Make it hassle-free to report suspected radicals

The authorities should make reporting suspected radicalised individuals hassle-free, for example, by setting up a hotline that allows anonymous feedback (To tell or not to tell, that is the question; June 10).

It is human nature to protect our loved ones, so immediate family members of radicalised individuals often live in denial, hoping that their observations about the individual are wrong and that everything will turn out fine eventually.

If there are no adverse or punitive consequences for not reporting radicalised individuals, it is unrealistic to expect immediate family members of radicalised individuals to come forward.

Friends, neighbours, colleagues and distant relatives may face much less psychological dilemma about reporting their suspicions but may not want the radicalised individual or his immediate family members to know that they have reported him to the authorities.

Hence, the need for the reporting processes to be hassle-free and anonymous.

The authorities would have ways to discern between genuine feedback and prank calls but we should not insist that all callers identify and subject themselves to follow-up investigations because of concerns about prank calls.

The authorities should also assure the public that so long as the feedback is well intended, callers will not be taken to task if their feedback turns out to be a false alarm.

Chia Boon Teck

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2017, with the headline 'Make it hassle-free to report suspected radicals'. Print Edition | Subscribe