Police to review the way youth are questioned

The police are reviewing their procedures for interviewing young persons after a 14-year-old boy fell to his death last week following questioning by the police.

A police statement yesterday said: "The police have been asked whether it should review the procedure to allow an appropriate adult to be present when a young person is interviewed. The police will review and address this issue."

Concerns have surfaced online following reports that the student was questioned by police at his school without his parents being present or aware of it.

Police said officers went in plainclothes and unmarked cars - "to keep investigations discreet" - to his school on Jan 26 after a report of molestation was lodged the day before.

Naming him for the first time in their statements, police said that after discussions with school officials, "Benjamin" was identified through closed circuit television records.

"He was brought to the principal's office by a school official and was spoken with in the presence of a police officer," police said.

Before he was taken to the Ang Mo Kio division for more interviews, he called his mother to let her know what was going on.

The police said an officer also spoke to his mother. At the division, Benjamin was interviewed by an investigation officer at his workstation in an open office.

Benjamin was later released on bail and left the headquarters with his mother, said the police.

According to media reports, he then went home to the family's 14th-floor flat in Yishun with his mother and sister. His mother said she found the window of his room open and rushed to the ground floor, to see him lying on the ground.

"Benjamin's passing was tragic," said the police, adding that they had met the family to address their questions and provide clarifications on the police officers' actions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Police to review the way youth are questioned'. Print Edition | Subscribe