Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Old Police Academy

Being an auxiliary police officer with two different companies, I had to go through auxiliary police training twice at Old Police Academy (OPA).

Me and Terence infront of the Old Police Academy sign.

A formal group photo with my squad upon graduation.
Group shot with the other APFs at the former OPA mess.

Background

Police Training School as depicted in 1963 map
OPA on Google Maps. Construction is already on the way.
Police Academy at then Demdam Road, first functioned as the permanent home of what was then known as the Police Depot in 1929. It continued to serve as a police training ground when the Police Depot was renamed the Police Training School in 1945, and during the period from 16 September 1963 to 1965 when Singapore was part of Malaysia and the school was named Sekolah Latihan Polis before reverting to its former name upon Singapore's independence.

In 1969, the Police Training School was elevated to a full academy and took on the name of "Singapore Police Academy" (SPA), when then Minister for Interior and Defence, Lim Kim San officiated the ceremony on 2 August 1969. The Singapore Police Academy functioned as the operation side of police training, while the staff functions came under the Police Training Department, before the two were formally merged as the Training Command (TRACOM) in 1997. The name "Police Academy", however, was retained mainly in reference to the training campus.

Historic Photographs


These are historic photographs of the institution dated since the 60s I found and complied all over the internet. My apologizes if I had posted without permission. Do get in touch with me for credit and removal.
The entrance during pre-independent Singapore. The sign is in Malay for "Singapore Police Training School"
The open field at OPA. Female trainees are depicted exercising in the photo.
60's era policeman shooting at the shooting range
The mosque at OPA. It has since been demolished.
Trainee Barracks at the back of OPA
Trainee Barracks at the back of OPA
Motivating mural on trainee barracks 
Old parade uniforms, looking much closer to the Malaysian Police counterparts.
Police trainees in the barracks.

OCTs at the old mess
At the OPA Dojo Hall.
MOVE BACK SIR!!


Old Police Academy Today


On 31 December 2005, all training and school functions were moved to then newly built Home Team Academy. PNS trainees of 121st intake and 42nd OCT batch was the last batch to pass out of Police Academy

OPA is however still used as a training ground by Auxiliary Police Force, SATS, Certis CISCO and AETOS. By 2013, when I was there, AETOS Training Academy and Certis CISCO Academy, Police National Service Department, was still based there. Most of the former barracks are left guttered and empty by that time

My SATS Police squad during training.
The start of our classroom lessons
With the rest of the squad
Meeting a fellow officer and friend
Me and Terence at the old mess.
Camp life.
Heading for lessons

As an officer who once trained on the legendary training grounds there, I was sad that news came out that Old Police Academy was to be redeveloped into an MRT station and high rise condominiums. It would be years before I could have thought to properly document my experience while I was there, but it never really crossed my mind until the blog came to be.

My Complied Findings.

As I can no longer get access to OPA, given that I have no business there as I'm no longer a trainee and also many of the roads and access have been closed off to facilitate with the demolishing and construction of the area, I had to compile photos rather than going there myself to take fresh ones.

After digging through my computer and hard disks once more, and going through Facebook and Google for priceless pictures, I complied all my photographs and poured out all my knowledge into this article. My apologizes if I used your photograph without your permission. Do get in touch with me for credit or if you want them taken down.

A directional sign at Mount Pleasant Road

Names of OPA Paths


Similar to the camps and bases of the Singapore Armed Forces, the paths within Old Police Academy are named like normal roads in Singapore but are not recognized by the LTA. The roads are named purely for the sake of decorations. It is also interesting to note that majority of the roads are named in Malay. I presumed that they were named during the 60s when Malay was in widespread use.

Dendam Road - Named in 1929 after Inspector General of Police, G.C. Denham
Jalan Bukit - Hill Road
Jalan Bunga - Flower Road
Jalan Kesusahan - Toughness Road
Jalan Serene - Tranquil Road
Jalan Silat - Silat, a Malay martial art form
Jalan Ujong - Older spelling of "Hujung" meaning "end".


Padang Hitam, OPA's parade square.
Jalan Kesusahan sign
Jalan Kesusahan, the start and end of the 2.4 route. Thanks to the road namesake, buttjokes and puns of running and training for 2.4 IPPT runs are made by trainees.
Further down Jalan Kesusahan
The former Police IPPT Centre at the end of the road
IPPT route now ends here. behind the fencing is the construction for Mount Pleasant MRT
Jalan Silat, facing the open field used frequently for soccer practices and matches.
Open field
Open field. Jalan Silat is to the Left
Open field. To the right is the changing room and toilets
The big tree at the field.
Frequent soccer practice and matches are held here.
Former Aetos Security Management building. To the left is the former Dojo Hall
OPA shooting range. Currently used by auxiliary police forces for their shoot.
Outside the range
Jalan Bunga. The carpark behind it was where the former site of the mosque.
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Jalan Bunga

Where PNSD used to be based.

Jalan Bukit
To the left of Jalan Bukit is the swimming pool, opened by Lee Kuan Yew on Febuary 1977
Another photo
Going up on the namesake hill of Jalan Bukit is Certis CISCO Academy
The lecture theater at the former Certis CISCO Academy
Where AETOS Training Academy used to be.
The tennis court to the right of Jalan Bukit
Block 23, where CISCO once occupied the barracks
Another photo of Block 23.
Behind block 23, the showers and toilets.
Jalan Serene. At the backdrop is the former mess.
The building formerly occupied by AETOS Training Academy
More Photos
One of the former kampong barracks. Formerly used by Aetos as trainee barracks.
The mess as viewed from Jalan Ujong
Barracks at Jalan Ujong
A sign proclaiming "out of bounds" to all male persons.
Training shed along Jalan Ujong


Conclusion

A policeman and a soccer player sharing a lighter moment.
One last view.
Thanks for the memories!
For the many generations of officers who trained here, I personally knew many who were sad that Old Police Academy is coming down to a pile of bricks. Even myself as I have made sentimental memories from training here. I really admire the rustic and serene atmosphere.

Being a restricted area, the public naturally has no access. A blessing in disguise as this has kept OPA preserved and pristine for decades.

If the authority permits me, I propose to keep the roads and the road names within the academy into the newly build estate. The current tracks can be widen to serve the future traffic. Also, some of the colonial blocks located along Dendam Road can be retained as potential entrances and exits of the future Mount Pleasant MRT and "Art in Transit" installations can depict to showcase the grounds the station is built on the history and heritage of the former training ground.

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