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20 years old and still going strong …
Police Life Monthly - August 1996
20th Anniversary Specia

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 our PNSmen.

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

“What’s up?”
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 Hui.

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 the years.

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 acceptable standard.

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.


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