Saturday, 18 March 2017

Call to review arrest procedures involving Elderlies

Relook how elderly suspects are treated when detained

I am deeply saddened & shocked by the events that took place on March 4.

My mother is 73 years old, frail & suffers from a host of medical conditions.

That morning, she went to the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre to report a lost pawn shop ticket.

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Custody of elderly woman: Questions over discretion
Madam Josephine Savarimuthu claims she was handcuffed & restrained during her court appearance. ST FOTO: DESMOND WEE

The arrest of a 73-yr-old woman & the subsequent use of hand & leg restraints on her has raised the question of whether more discretion should be used in the handling of elderly persons in custody.

Several lawyers & observers suggest that the police consider alternatives when dealing with an elderly person such as Madam Josephine Savarimuthu. They also question the need to use security devices in escorting her from prison to court for a low-risk municipal offence.

Madam Savarimuthu was arrested by police on March 4 at a neighbourhood police centre while making a report for a lost pawn ticket.

related:
Video shows senior was not restrained in police custody
74-year-old in custody: Procedures followed, say authorities


SHACKLING OF A 73-YR OLD ELDERLY

I refer to your article about the 73 year old woman who was sent to prison for a $400 unpaid town council fine due to the improper placement of potted plants.

The police may have the legal right to carry out their duty, that is not in dispute but whether they needed to follow their restraining procedures and SOPs to the line is questionable.This is a defenceless old lady with a medical condition, how is she is threat to the prison officers or the police officers? Moreover, she was arrested when she wanted to make a police report. The last thing she expected was to be shackled up and thrown into lockup because of a 2 year old $400 fine.

She must have forgotten about the fine and likewise the police did not do their jobs to enforce the fine since they took 2 years to "arrest her" and only when she came to their doorstep.


Custody of elderly woman: Family finds closure after viewing police video

The woman whose 73-yr-old mother was arrested for a municipal offence viewed police footage yesterday & accepted that it clearly showed her mother was not physically restrained at any time while in police custody.

Madam Gertrude Simon, 55, who had all along maintained that her mother had been handcuffed by the police, attended a briefing with her mother at the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC).

Madam Simon said: "I appreciate the unprecedented gesture made by the police to show me the video recordings of the sequence of events during the time when my mother was in police custody."

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74-yr-old in custody: Procedures followed, say authorities
Madam Simon said her mother, Madam Savarimuthu, could not recall the contact details of any relatives while in custody as she was "stressed and overwhelmed". ST FHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Standard procedures were followed & several opportunities were given for a 74-yr-old woman to contact her family during her arrest, said the prison service & police force.

They were responding to a letter published on Wednesday in The Straits Times Forum page by Madam Gertrude Simon that her mother Josephine Savarimuthu was handcuffed & had leg restraints on when she was moved between the police station, Changi Women's Prison (CWP) & the court.

She wrote that there was a need for the police & government agencies to re-examine the procedures involving elderly suspects, & that factors like their age, health & mental state, along with the seriousness of the offence, had to be considered.

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Singapore Police Force 22 hrs

MADAM JOSEPHINE SAVARIMUTHU WAS NEVER RESTRAINED BY POLICE

The Straits Times reported today (Senior in custody: Procedures followed, Straits Times,16 March 2017) that Madam Gertrude Simon had said that her mother, Madam Josephine Savarimuthu, was handcuffed and restrained while in Police custody. In the same report, the Straits Times reported that the Police had clarified that Mdm Savarimuthu was not restrained.

The Police have reached out to Madam Simon today inviting her to view the video footages from Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras and the Body-Worn Cameras on the Police officers, at her convenience. These video footages showed clearly that Mdm Savarimuthu was not restrained at any time when in Police custody. The video footages also showed that she was alert, coherent and communicative when in Police custody and did not appear to be distressed.

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Police release second statement on 73-year-old woman arrested for town council offence

The Police has released a second statement about the incident of an alleged harsh treatment of a 73-year-old woman who was recently arrested. The woman, who was identified by the Police as Madam Josephine Savarimuthu, was arrested when she went to make a police report at the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre about a lost pawn shop ticket.

The woman had a warrant of arrest issued against her on a town council related matter. The warrant of arrest was issued in 2015 for “the wrongful placement of potted plants outside her flat, which amounted to an offence involving a $400 fine.”

The daughter of Madam Savarimuthu who brought the issue of treatment of elderly citizens who are arrested to public attention via a letter to the Straits Times Forum Page, asked the Police and relevant government agencies to relook procedures for arresting elderly citizens.

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Elderly woman arrested and handcuffed by police after reporting a lost pawn shop ticket

An old and frail women went to a neighbourhood police centre to report a lost pawn shop ticket but got arrested instead. She was handcuffed and given leg restraints and her family wasn’t informed by the police because the women was stressed and overwhelmed and was unable to recall the contact details of any of her relatives.

Madam Gertrude Simon wrote in The Straits Times on 15 March that she is deeply saddened and shocked by the events that happened to her mother that took place on 4 March.

Mdm Simon wrote, “My mother is 73 years old, frail and suffers from a host of medical conditions. That morning, she went to the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre to report a lost pawn shop ticket.”

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73 Y.O. WOMAN HANDCUFFED & SENT TO PRISON OVER TOWN COUNCIL RELATED OFFENCE

A 73 year old woman was handcuffed and sent to Changi Women's Prison this morning for remand after she showed up at an Ang Mo Kio South Neighborhood Police Post (NPP) to report a lost pawn shop ticket.

According to her daughter, who wrote to newspapers, her mother was arrested on charges of failing to appear for a court hearing on a town council related matter in 2015.

After she was sent to the State Courts to face her charges, she was transferred to Changi Women's Prison.

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73-year-old woman allegedly shackled and treated harshly after arrest for town council related offence

A letter writer to the Straits Times forum page has complained about the manner in which her 73-year-old mother was treated when she went to make a police report. The letter writer, Gertrude Simon, said that her mother was arrested when she went to the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre to report about a lost pawn shop ticket. The woman had a warrant of arrest issued against her on a town council related matter. The warrant of arrest was issued in 2015.

No further details of the offence was provided to the elderly woman but she was detained in the police station and was transferred to the Changi Women’s Prison (CWP), after being produced at a State Court. The woman was locked-up in CWP over the weekend and bail was granted by the State Court only on 6 March.

The woman forgot the contact details of all her relatives because of the stress of the ordeal and the family members only got to know about her predicament after officers from the CWP contacted them. The family however was not allowed to visit the woman throughout the period she was detained.

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Singapore Police handcuff and put leg restraints on my 73-year-old mother

I am deeply saddened and shocked by the events that took place on March 4. My mother is 73 years old, frail and suffers from a host of medical conditions.

That morning, she went to the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre to report a lost pawn shop ticket. However, the officer-in-charge informed her that there was a warrant of arrest issued against her in 2015 for failing to appear for a court hearing on a town council-related matter. They did not provide her with any further details of the offence.

She was detained and taken to the Ang Mo Kio Police Station and, from there, to the State Courts, before being remanded at Changi Women’s Prison (CWP). While in custody, my mother was stressed and overwhelmed, and was unable to recall the contact details of any of her relatives.

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A Bad day in uniform

The agencies’ response is really, to put it bluntly, horrible. If the purpose was to maintain an image of immoveability because of a “duty to uphold the law”, it succeeded.

I wish the response would have been this instead:
We learnt with much regret what Madam Josephine Savarimuthu had to go through over the weekend when she was remanded at Changi. In hindsight, we could have done more to track down her next-of-kin and spared her the ordeal of incarceration. Law enforcement officers must uphold the law but they should also be sensitive in their one-on-one dealings with members of the public. While abiding by SOPs is important, this does not mean that no discretion is afforded to officers handling individual cases.
We will be looking for her missing pawn ticket.

related: In defence of the SOP and robot cops

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related: Children Handcuffed And Arrested By Police

Ms Ang, a volunteer for children's development needs, commented on her photo of 3 boys, aged 9 to 12 years old, being arrested for theft on a Saturday morning (Dec 27): “Pains my heart that the police (would) handcuff young kids.”

Amolat Singh, a criminal lawyer, had this to add: “We don't see such things happening very often in Singapore, so when I heard and saw this photo, naturally it was quite shocking.”

What really takes the cake is this dumb statement from the highly esteemed Singapore Police Force (SPF): “The subjects were handcuffed for the safety of them and others as they had attempted to escape before police’s arrival.”

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