A photo showing 3 kids being handcuffed by 4 policemen was shared by Shan Ang on facebook. The incident captured by her took place at 9.15 am at 112 Katong, the junction of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road.
Ms Ang wrote in her post,
“I just saw 3 very young kids under hand cuff. Pains my heart that the police handcuff young kids like 6 yr old.
Can’t they just put them into police car n not handcuff them in public?
Two older kids like 8 or 9 years old are made to walk towards the police station with handcuffed!”
Ms Ang added that she does not know what crime the kids have committed.
It is said that the children were waiting at the spot with 3 policemen and were handcuffed when 3 other policemen arrived at the scene.
The two older kids were made to walk across the road while handcuffed towards police station taking around 10 mins while the youngest boy was seated in the police car.
The SPF wrote in response to question posed on its facebook fanpage on the incident saying,
“Police received a call on 27 December 2014 at about 8.09am requesting for assistance at a building along East Coast Road. Upon Police’s arrival, it was established that a case of Theft from Person had occurred. Three male subjects were arrested in relation to the case. The subjects were handcuffed for the safety of them and others as they had attempted to escape before Police’s arrival. Police investigations are ongoing.”
It is also stated that the three juveniles are aged between 9 and 12 years old.
Speaking to a former policeman, he said that the police generally would not handcuff individuals if they are under the age of 7 but there is a caveat based on the need to restrain – e.g. violent behavior exhibited by the individual.
So while the act of handcuffing children can be morally criticised, but still legally sound as the policemen could say that they had justification.
Questions have been sent to the Singapore Police Force on this incident and will be published when they respond.