Saturday, 13 December 2014 -
Retiree Doris Koh, 63, has been living in a five-room flat with her family at Strathmore Avenue since 1994. She remembers completing the Highway Code and obtaining her provisional license from the Queenstown Driving Test Centre. She recalled, “Unlike the theory tests conducted in driving centres today, candidates had to move a miniature-sized car on a model in response to questions asked by the tester. For instance, if the tester asked the candidate for the proper procedure to stop a car at pedestrian crossings, the candidate had to manually ‘slow down’ the speed of the ‘car’ before the ‘pedestrian crossing’ in the model.”
Doris Koh’s recollection of her memories at the former Queenstown Driving Test Centre is one of the key highlights of the carnival which will be held on Saturday, 13 December 2014 to commemorate the former driving test centre and the former site of Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre. The building will be demolished in early 2015.
The symbolic farewell to the former Queenstown Driving Test Centre took place on Saturday, 13 December 2014 and interested participants can register for the free, guided tour to the test centre at www.myqueenstown.eventbrite.sg.
About Queenstown Driving Test Centre
The former Queenstown Driving Test Centre was Singapore’s 2nd Driving Test Centre. Built at a cost of $285,000, the Driving Test Centre was officially opened on 23 February 1969 by then Minister for Communications, Yong Nyuk Lin, to alleviate the workload of testers at Maxwell Driving Test Centre and relieve the traffic congestion along Maxwell Road. The Queenstown Driving Test Centre also replaced the Maxwell centre in providing tests for applicants of vocational licenses to operate buses and taxis. The state-of-the-art Driving Test Centre was a spacious ground-level building which had 14 testers to conduct a daily average of 150 tests on driving proficiency and another 150 on the Highway Code.
By the late 1980s, three more driving test circuits were constructed in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong and Bukit Batok. These new test circuits were equipped with modern facilities which allowed learner drivers to drive “under all kinds of conditions.” In 1995, the Queenstown Driving Test Centre ceased operations and its premises were taken over by Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre in 1997. In 2005, the Neighbourhood Police Centre relocated to a brand new $30.6 million complex at Queensway.
About Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre
The Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) is Singapore’s first neighbourhood police centre. Based similarly on the concepts of community policing and modelled after the koban system in Japan, the original Police Centre at Commonwealth Avenue was officially opened on 20 December 1997 by then Minister for Home Affairs, Wong Kan Seng, to replace the Singapore Police Force’s Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) system. The centre had 150 police officers.
Before Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) was established, community policing lied under the responsibility of the Neighbourhood Police Post. Although the NPP has helped reduce crime rate since its initiation in 1983, its high number entailed extensive resources spread over many installations. Pooling the NPPs into larger entities known as NPCs ensured “faster response, more immediate investigation, better counter service, more frequent patrols and a sharper community focus.”
The Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre forges a close relationship with the community through its workshops and activities. Doris Koh, 63, a resident at Strathmore, was one of the participants with the Citizen-on-Patrol (COP) programme. She said. “The former NPC was situated next to Queenstown MRT Station and it was very convenient. They organised frequent sharing sessions to brief the public on crime prevention.”
In 2005, the Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre relocated to a $30.6 million complex at Queensway. This complex is the first of its kind which houses both the Singapore Civil Defence Force and the Singapore Police Force so as to provide a more integrated response against threats.