Review training, protocol behind random checks

A view of Sixth Avenue MRT station.
A view of Sixth Avenue MRT station. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Recent letters from readers prompt me to share my own experience with random checks at Sixth Avenue MRT station (Explain protocol for random checks, by Carl Tay, May 24; and More discretion needed during random checks, by Ms Low Siew Hua, May 27).

Having been subjected to numerous random checks since the station opened in December 2017, and after several futile attempts to provide feedback to the station manager, I lodged a formal complaint to SBS Transit.

I raised two issues: First, if the security officers at the station were well trained, they should recognise me, a frequent commuter who takes the MRT at a specific time.

Second, the manner in which the bag checks were conducted was unprofessional and indiscreet. During a check, for example, the security officer kept asking me what was inside my bag, and doubted me when I told him that it contained my gym gear and feminine items. He wanted me to hold up my belongings in full view of the public.

I was extremely disappointed with SBS Transit's response, which was neither helpful nor empathetic but increased my frustration.

Commuters understand and appreciate the need for random security checks. What I do not comprehend is the unprofessional and untrained manner in which such checks are carried out.

My neighbour, a fellow regular commuter, has also been subjected to many random checks. We speculated that it may be due to the type of bag we both carry and/or its colour.

Perhaps it is time for the authorities to review the training and protocol behind these random checks.

Angeline Poon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2019, with the headline 'Review training, protocol behind random checks'. Print Edition | Subscribe