Central Narcotics Bureau
Feature | CNB

A Fulfilling Career for a Drug-free Singapore

Drugs impact not just the abuser, but also the abuser's family and society at large. Hence, officers at the Central Narcotics Bureau work tirelessly to nip the problem in the bud through a comprehensive strategy of enforcement, education and engagement, so that Singapore can be a drug-free and safe place to live in.

Left: Angie Poh has a Diploma in Psychology Studies sponsored by CNB under the Home Team Diploma Sponsorship. She is a MHA Study Award recipient, currently an Investigation Officer with the Investigation Division at CNB.

Right: Parthiban S/O Mathevanan is a Senior Officer with CNB's Policy, Planning and Research Division (PPRD), handling both international affairs and drug policy matters. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Bioengineering).

Singapore has a zero-tolerance  approach towards drugs.

In order to achieve this vision, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has adopted a comprehensive drug control strategy which tackles both drug supply and demand through the 3E's. These are: rigorous Enforcement against drug activities, preventive Education to educate the community and especially youths on the harms of drug abuse, and Engagement with the local community and our international partners to uphold the international space for a zero-tolerance approach against drugs.

Angie Poh, Investigation Officer, and Parthiban S/O Mathevanan, Senior Officer at the Policy, Planning and Research Division (PPRD), each exemplify the 3E's in different, unique ways.

Be it through Preventive Drug Education talks or international liaisons, the two CNB officers have enlightened us on the collaboration, fulfilment and excitement to be found in a career on the frontlines against drugs.

To start with, what led you to choose CNB?

Angie: I was intrigued by the operational action in CNB's videos and was in awe of the noble work that CNB officers did. This had strongly motivated me to be a part of the bureau.

Angie Poh

Angie Poh

Parthiban: I wanted a career where I am not just contributing to a company's bottom line; rather, I wanted to make a positive impact on society. I also wanted a job where I can be on the go and be challenged every day.

CNB is the perfect fit where I can contribute to keeping Singapore drug-free while experiencing the right amount of excitement, challenge, and growth in my career.

CNB offers its officers a wide range of job rotations.

Could you describe your experiences?

Angie: When I was an enforcement officer, I interviewed suspects or witnesses connected with drug-related offences, participated in raids, and arrested suspects.

Presently as an investigation officer, not only do I interview and obtain statements from suspects or witnesses, I also write reports on my findings and prepare documents pertaining to court prosecution.

While enforcement and investigation work are handled by different divisions, there are great synergies and teamwork amongst the divisions to ensure that offenders are brought to task swiftly.

"Career-wise, the wide spectrum of job roles at CNB means that officers would be able to gain different skillsets that are useful in everyday life." Angie Poh

Parthiban: I am currently undergoing a staff posting in PPRD. In my current role, I propose policy positions and legislative amendments necessary to strengthen CNB's response to developments in the illicit drug scene. This experience has allowed me to better understand the nexus between operations and policy and how one impacts the other.

In my previous enforcement posting, I learnt about the operational aspects of drug enforcement work, such as conducting raids and effecting arrests. I also underwent investigation postings where we ensured fair and just investigations into accused persons leading to their prosecution and conviction in Court for their drug offences.

Parthiban S/O Mathevanan

Parthiban S/O Mathevanan

Angie, we understand that you conduct Preventive Drug Education talks. How does your work exemplify the 'Educate' pillar in CNB's strategy?

Angie: I have conducted many preventive drug education talks to students. As I represent the Bureau, I am able to build trust with the participants when I share my knowledge on the harmful effects of drugs, and I would continue to do my best to extend this influence on youths to strengthen their resilience to stay drug-free.

Parthiban, in your case, you have chalked up different experiences in the area of international engagement. How would you describe your contribution to 'Engagement' in CNB's mission?

Parthiban: I had the opportunity to be posted to the International Cooperation and Partnerships Division (ICPD) at the Ministry of Home Affairs HQ. My time in ICPD would encompass the Engagement limb of CNB's mission. We were not only involved in anti-drug ground-up initiatives, we also engaged international partners to tackle the drug issue upstream on the international stage. This was especially important because while Singapore is not a drug-producing country, being a major transport and transhipment hub in Asia makes us susceptible for overseas drug syndicates to bring drugs in.

"CNB is the perfect fit where I can contribute to keeping Singapore drug-free while experiencing the right amount of excitement, challenge, and growth in my career." Parthiban S/O Mathevanan

What skillsets would you say are necessary for a CNB officer?

Angie: The ability to communicate effectively is definitely an important trait, especially when engaging with people from different walks of life. CNB officers also need to be able to think on their feet and make appropriate decisions.

Parthiban: Apart from CNB's core values of professionalism, dedication, integrity and courage, a CNB officer needs to have their personal values and goals aligned with the Bureau. Resilience and a deep belief in what we do are important to see through the tough challenges of the job.

Lastly, what career development possibilities are there for CNB officers?

Angie: I am a recipient of the Home Team Diploma Sponsorship award, and thus my polytechnic studies were sponsored by the Bureau. During my service at CNB, I was also awarded the MHA Study Award for my degree in Psychology Studies from the Singapore University of Social Sciences.

Career-wise, the wide spectrum of job roles at CNB means that officers would be able to gain different skillsets that are useful in everyday life.

Parthiban: The bureau exposes officers to various kinds of work ranging from enforcement, investigations to policy work. Officers are also well trained and developed to learn the necessary skills required to perform these jobs.

Joining CNB allows you to serve Singapore and the society at an innate level that cannot be experienced at other jobs. There is never a dull moment ranging from exciting operations and enforcement work to policy-making and international engagements. To put it simply, I personally feel excited to come to work when I wake up every day.