Parliament: People aged below 16 or above 65 will generally not have to be in restraints when arrested, says Amrin

SINGAPORE - People in custody are restrained to prevent them from escaping and harming others or themselves, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin in Parliament on Monday (Jan 14).

But people who are younger than 16 or older than 65 will generally not be restrained when being arrested.

However, this will not apply to those in the custody of the Prison Service, including convicted prisoners and persons in remand, Mr Amrin said.

He was replying to Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast GRC), who asked about the restraint policy for people in custody, particularly the vulnerable like the elderly.

Mr Amrin also said people in custody suspected of committing serious crimes such as murder, rape or drug trafficking are likely to be restrained by enforcement officers.

They could also be restrained if the escorting officer assesses that there is a risk of them escaping or causing harm to others or themselves.

"Any indication of unstable or irrational behaviour could also be reasons for coming to such conclusions. We will have to go by judgments made by officers on the spot," he added.

 
 
 

In 2017, the arrest and subsequent use of hand and leg restraints on a 73-year-old woman was criticised by some people who asked whether greater discretion should be used in the handling of elderly people in custody.

Madam Josephine Savarimuthu was arrested by police on March 4 at a neighbourhood police centre while making a report for a lost pawn ticket.

She was asked twice if she wanted to make a phone call to anyone to bail her out - once at a police station and again, in court. She declined both times.

When she was being escorted between the courts and Changi Women's Prison, Madam Savarimuthu had restraints on her hands and legs.

Her dismayed daughter Gertrude Simon, 55, urged a review of the procedures. She came to learn of her mother's case after Madam Savarimuthu was remanded at the Changi prison, about seven hours after her arrest.

Replying to her comments, the Prison Service and police force said standard procedures were followed and that Madam Savarimuthu was given several opportunities to contact her family during her arrest.