Adopt softer measures to encourage reporting of radicalised individuals

The latest reports on the arrest of some Aetos officers for radicalism are disturbing (2 auxiliary cops arrested for terror-linked offences; June 21).

As long as the penalty for offenders is harsh, no family member or friend would want to report to the authorities that someone they know has been radicalised.

Yes, it is the right thing to do for the greater good of society, but kinship and friendship forbid such "betrayal".

We can learn from smoking and gambling addiction programmes, where counselling instead of prosecution is done, and the offender and his family's privacy protected instead of being publicly shamed.

It is enough for details of the offender's demographic profile to be shared in the media to alert the public that radicalised people live in our midst, without naming the offender.

Softer measures sometimes work better when strong emotions are involved.

Theresa Lim Siew Leng (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2017, with the headline 'Adopt softer measures to encourage reporting of radicalised individuals'. Print Edition | Subscribe