This month, Police Life turns 20. When you consider
that there are some officers out there who weren’t even born
when the first issue came out, twenty years is a long time.
A lot of changes have taken place in the SPF in that time. And Police
Life is proud of the fact that it has recorded those changes. We’ve
not only covered the momentous developments that have shaped the
Force and which have made it one of the most progressive police
organisations in the world – we’ve also reflected the
thoughts, feelings and aspirations of all our officers on the ground,
from the Commissioner of Police to the recruits entering the portals
of the Police Academy on the first day. We’ve also had the
privilege of covering developments in other areas such as the Volunteer
Special Constabulary, the National Police Cadet Corps and more recently
The next few pages are dedicated to Police Life in commemoration
of its 20th Anniversary. We’re going to look at what goes
into the making of the magazine today and then retrace our steps
to look at Police Life in its early days. One thing is certain –
the SPF has certainly come a long way, and as a mirror of the SPF,
Police Life too has changed in tandem.
Putting "Police Life" Together
Each month, hundreds of activities take place within the Force. Most
of us may know what’s going on in our department, division or
unit but it’s hard to keep up with developments in other areas.
It’s Police Life’s job to keep track of the major events
and to cover them so that readers know what’s going on in the
police world. The writers, photographers and staff of the PLM Management
Committee meet regularly to examine the calendar of events in the
SPF and to plan which events should be covered, when and how. The
Management Committee is headed by Deputy Commissioner (DC) Khoo Boon
Face to face
Interviewing people isn’t always easy. Some people express themselves
better than others and with the more reticent ones, you need to be
patient and diplomatic to get the information you want. You may spend
a lot of time on the interview and take down tons of notes but you
always end up using just a part of the notes.
Knocking out the story
This is the tricky bit. How much of your researched work finally ends
up in the article and which bits do you have to throw out? And how
do you make the story sound interesting?
Taking Pictures isn’t always a snap …
You’ve often seen our photographers scurrying around desperately
trying to be everywhere at the same time to record events. Given big
functions like the Police Carnival, you have to shoot like lightning,
never mind move like lightning.
Selecting the pictures that tell a story
Pictures go with stories so reporters often work with photographers
in choosing the pictures that will eventually go into print.
Stories from other sources
The Police National Service Department and the Volunteer Special Constabulary
generate their own articles and often pictures which are submitted
to the PLM team for publication.
“All the news that’s fit to print …”
All articles are submitted to the management committee where they
are checked to ensure that the content is suitable for publication.
Once corrections and amendments have been made, they are sent to the
production house for editing.
Securing advertising support
It’s advertisers who help to reduce the cost of producing Police Life. But with so many magazines in the market, we have to compete
for advertisements like anybody else. Thanks to the hard work of our
staff, we’ve secured consistent advertising support through
Fitting the pieces together
All the copy, pictures and advertisements that have been approved
are sent to the graphic’s designer’s studios for layout.
This is where articles have to be edited, photos selected and trimmed
and then put together with an artistic touch so that the magazine
makes enjoyable reading.
Giving the final go – ahead
Just before the magazine goes to print, it’s checked once
again for final proof- reading and colour- checking to ensure that
everything is in order.
And now, the final product
There is little for PLM staff to do once the magazine is at the
printer’s, except to ensure that production quality is of
Bringing Police Life to you
This is perhaps the biggest logistics exercise in the production
of Police Life – getting the magazine to you, our readers.
First the magazines have to be sorted out, with varying quantities
allocated to each department, division and unit, while some have
to be mailed individually to people such as advertisers.
Back to square one
Even while one issue is in the final stages of production, work
commences on the next issue. The production team regularly reviews
issues of PLM to see what improvements can be made in subsequent
issues. It’s this process of re-assessment and modification
that helps Police Life improve with each issue.