There’s been a video circulating depicting a young lady (slight in build) being apprehended by the Singapore Police Force (SPF). She did not appear to be aggressive or violent.
In fact, she appeared distressed. Yet, there were at least six to seven policemen all crowded around her as if she was a gun-wielding assassin. From a bystander’s point of view, this seems excessive and heavy-handed. It even comes across as an utter overreaction and a complete waste of resources.
Do we need so many police officers to apprehend a slim built young woman displaying no violent tendencies? With the SPF being funded by the public purse strings, do we the public agree to this sort of seemingly bullying tactics?
It has been reported that the woman has been detained by the Mental Health Act which suggests that she may have mental health issues. With that in mind, were the police officers attending the scene trained to deal with persons who may be having a breakdown?
If not, it may well be that the police officers had unwittingly escalated the situation and caused further and unnecessary distress to a vulnerable person.
Besides, if the SPF are so overworked and overstretched as claimed by the Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam, why are we wasting resources by sending so many officers to apprehend one young woman?
The SPF is supposed to uphold law and order and protect the public. What they should not be seen as however, are as bullies. Yet, this is precisely what it looked like on the video. So much so that a member of the public went up to the police officers to ask them to show less force. It is certainly an uncomfortable and disquieting video clip to watch and it certainly begs the question: Are we a police state?
Tying into this seemingly heavy-handed arrest methodology is the question of what happens if people are injured during the arrest process. In other words, what happens if an individual is harmed during the arrest process as a result of excessive use of force by the police?
Is there a procedure in place to monitor this to ensure that the police do not abuse their powers? Does the injured person have a right to redress and compensation?
While we all want to live in a world where the police are our upright protectors, this can’t really happen unless there is an objective system that forces accountability.
We live in an age of mobile phone videos where hush ups are less easy. This video provides visual evidence of heavy-handed action. Yet, do we know how common an occurrence such as this is? This is but one that we have seen. How many have happened before?
Police brutality has become a global issue of concern – even in countries that are considered far more liberal than Singapore. It is disturbing to think that things could be just as bad or worse in our island state.
This video, the incidences of seemingly over the top handling of investigations on Government critics such as PJ Thum and Lim Tean and how the Parti Liyani case was investigated certainly makes one question on how the SPF exercises its powers in Singapore.