Deputy superintendent of Police (DSP) Sergius Wat’s passion for police work was cemented after receiving an SPF Book Prize as a Year 5 student in Raffles Institution.

Then, he was also given the opportunity to visit police establishments like the Criminal Investigation Department, and attend official functions, such as the Police Day Parade. These glimpses into the work of the police left a positive impression on him, which led him to consider a career in the Force.

“I finally decided to apply for the Singapore Police Force (SPF) Scholarship because I wanted a job that would allow me to help others in real, impactful ways. The SPF, with its mission of fighting crime and keeping Singapore and Singaporeans safe and secure, offered just that.”

DSP Wat, 28, pursued a bachelor’s degree in Government and a master’s degree in regional studies: East Asia at Harvard University from 2007 to 2011 on an SPF Overseas Scholarship.

The scholarship covers tuition fees, monthly overseas maintenance allowance, pre-studies allowance, return economy class airfare, NS disruption, sponsorship for master’s and exchange programmes, plus a full salary for the duration of studies.

Never a dull day

As a scholar, he has been given job rotation opportunities to acquire investigation acumen, policy conceptualisation skills, as well as command and leadership abilities.

He is in the Public Service Leadership Programme. Officers in the programme are given opportunities to acquire specialised knowledge and capabilities to take on key leadership positions in SPF.

DSP Wat started his SPF career as an investigation officer at Tanglin Police Division in 2012.

So far, he has been involved in many operational deployments, including the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix, the SEA Games, as well as the General Elections in 2015.

When he served as an operations officer in the Criminal Investigation Department between 2013 and 2014, he assisted in the investigation operations for cases such as the Little India Riot, as well as the Sheng Siong kidnapping.

One of the most rewarding experiences of his career was during his two-year stint as the commanding officer of Pasir Ris Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) from 2014 to 2016.

At the age of 26, he led a team of about 100 officers to fight crime in Pasir Ris, and worked closely with community partners and Pasir Ris residents on various efforts to keep the estate safe.

Currently, he is an assistant director at the policy development division of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Here, he leads a team of officers to review and develop policies and legislation.

DSP Wat is also part of the team that put together the National Cybercrime Action Plan, which was launched in July last year.

The plan sets out the government’s strategies in combating cybercrime.

He says that the biggest takeaway as a police officer is to learn how to balance professional impartiality with empathy and compassion.

“As a police officer, I soon came to realise that each individual faces unique challenges in life that may lead them to run afoul of the law. As police officers, while we have to discharge our duties without favour, this must be tempered with compassion. We have to understand and help all parties involved — not just the victim, but the accused person as well,” he says.

A meaningful career

DSP Wat says: “The job of a police officer is often not glamorous; we do a lot of hard work behind the scenes, and we deal with the grittier side of society.

“As we are responsible for the security of Singapore 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this can mean working odd hours and weekends. Nevertheless, it is meaningful work.”

He points out that the SPF scholarship is a commitment to embark on a career that offers a unique opportunity to serve and to protect Singapore and Singaporeans, but this is not for everyone.

He says: “So don’t apply because of the prestige or financial support; apply because you want to make a worthwhile and rewarding difference in the lives of those around you.”