Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post, 55 North Canal Road


Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post

The Kreta Ayer Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) was built in 1908.

From 1908 to 1988, this building housed the North Canal Road Post Office. Built within the compound of the former Police Courts, its architectural features reflect Singapore’s colonial past. The entrance is graced by a decorative arch and two large moulded brackets. A large sloping hip roof extends outward to shelter against the sun and rain.

Police and Community as Partners

Community policing began in 1983 in response to changing demographics, increasing urbanisation and shifts in population density. To better police the areas they serve, NPP officers fostered rapport and developed a close partnership with the community in fighting and preventing crime.

On 15 January 1990, Kreta Ayer NPP commenced operations as the 76th NPP in Singapore.

Police Post on Prime Land

As the only NPP in the Central Business District, Kreta Ayer NPP was kept very busy especially in the early years, working round the clock to preserve the peace in prime land. Crime rates at Kreta Ayer saw a 20% drop by 1995. The NPP also worked with crime prevention committees consisting of shop owners and tenants, security and property management firms on crime prevention measures.

Round-the-Clock Service

Over the years, the NPP system evolved into the Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) system in 1997 and Community Policing System (COPS) in 2012.

Today, this redesigned NPP provides residents with round-the-clock access to automated police services such as an e-kiosk to report crime, and a self-service dropbox for found property. Automation allows police officers previously at the NPP to be redeployed to better serve the community.

Kreta Ayer Precinct

Kreta Ayer is part of Chinatown, Singapore’s largest historic district. South Bridge Road, Upper Cross Street and Cross Street are some of the main roads running through this area. By the 1860s, this area was rapidly urbanising with clusters of shophouses springing up between Temple Street and Mosque Street. The earliest Central Police Station and Police Courts were sited in the heart of this booming commercial and residential enclave.

Hong Lim Park

Known today as Speaker’s Corner, this park was historically an important recreational area in Chinatown and space for community events.

It was first converted into a public garden with money contributed by Mr Cheang Hong Lim in 1876. Until 1892, it was interchangeably referred to as Dunman’s Green (after the first Commissioner of Police) and Hong Lim Green, before adopting the latter name.

The Police Courts building was built on this site in 1885, and in 1908, the North Canal Road Post Office building. The Straits Chinese Recreation Club was established at the park in January 1885. In 1960, the grounds was renamed Hong Lim Park and refurbished with a children’s playground, a fountain, open-air performance space and park facilities.

In 2000, part of the park was designated as the Speakers’ Corner. This is modelled after the Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park, and is Singapore’s only outdoor venue where citizens can organise or participate in a public assembly without a police permit, subject to compliance with the conditions of the Speakers’ Corner rules.