the SCDF will also decommission all 19 pump wells at its fire stations. Kok’s body was found at the bottom of the Tuas View Fire Station’s 12m-deep pump well and it was later found that he had been pushed into it while it was filled with water.

These wells will be filled with granite chips and covered with concrete slabs, with the works expected to be completed by December. Meanwhile, all pump training will be moved to the Civil Defence Academy.


Category: Singapore

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