'Very remarkable' that S'pore police seen as fair by different races: PM

Police officers interacting with a member of the public.
Police officers interacting with a member of the public.PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE / FACEBOOK

Police in Singapore are seen as fair by people of different races, a unique and remarkable achievement in the world, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, as he emphasised the importance of the police being even-handed in handling racial and religious incidents.

Citing a two-year-old survey by the Institute of Policy Studies and OnePeople.sg, he said yesterday that Singaporeans overwhelmingly believe that the police treat them fairly, regardless of race and religion.

In the poll of more than 3,000 people, fewer than 4 per cent of the minority respondents said that they were treated worse than other races by the police when they reported a crime or were suspected of having committed an offence.

Crediting the Home Team for this, Mr Lee said it played an important part in maintaining racial and religious harmony here.

This is unlike the situation in some countries, where the police have been accused of racial profiling, he told community and religious leaders at the OnePeople.sg conference yesterday.

Mr Lee noted that in the United States, there have been huge uproars recently over how policemen dealt with incidents involving minorities.

"Every time... a minority gets shot, a black man gets beaten up, a tennis star gets mistaken for a crook, big uproar... Sometimes, they have riots," he said.

In Britain, too, the police are finding it hard to do their policing duties in London, with minority communities there believing that the police are "not on their side".

Mr Lee said similar issues also exist in South-east Asia.

Praising the police here for having bucked the trend, he said, to applause from the audience: "That is very, very remarkable."

Tham Yuen-C

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2015, with the headline ''Very remarkable' that S'pore police seen as fair by different races: PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe