More cases of SCDF officers being abused

This article is more than 12 months old

Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers are being subjected to vulgarities, threats and even physical violence in the course of their duty.

The SCDF revealed yesterday that 26 cases of frontline officers being abused have been reported so far this year, up from 23 in the whole of last year.

The upward trend began in 2016 when 20 abuse cases were reported.

Sergeant Jeremy Liang, a paramedic, was put in a headlock by a patient who also tried to punch another of member of his ambulance crew, after the patient was found on the ground near a Punggol condominium in January last year.

"While we were taking the blood pressure (inside the ambulance), the patient initiated a punch but didn't succeed," said Sgt Liang, 32, who suffered some neck pain as they rushed the person to hospital.

"No matter what, they are still my patients."

The patient was later jailed for three months.

Emergency medical technician, Corporal Timothy Chua, had a packet of rice thrown at him in an ambulance in October last year.

The patient also threatened the full-time national serviceman with his walking stick while hurling vulgarities and was later sentenced to 10 weeks in jail.

"This is the more extreme case (of abuse), but it is a minority," said 24-year-old Cpl Chua, who was struck in the chest.

SCDF director of operations Daniel Seet said the organisation takes a "zero-tolerance" approach when it comes to abuse towards officers and would not hesitate to report the perpetrators to police.

"While most people appreciate what we do, there is unfortunately a minority that will physically or verbally abuse our frontliners," he said.

"The SCDF will strive to protect our officers against such unacceptable behaviour, which hinders them from carrying out their duties and can delay medical treatment of patients."