14 Jan 2019

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Restraint Policy for Persons-in-Custody, by Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health

Question:

Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan:
To ask the Minister for Home Affairs what is the restraint policy for persons in custody, particularly those who may be vulnerable such as the elderly.

Answer:

1. Persons-in-Custody (PICs) are restrained for a number of reasons. One reason is to prevent them from escaping. Another important reason is to prevent them from causing harm to others or themselves. The public will not find it acceptable if any of these things happened.

2. We have nevertheless recently reviewed the policy and have made some changes. We will, as a general position, not restrain a PIC known to the relevant enforcement officers to be below 16 years old or aged 65 years old and above when the PIC is being arrested. But if the PIC is suspected of committing serious crimes like murder, rape or drug trafficking, or if the escorting officer assesses, for example, that there is a risk of the PIC escaping or causing harm to others or self, then he or she is likely to be restrained. Any indication of unstable or irrational behavior could also be reasons for coming to such conclusions. We will have to go by judgments made by our officers on the spot.

3. This exception policy will not apply to PICs under Prisons’ custody, which will include convicted prisoners and persons in remand. That means persons below 16, and above 65 will be under restraint when under Prisons’ escort.

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