Published: 14 March 2016
Assoc Prof Fatimah Lateef: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs how much training are police officers given in recognising mental health presentations and what is their course of action if they encounter such cases in carrying out their duties.
1. Madam Speaker, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) equips police officers with the skills to handle their jobs through a number of various structured and customised training programmes.
2. All officers undergo a 3-month Basic Officer Course when they first join the Force. During the course, they are trained to handle different situations, including encounters with persons who show signs of mental illness or illnesses.
3. And after the basic 3-month course, officers attend a customised course based on their vocation. Those deployed to patrol duties attend a 3-month Neighbourhood Police Centre Ground Response Force (NPC GRF) Course. During that course, they learn techniques in dealing with situations where there are disputes or violence, including taking control of the situation, prevention of the escalation of violence, rendering and requesting for medical assistance, investigating possible offences committed, and providing the parties involved with an avenue of dispute resolution or conflict resolution. And the training would involve the officers having to deal with situations where they come across persons with mental illnesses or mental health conditions.
4. In addition to the training, the SPF works closely with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) as well as the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to manage persons who may have mental health conditions. When our frontline officers suspect that the person is suffering from mental health conditions but that the person does not pose any danger to himself or others, they will liaise with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to follow up.
5. In cases where our officers take the view that the person is of unsound mind and poses a danger to himself or to someone else, they may arrest the person under the Mental Health Care and Treatment Act for referral to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) for expert medical assessment.