A letter written to the Straits Times forum page complained about the manner in which her 73-year-old mother was treated when she went to make a police report.
The letter writer, Gertrude Simon, said that her mother was arrested when she went to the Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre to report about a lost pawn shop ticket.
The woman had a warrant of arrest issued against her on a town council related matter. The warrant of arrest was issued in 2015.
She wrote that there was a need for the police and government agencies to re-examine the procedures involving elderly suspects, and that factors like their age, health and mental state, along with the seriousness of the offence, had to be considered.
A joint statement by the Singapore Prison Service (SPS) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) last night said she was not restrained by the police, and this was done only when she was transferred to prison as part of standard procedures.
“Throughout her time with the police, Madam Simon’s mother was not restrained, and was offered food and water. She did not show any sign of being traumatised, and was alert when in police custody,”
The statement said Madam Savarimuthu had lodged a police report at Ang Mo Kio South Neighbourhood Police Centre on March 4 – a Saturday – for a missing pawn ticket. While processing her report, the police officer discovered that Madam Savarimuthu had an outstanding warrant of arrest issued by the court in 2016 for failing to attend court relating to a town council summons.
It added that Madam Savarimuthu admitted she had an outstanding case with the town council. She was placed under arrest and transferred to Ang Mo Kio Police Division, where she was allowed to call a bailor but declined to do so, said the agencies, adding that she was transferred to the State Courts the same morning to process her outstanding arrest warrant.
The statement said that at the State Courts, Madam Savarimuthu was again asked if she wished to contact anyone for bail, but she declined again.
“If she had accepted the bail offer, she would have been released that day, and attended court another day,” it added.
Madam Savarimuthu was then escorted by SPS officers to CWP to be remanded until March 6, a Monday, which was the next available date for court mention.
In her transfer to prison, Madam Savarimuthu was restrained at the hands and legs, which is part of SPS’ standard operating procedures, which include preventing persons in custody from harming themselves, the agencies said.
At the prison, Madam Savarimuthu provided the contact details of her granddaughter, who was reached on the same day about what had happened, the next court date and procedure for bail.
The agencies said Madam Simon went to CWP and was informed by SPS officers on the court procedures for bailing out her mother.
“She was also reassured that SPS was aware of her mother’s pre-existing medical condition and that she was being provided with the necessary medication and assistance,” it added.
“The police and SPS have a duty to enforce the law and to ensure that the rule of law is respected. At the same time, we are committed to ensuring the well-being and safety of persons in our custody.”
Despite the agencies’ account, Madam Simon said her mother was handcuffed and restrained when she was moved from the police post to the police division and to the courts. But she said her mother, who suffers from several illness, was thankfully placed in the medical ward in prison, where she received her daily doses of medicine.
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