Mutual understanding can cement good police-public relations

The diverse frank and candid views on the case of Benjamin Lim set me thinking about the relationship between the police and children ("No basis for hasty conclusion on boy's death: Shanmugam"; March 2).

Many years ago, most parents used to threaten their children that the police would arrest them if they misbehaved or refused to finish their meals.

Often, this worked effectively and the young would usually conduct themselves with decorum, because police personnel were generally regarded as no-nonsense professionals who did not condone any form of misbehaviour.

But this is not the case nowadays as most children are more knowledgeable; they are aware of their rights and the service which the police are obliged to provide.

Benjamin's case is a tragic and complex one, and, at this point in time, it is important to not make any insinuations or speculations that can only further confuse and complicate matters.

I observe that the police and schools have worked in partnership by organising talks to educate students on crime prevention and road safety.

It would, thus, be more beneficial if students are cognisant of how the police system works in areas where juvenile offences are committed, and the correct approaches adopted by police in dealing with delinquent children.

Such sessions will also be beneficial for students to know their rights and expectations when being approached by police personnel, whether in school or on the street.

It helps greatly, especially when they happen to be involved with someone who impersonates a police officer.

More than that, mutual understanding and a sense of empathy play a pivotal role in cementing good police-public relationships.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng