Volunteer Special Constabulary



The Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) was formed in October 1946 to complement the Singapore Police Force. The VSC officers have the same powers and duties as regular police officers in various land divisions or specialised units such as Airport Police, Police Coast Guard, Traffic Police, Central Narcotics Bureau and Training Command.1 VSC officers comprise volunteers from all walks of life such as factory workers, nurses, businessmen and lawyers.2

Formation
The VSC has its roots in the Police Volunteer Reserve founded in 1938. During that time, the war in China stirred up patriotic sentiments in Singapore. The Chinese community boycotted Japanese goods and frequently held public demonstrations.3 To help the police form cordons during demonstrations and strikes, the Police Volunteer Reserve was formed.4 The reserve was disbanded during the Japanese Occupation.5 After the war, the police desperately needed manpower to restore law and order and an appeal was made in The Straits Times for volunteers on 15 September 1945.6 In October 1945, the Special Constabulary was formed with 150 full-time officers who were paid monthly salary.7

Organisation and Service
In 1946, the Special Constabulary was restructured into the Extra Constabulary and Volunteer Special Constabulary comprising full-time salaried officers and part-time unpaid volunteers respectively. The VSC officers were trained in firearms and performed a four-hour patrol duty every week.8

The VSC rose into prominence during the turbulent years of the 1950s. During the Maria Hertogh riots in December 1950, the entire VSC was mobilised to support the police. In May 1955, the VSC officers worked alongside regular officers to put down the Hock Lee Bus riots. The riots resulted in the death of four people, including a VSC officer.9

In 1967, the VSC was restructured to support the implementation of the 12-year part-time Police National Service.10 The VSC was renamed Special Constabulary (Volunteers) or SC(V), while the National Servicemen were called Special Constabulary (National Servicemen) or SC(NS).11 In 1981, the SC(NS) was discontinued and the SC(V) was, once again, called the VSC. To fully integrate VSC officers with their regular counterparts, VSC was restructured again in 1995, in tandem with the changes to the Singapore Police Force. After the restructuring, the VSC adopted the same staff-and-line structure of the Police Force.12

Honorary Volunteer Special Constabulary (School) Scheme
In 1997, the Honorary Volunteer Special Constabulary (School) Scheme was started to train school discipline masters and teachers as police officers to tackle youth crime. Under this scheme, teacher-cops play the role of law enforcers within the school context and provide advice on matters pertaining to delinquency and police procedures. In addition, they provide counselling to delinquent students as well as work with other stakeholders to address youth crimes.13

VSC today
To join the VSC, applicants are required to have a minimum of three GCE O’ Level credits or NITEC, be a Singaporean or permanent resident as well as have normal colour vision. VSC trainees receive training twice a week at the Police Academy over nine months and are taught policing skills, police defence tactics as well as legal knowledge.14

Depending on the requirements of their particular tour of duty, officers can undertake shifts ranging from four to 14 hours. They are also deployed during public events such as the National Day Parade, Singapore Grand Prix and conferences.15

The mission of the VSC is to “prevent, deter and detect crime through excellence in frontline policing.” The core values of the VSC are courage, loyalty, integrity and fairness.16



Author

Joshua Chia Yeong Jia



References
1. Home Team Volunteers. (2016). Description of duties. Retrieved from Home Team Volunteers website: http://www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg/htvms/web/volunteerspecialconstabulary-individualpoliceofficer/description-of-duties
2. Liang, H. T. (1996, March 12). Volunteer Special Constabulary turns 50, grows in scope. The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Police Force. (2014, September 16). About Us: SPF Overview: Volunteer Special Constabulary. Retrieved from Singapore Police Force website: http://www.police.gov.sg/about/org/vsc.html#vsc
3. Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 8. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
4. Akbur, P. M. (2002). Policing Singapore in the 19th & 20th centuries. Singapore: Singapore Police Force, pp. 57. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 PEE)
5. Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
6. Volunteer Police. (1945, September 15). The Straits Times, p.2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER); Volunteer police force aims to be more professional. (1993, March 24). The Straits Times, p. 25. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 9. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER); Revolver course for volunteer police. (1946, October 21). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Singapore Police Force. (2014, September 16). About Us: SPF Overview: Volunteer Special Constabulary. Retrieved from Singapore Police Force website: http://www.police.gov.sg/about/org/vsc.html#vsc; Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, pp. 10–12. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
10. Singapore Police Force. (2014, September 16). About Us: SPF Overview: Volunteer Special Constabulary. Retrieved from Singapore Police Force website: http://www.police.gov.sg/about/org/vsc.html#vsc
11. Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 14. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
12. Singapore Police Force. (2014, September 16). About Us: SPF Overview: Volunteer Special Constabulary. Retrieved from Singapore Police Force website: http://www.police.gov.sg/about/org/vsc.html#vsc; Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, p. 6. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
13. Singh, J. (1998, February 18). 16 more schools to get teacher-cops. The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Volunteer Special Constabulary (1998). Service to the nation: 50 years of the Volunteer Special Constabulary. Singapore: Volunteer Special Constabulary, pp. 106–108. (Call no.: RSING 363.2095957 SER)
14. Home Team Volunteers (2015, October 20). Entry Requirements. Retrieved from Home Team Volunteers website: http://www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg/htvms/web/volunteerspecialconstabulary-individualpoliceofficer/entry-requirements; Home Team Volunteers (2015, October 20). Our commitment to you. Retrieved from Home Team Volunteers website: http://www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg/htvms/web/volunteerspecialconstabulary-individualpoliceofficer/our-commitment-to-you
15. Home Team Volunteers (2015, October 20). Description of duties. Retrieved from Home Team Volunteers website: http://www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg/htvms/web/volunteerspecialconstabulary-individualpoliceofficer/description-of-duties
16. Home Team Volunteers (2015, October 20). Our pledge. Retrieved from Home Team Volunteers website: http://www.hometeamvolunteers.gov.sg/htvms/web/volunteerspecialconstabulary-individualpoliceofficer/our-pledge



Further resources
Nadarajan, B. (2005, November 16). A special job with plenty of action. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/

Teachers to be made honorary cops to tackle youth crime in schools. (1996, December 1). The Straits Times, p. 32. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.




The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources.  It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject.  Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Law and government>>Security>>Civil defence
National defence
Politics and Government>>National Security>>Defence
Military service, Voluntary--Singapore--History