09 August 2006

The Police Seem To Have No Sense of Priority

Remember Char? He had posted some allegedly offensive cartoons of Jesus on his blog. Someone called the police and this led to the police investigating Char for possible offences under the Sedition Act. A few months ago, I wrote about Char's case, and in the Comment section of my post, I queried whether the police was wasting time and resources on such cases instead of focusing on serious criminal matters:
".... In contrast - and you may not know this - if you have ever been a victim of other kinds of offence:

(minor molest? stolen handphone? neighbour hit you? husband threatened you with violence? car vandalised?)

you may be very disappointed to discover that the police may not be very keen to investigate the case. They simply are too busy. They will often tell you to take out a private lawsuit; or they will tell you that your matter is very minor; or they let you make a police report, then chuck it into the file and do almost nothing.
I cited an example of a violent case of gang assault on a young girl . The police didn't seem to bother with the matter at all:
I do not know whether you are aware of this case -

... and the police response as reported in the media. This is an outright crime, in a public place, organised, premeditated violence; and there is extremely clear evidence that the crime did occur (event was caught on video);

and the police response was: "Oh, we will respond if someone makes a police report."

In other words, if the victim doesn't come forward to report (due to fear etc), the police won't bother to investigate.
Some of you may not be convinced, and may believe that these were one-off incidents, freak examples of terrible police inaction. Well, here are two more examples for you to think about:

1. You get beaten by two men in a road rage incident, in broad daylight, and so badly that you black out twice. The police arrive at the scene and guess what they do? Nothing much.

2. Read this ST Forum letter - six young punks beat up a Singaporean doctor eating at a coffeeshop, breaking a few bones in his face. The doctor needs a 3-hour operation and six months to recover. Again, what did the police do? Read for yourself.

And what DO the police waste their time on, apart from "seditious" bloggers? Ask Yawning Bread - he can tell you. Harassing "Mardi Gras girls" at a party. But not the "Tequila girls" at the same party. What's the difference, you ask? Not much, sensible people would say. But then the police are not sensible. Read more here.

Well, the good news is that we still have hope. The TODAY newspaper reported this on 4 August 2006:

Police may reduce their role in licensing

The police may no longer be the agency issuing licences or regulating businesses that do not cause law and order problems.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng said yesterday he has asked the law enforcement agency to relook its areas of responsibility.

Speaking at the Home Team National Day Observance ceremony, Mr Wong said the police should not be distracted by non-policing issues.

They can then refocus on core areas of responsibility in security, and law and order.

According to 938Live, a review is underway.
Well, I hope you finish the review soon, Mr Wong Kan Seng. So that the next time a Singaporean gets his head beaten in by a bunch of gangsters, the police will actually do something.

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Anonymous said...

Lest we forget, Singapore is utopia, a ShangriLa. Violent crimes, what's that - no such thing in Singapore. "Singapore very safe, you can walk on the streets at 3 am". We are all so "content" with the "beautiful life" in Singapore because we have such "brilliant and the most talented" people in govt. to run this little dot. Sigh, who is bullsh**ting who. That's why I'm so confused as to the role of the police (law enforcement) prosecuting instead of keeping law & order, investigating when a law has actually been broken. Since when does the police has prosecutorial power? Isn't that what AGs are - determined whether a case based on the law worthy of prosecuting?

Whispers from the heart said...

I think Mr Wong will not be able to complete his review any sooner than after Sept IMF meet.

All his kakis are now practising how to control violent protests and learning to operate those cool gadgets they bought to control violent crowds.

Singaporeans who still boast about being able to walk on Singapore streets without worrying about safty better have their brains examined. You can't even eat at a hawker centre safely.

Probably, the whole Police force is mobilised at the Stadium today to look out for people wearing brown shirts and making them change into red and white ones.

Anonymous said...

Have anyone wondered why our "efficient" police force always claim that Singapore has one of the lowest crime rate in the world? The reason seems obvious now, isn't it?

Kevin said...

Perhaps it's a case of who's really working for who. I hate to say this but I am seeing our government as more self-serving than actually citizen-centric. Where's the goodwill?

Anonymous said...

Hear Hear!

Radikaz said...

Mr Wang,

Your post about our police not taking interests in small cases resonant my incident 3 years ago.

My mobile phone and wallet were stolen at Bishan sport complex 3 years ago. The items were taken off from my bag, incredilbly i was'nt alone. Another guy's bag was stolen as well, I also realised the front desk's ceiling was install with an round camera system and a recorder as well. So quickly, we logged a police report at Bishan police post.

Incredibly despite my constant reminder that my wallet and phone was stolen, the police on duty logged the case as loss case. I re-logged the case next day at another police post near my house and wasted 1-2 hrs of my time to remedy a incorrect police report. Because they need to call back to Bishan post and rectified the error and concerted it with the HQ whatever so.

I told them, the Bishan sport complex has a camera which records who told own items. They said they will look into in the video.

Fast forwarded 2 weeks later, i asked the uncle managing the front desk of the Bishan gym if there is any police force retrieving the tape. He said No.

So routinely, the theft case at Bishan gym was chucked under the drawer. And god knows how many wallets and phone continues to be stolen there?

Anonymous said...

when i was much younger, there was a gang fight taking place just downstairs at my flat, with 2 group of gangs approaching each other , with parangs and other weapons.i called the police..and they took half an hour or more to arrive at the scene,where by the time , the fight was over...i cringed to think what if there were innoccent passer-by then...

Anonymous said...

They are not called the poodle force for nothing. Their number 1 priority (unwritten and unspoken rule) is to protect the interests (political, personal and commercial) of the elites. Common sporeans? You die your business.

le radical galoisien said...

We might as well form our own militia.

KiWeTO said...

Why are we blaming the tools of the executive?

should it not be the Executive that has to shoulder responsibliity for the failures of its choice and use of tools rather than blaming the tools?

I am sure we all know friends who have either served Police NS, or are working in the Police force. They are but individuals trying their own best.

Blame the system that inhibits the officers from paying attention to issues that should be the bread and butter of the police force, and making them pay more attention to chasing shadows than actually protecting civil society.

Or maybe its just individuals who happen to be more concerned with covering their asses against the possibility of their superiors' wrath, thus ending up chasing shadows.

Or maybe, the executive just sees what its doing as the best way of protecting civil society. Unfortunately, not all of society sees it the same way. (though they seem to have spun it so that the majority agree with their version of reality).

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

- who guards the guardians?

Sadly, it is truly difficult to answer that question in the society that is modern Singapore.


wert said...

He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.

-V, V for Vendetta

Anonymous said...

According to today's Straits Times (Sat 12 Aug) page H3, they seem to have their hands full arresting mentally-ill people who scribble graffiti about Lee Hsien Loong and Lee Kuan Yew.

No wonder they have no time to protect doctors from getting beaten up.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,

I need your help / advice.

I came across a forum where some people had committed heinous crime. They could be still doing it. I don't know what can I do as it was committed in Indonesia.

Can you give me an email so I can tell you more about it ?

Email : ptc358@yahoo.com

Thank you.