Police sensitive to how they check commuters

A commuter at Little India MRT station being directed to go through a security screening on Nov 12, 2018.
A commuter at Little India MRT station being directed to go through a security screening on Nov 12, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

We refer to Mr Carl Tay's letter (Explain protocol for random checks, May 24) and Ms Low Siew Hua's letter (More discretion needed during random checks, May 27).

Police officers from the Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) conduct patrols and random checks on persons at public transport nodes to prevent, deter and detect crime and potential security incidents.

During such checks, officers may search a person's belongings to see if he or she is carrying prohibited items such as weapons, drugs or stolen items.

Last year, 723 arrests were made by TransCom officers at public transport nodes as a result of such checks.

The police are mindful of the need to carry out checks in a manner that minimises inconvenience to commuters. Police officers are trained to conduct the checks quickly and professionally.

If more detailed checks are necessary, they will generally conduct them where there is less human traffic. In Mr Tay's case, we agree that the officers could have conducted the checks better, including explaining clearly the purpose of checking his belongings.

We have since contacted Mr Tay to apologise for the unpleasant experience and to thank him for his feedback.

Commuters make several million trips on our public transport system daily.

We may not always be able to conduct the checks away from the public eye, and it would also inconvenience even more the persons being checked.

The Land Transport Authority, too, has instituted additional security measures within the MRT network, including random bag checks.

We hope that the public can understand and appreciate the need for such checks, which are for the safety and security of commuters, and will cooperate with the officers.

Simon Ng (Deputy Assistant Commissioner)

Assistant Director (Public Communications Division)

Public Affairs Department

Singapore Police Force

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2019, with the headline 'Police sensitive to how they check commuters'. Print Edition | Subscribe