First female CID chief in Singapore: & # 39; There is no glass ceiling at the police & # 39;

SINGAPORE: One and only one case in the near-three-decades police academy of Florence Chua fills her with regret – and it happened in her second year at work. "It was a rape of a five-year-old girl by two perpetrators to whom the mother had handed the girl to help," recalled Chua, now 52, ​​herself. "Before we could complete the prosecution, the mother – who was not local – decided to take the girl home and eventually the two guys were not condemned.

"I still think I could have done better?"

Today, as the first female female chief of the Premier Criminal Investigation Department (CID), it's episodes like these that keep reminding her why she does what she does.

"It keeps me going every day … the satisfaction of closing families, victims and keeping offenders off the streets," said Mrs. Chua, who is also the first female deputy commissioner, the second in rank only at the Commissioner of the police itself. "It's like when you read and think about cases, this" guy needs to be taken out. "Those are the moments."

Yet she became almost no policewoman: in the early twenties, when she was still a captain of Singapore's national hockey team, she thought of working as a physical education teacher. Her dream job was "something not desk-bound, something to challenge me daily and something I could make a difference"; she eventually asked to join the police in 1989.

Ms. Chua's journey has since traversed the research and intelligence departments to anti-sight and secret societies for a period at the Ministry of the Interior, where she helped to establish the casino's regulator.

She also stayed in the national hockey team for 10 years, alongside Melody Martens to make famous gold at the 1993 Southeast Asian Games on home base.

The sport, she said, gave her a long-term basis of discipline, teamwork, resilience (think of recording training after 24 hours of work) and a mind that constantly challenges different strategies and tactics to outsmart opponents.

An example of the latter? "I was in a lane full of transvestites when someone called" police "and the guy wanted to run next to me," said Mrs. Chua. "He fell right in front of me – because I was stepping on his sari."


When the dreaded, but inevitable, gender issues were focused on her, Ms. Chua – the eldest of four sisters – spoke easily.

"You know that people & # 39; first woman & # 39; continue to say, this & # 39; first female & # 39; that … but I am not the first in many areas.I for example was not the first female commander. And I was not the first woman in the SSB (branch of the secret organization).

& # 39; For us we already had females who had broken the glass ceiling. & # 39;

Cancel that – when it comes to the Singapore police, "there is really no glass ceiling," Chua stated.

"Yes, when I first joined, there were not many female officers in the investigation, but now you see female officers in almost every position and function, and even lead our Emergency Response Teams to respond to terrorist incidents. you will not imagine that this is happening, but today this is quite common. "

Pressed to share her daily experiences, she said, "I do not think there are many obstacles to being a female officer, it's easier for us to be a bit more empathetic … certain situations and crimes we will be able to deal more sensitive.

"But in terms of expectations, demands … it's all the same, we all do IPPT (Individual Physical Proficiency Test), shooting, when we go through courses, we're expected to do the same thing, if there's a ladder in front , everyone is expected to climb it. "

The only plausible difference lies in IPPT scoring standards, Ms Chua added.

"Gender would not matter … It is not whether you are a man or a woman, but whether you have the ability to do the work," she summarized.

florence chua 1

When does Singapore have its first female commissioner? "If we have someone suitable and suitable – but I will not be," said Mrs. Chua. (Photo: Justin Ong)

Reaching her current position as CID director is to achieve what Mrs Chua herself described as the "top" of a career in research; if not all power. It is proof of her ability – already supported by a large number of cases in which she led or participated.

Highlights are the kidnapped and rescued businessman on the eve of his marriage in 2001; detecting both deceased and surviving Singaporeans after the 2004 tsunami; the 2013 cyber attacks initiated by the hacker "Messiah"; the Little India riots in the same year; and the 2014 "Sheng Siong kidnapping".


Her reputation for high-profile business has been strengthened in the last three months, starting with a baptism of fire at the Trump-Kim summit announced on June 1 – the same day she took the lead of the CID.

In July alone, she had to deal with Serangoon attacks, SingHealth cyber attacks and illegal World Cup gambling; the next month the pawnbroking of Boon Lay happened.

No wonder she described her biggest challenge as far as she "tried to find enough time". Not that Mrs Chua complains: in one way the job still taps the criteria she once had as an action seeking young woman.

"Director of CID does not mean that I do not go on the floor, I still do it, I can still perform operations, so I'm not just sitting at a desk and looking at policy," she laughed.

She has even maintained the structured rigor of a competitive athlete by getting up five hours a week at six o'clock in the morning to go to the gym before she goes to work – something she does not go to every day. looked.

Thoughtful about her journey, Chua said: "I have to sit down and count before I realize that it was 29 years ago Things were moving pretty fast, time just passed … When I joined, I did not even think where I would be I am retiring.

"There were times when things were not going really well and I was considering leaving, but do you just take it and leave, or do you stick with it and do you make it a better place for others?" they wonder.

"At the end of the day … this is a job that I really like to do and it is also a job that gives meaning." Every day I come in, I see officers willing to spend long hours, not to complain, and the only reason they do it? They want to see justice happen. & # 39;

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