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10 Home Team officers receive Commendation Medal in National Day Awards

The officers were among the first to respond to the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year.

SINGAPORE: Ten Home Team officers from both the Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were awarded the Commendation Medal in this year's National Day Awards. The officers were among the first to respond to the Little India riot on Dec 8 last year.

Some, like Senior Station Inspector Akhbar Ali and Assistant Superintendent Jonathan Tang from the SPF, formed a cordon to assist SCDF officers who were extricating the body of a foreign worker knocked down by a bus. They said the medal was representative of the team effort displayed by the SPF, and that they also came out stronger from the event and learnt some valuable lessons. 

However, events of that fateful night remain etched in their memory. Mr Akhbar recalls how his police vehicle was flipped over: "There was one point when they started to flip over my vehicle and that is the first time in my life where I saw and heard a police car being overturned by people. And that car belonged to me. The incident is still in my mind because I was about less than 20, 30 metres away from my vehicle when they overturned it."

When asked what he had learnt from the incident and how it had improved his team in terms of leadership and decisiveness, Mr Tang said: "We learnt to work better under stress. We learnt to expect what is unexpected. These kind of things do not happen often but it does not mean it cannot happen at all. So we make sure that we are mentally prepared that when you arrive at the scene, it might not be what you thought it was. And then we learnt to deal with that, react and then resolve the problem as soon as possible." 

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