With all the floods in Singapore, it truly is a sensational story isn’t it?
One worthy of press coverage especially in areas whereby Civil Servants are hard at work trying to resolve or come to terms with the Act of God opposed to the cockiness of one old man. And in the midst of all the flood and press trying to make an extensive coverage of it, a little fiasco ensued.
The little fiasco between a Lianhe Wanbao photographer and a little unknown and stupid Police Officer took place at Upper Bukit Timah Road.
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As someone who still reports for reservist duty as a Police Officer, I am well aware of the Penal Code and Statutes that governs and dictates what a Police Officer can and cannot do.
Whilst there are many things that a Police Officer can do whereby he is empowered to do so having satisfied himself beyond reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed, there are also instances whereby Police Officers are strongly encouraged to exercise discretion in their line of duty.
This exercise of discretion threads on a very thin line but Police Officers are still able to make sustainable judgement calls depending on the situation. It would of course differ with the extend of the offence, if any, has been committed. The reason why such discretion is empowered to Police Officers is to ensure that Police Officers don’t waste resources over certain matters which could be settled amicably out of justice’s purview.
In this magnificent fiasco between the photographer and Police Officer, the photographer was doing his job to snap interesting shots of photographs of the flood when he was advised by the Police Officer to leave the scene. Yes, the flood could mean catastrophe for the photographer if his camera fell into the water but surely it didn’t warrant the officer to dish out his handcuff and to place the photographer under arrest for refusing to leave.
I don’t think such an arrest was called for especially when there was No Offence Disclosed. Sure, the photographer could be arrested for Interfering with Police Duties but this must be enacted only after several warnings have been meted out – again exercising patience and discretion. But this was perhaps, not to be, as how the information has been received through the press as the officer didn’t provide any form of warning nor exercised due diligence in carrying out his duties.
There is of course an understanding that should officers even hold someone, that person is in effect, under arrest. That is of course, going by law’s context but is ridiculous. For this poor photographer, he had the priviledge of having the cuffs on his wrist and then being pulled to the side without cause nor reason although I’m sure the Investigation Officer who attended to him must have been cringing in pain knowing that the Police Officer had acted stupidly without cause or reason for the Wrongful Arrest.
Having critiqued so much, we’ve only heard one side of the story. As in all judiciary establishments, it is important to hear the other side of the story. I’m sure the Singapore Police Force will be issuing a statement soon to either debunk the photographer’s story, apologize for the boo-boo or to accept the story but defend the officers ability in exercising discretion.
My take on this, sue the damn Singapore Police Force who will then put the officer on suspended patrolling duties, cut salary to half and hold the bonus till he is acquited from the case – THIS IS THE STANDARD PRACTICE.
On another take, I think god is really angry now that Singapore is SIN CITY. Haven’t you realized that we’re only getting floods after the Casino’s have been fully operational? It may be mere coincidence but surely, this is a point worth mulling over.