>THE woman, stark naked, locked herself in the flat and was trying to get her father to take off his clothes.
Fearful, the 60-year-old man called the police but his daughter, who is in her early 30s, wanted to speak only to a female officer. In stepped Station Inspector (SI) Kelly Liaw, 33.
This incident, in 2006, is one example of the kind of interesting – and sometimes bizarre — cases that women police officers handle.
Over the past few years, about 15 per cent of the police force has been made up of women officers.
SI Liaw told The New Paper that she was called to the scene after the woman refused to speak to male officers.
She recalled: “I arrived and knocked at the door. The next thing I knew, the door opened, a hand reached out and pulled me in.The door was then locked.
“The first thing that struck me was that the woman was stark naked, and the flat was strewn with papers filled with writings about the end of the world.”
She added: “Her father crouched in a corner of the flat, trembling.”
The woman told SI Liaw the world would end that day. She also tried convincing her father to strip but he refused to.
Each time his daughter walked towards him, he ran to another corner.
So how did SI Liaw handle the situation?
|“The next thing I knew, the door opened, a hand reached out and pulled me in.” -Station Inspector Kelly Liaw on how a mentally unstable naked woman pulled her into her house|
“I had to play along with her. After talking to her for a while, she asked me to pray with her. So we both knelt down on the living room floor,” she said.
“While she prayed with her eyes closed and her hands clasped, I took the opportunity to open the main door for my colleagues to enter.”
As the officers rushed into the flat, SI Liaw grabbed a blanket from the sofa and wrapped it around the woman, who was later sent to the Institute of Mental Health.
It turned out she was suffering from depression over her recent divorce.
But the story did not end there.
About a year later, SI Liaw was at a road block in Sengkang, and a car was stopped.
There was a couple in the car and the woman stepped out. She walked towards SI Liaw and asked: “Do you remember me?”
SI Liaw said: “I looked at her for a while, and remembered she was the (naked) lady.
“She hugged me, and thanked me for helping her that time. She told me she had found a new boyfriend.”
But what is it like for a woman officer like her to work in a field dominated by men?
SI Liaw said: “Physically, we might lose out. But when I don the uniform, we’re all officers. I don’t think about the difference between male and female officers.”
While male officers may have a physical advantage, being a woman also has its advantages on the job.
|“I remember a case where a female driver hit a taxi, and she refused to speak to male officers.” -Sergeant Siti Fatimah Abdullah on how she calmed down the woman driver|
Sergeant Siti Fatimah Abdullah, 24, who is with the Traffic Police, said: “I remember a case where a female driver hit a taxi, and she refused to speak to male officers. She was emotional as she had just gone through a break-up.”
The woman, in her early 20s, was hysterical and ran in circles around the accident scene.
She calmed down only after Sergeant Siti arrived,and the two spoke.
“The conversation became quite personal, but I managed to calm her down,” Sergeant Siti recalled.
And of course, a female officer is always handy when it comes to female victims of sexual crimes.
In such cases, it is difficult for male officers to ask questions that may be personal and intrusive.
|“… I had to balance calming herdown and getting information from her.” -DSP Rachel Soh on helping a rape victim|
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Rachel Soh, 31, recalled an incident about six years ago when a woman in her early 20s went to a pub.
She said: “For some reason, her (woman) friend left her alone and she ended up drinking with two male strangers.
“She got drunk, they took her somewhere and raped her. Then, they drove her out and pushed her out of the car onto the road.”
The woman, who was at that time engaged to be married, called the police and her fiance.
Six officers arrived and found her in a dishevelled state. DSP Soh was the only female officer.
The woman’s fiance was angry and kept scolding her as she cried.
DSP Soh, who hosted a recent season of Crimewatch, said: “Time was of the essence, and I had to balance calming her down and getting information from her.”
|“Male subjects are not as guarded when talking to female officers.” -ASP Chelsia Lim on how female officers can coax information out of men|
Eventually, the two rapists were tracked down and arrested.
Men also generally calm down faster when talking to female officers, said Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Chelsia Lim, 33.
ASP Lim, who is with the police Operations Planning Department, said: “Male subjects are not as guarded when talking to female officers.”
ASP Lim and SI Liaw are both receiving commendation awards this week during the annual Police week.
This article was first published in The New Paper.
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