UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Community policing in Singapore Low, Mark Jian Neng


This thesis is devoted towards unpacking how community policing has been managed as a state discourse by the Singapore Police Force. Firstly, community policing is located within the historical context of a modernising Singapore. This begins with the need for crime prevention that was disseminated through decentralised neighbourhood police posts in the 1980s. With economic restructuring in the 1990s, community policing was rescaled to meet the changing demography of the population. Following an enhanced deployment of counter-terrorism discourse in the wake of 9/11, community policing was re-invented as part of a (re)bordering strategy to safeguard territorial sovereignty and social cohesion. Secondly, the methodology of community policing is visualised through the changing frames of the state-produced docu-drama, Crime Watch. As a television programme that has consistently raked in high viewership numbers for 25 years, Crime Watch texts deserve their fair share of critical scrutiny to reveal the means of community engagement by the state police. Thirdly, the personal networks of Volunteer Special Constables are studied for the insights that they can reveal into the work of policing one’s community. Personal interviews with sixteen volunteers provide the empirical data for analysis. Volunteers have committed much time and effort into performing the work of volunteer police officers. Mediating the boundaries between the police and the public, these volunteers translate community policing into practice in complicated ways that have not been adequately documented. In summary this thesis makes three contributions to social geography: it traces the convoluted history of community policing as a state-authored discourse; it sketches the stereotypical plotlines of community policing as a tool for community engagement; and it uncovers the personal networks through which community/policing may be performed.

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