Singapore recruiting foreign workers for neighbourhood patrols

27 Dec 07

Foreign workers are joining neighbourhood patrols in Singapore following complaints of rowdy and drunken behaviour by newly arrived counterparts, the police said Monday.

The new programme followed the conversion of old residential blocks into two dormitories for 6,000 Indian, Thai and Bangladeshi workers.

“We started this programme as a preventive measure, a way for mentor foreign workers to help their peers understand our laws and social norms,” The Straits Times quoted parliamentarian Wee Siew Kim as saying.

“While there has not been any reported conflict between foreign workers and the residents, we hear of residents complaining about drunken rowdiness, littering and loitering in large numbers.”

Some 38 foreign workers have undergone a four-month training programme, including first aid at the workplace and anti-spitting and anti-littering rules in the city-state, the report said.

Some are trained to serve as foreign national crime prevention ambassadors. Permission from employers is obtained first.

“We give out pamphlets to other foreign workers and remind them not to litter or make too much noise at night,” said Indian national Velani Antonisamy, 43.

Wee hopes to generate interaction between residents and workers so they understand each other better, the report said.

“Foreign workers are a big help to Singapore, but some people fear them,” said Linda Poh, 44 a hotel houseguest manager. “With more exposure, eventually we will realize they are just people, too.”

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