Call for scheme to cover minors, the elderly

The open plan office at an Ang Mo Kio police station where investigation officers conduct interviews. In countries such as Britain, an "appropriate adult" must sit in when the police question minors.
The open plan office at an Ang Mo Kio police station where investigation officers conduct interviews. In countries such as Britain, an "appropriate adult" must sit in when the police question minors. PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HOME AFFAIRS

There have been suggestions from lawyers, social workers and politicians this year to extend the Appropriate Adult Scheme to cover minors and the elderly.

The call came after Benjamin Lim, 14, jumped to his death hours after attending a police interview in January.

His death generated discussion about police procedures when investigating minors, with State Coroner Marvin Bay suggesting last month that school counsellors accompany their charges to police stations as a "reassuring presence".

The police have said they will consider the coroner's suggestion and the Appropriate Adult Scheme in their ongoing review of the protocol for interviewing young persons.

In countries such as Britain, an "appropriate adult" - a parent, guardian or social worker - must sit in when the police question minors.

State Coroner Marvin Bay suggested last month that school counsellors accompany their charges to police stations as a "reassuring presence".

Ms Denise Phua, MP for Jalan Besar GRC, suggested that the scheme also cover the elderly with dementia.

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 04, 2016, with the headline 'Call for scheme to cover minors, the elderly'. Print Edition | Subscribe