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Ordinary police officers engaging rioters in Little India 'would have been too risky a task'

Published on Mar 5, 2014 2:03 PM
A riot police officer advises a member of the public in the aftermath of the violence that broke out at Little India on Dec 8, 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Engaging the rioters in Little India would have been very risky for police officers because they were outnumbered and did not have the training nor the protection troops from the Special Operations Command (SOC) did, the Committee of Inquiry into the Dec 8 violence was told on Wednesday.

"I am of the view that there would have been a risk to these officers... just because of their numbers," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police (DAC) David Scott Arul, who is also deputy commander of the SOC, and the senior officer in charge of the tactical troops during the riot. "When SOC comes in, we come in with larger numbers," he said.

"The second key thing is the level of training," he added.

SOC officers, with the tactical training they have received, know what to do in a public order incident, he noted. They know how to defend themselves and are able to take steps needed to disperse a crowd.

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