Young people under police investigation

Published Date: 10 January 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Assoc Prof Daniel Goh Pei Siong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Schools) whether the Ministry will be accepting and adopting all the suggestions made by the State Coroner to mitigate the risks of suicide and adverse psychological effects for young people under police investigation.

Response

1. The Ministry of Education is part of a multi-agency review committee formed to consider the State Coroner’s suggestions. The committee is led by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and includes the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Attorney-General’s Chambers. As announced by the Minister for Home Affairs last week, the committee has undertaken a comprehensive review of the investigation processes for young persons. Following from its recommendations, we will implement further measures that will provide enhanced support for the well-being of young persons under police investigation. These measures will be implemented in schools by February 2017.

2. Any young person conveyed from one of our schools to the Police station for an interview will generally be accompanied by an appointed school personnel familiar to the young person. This could be his or her teacher, Year Head, or School Counsellor. The school will provide the police relevant information for all cases to better understand the young person’s personal circumstances. The police will inform the parent about the arrest as soon as possible.

3. The review committee has also recommended the implementation of an Appropriate Adult (AA) Scheme for young suspects, as announced by the Minister for Home Affairs last week. This Appropriate Adult will provide emotional support and observe the young person for signs of psychological distress during the interview by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA). Thereafter, the school personnel will keep in touch with the parent to work out follow-up steps to look after the young person’s well-being. This includes monitoring his or her well-being and making counselling support available.

4. These efforts by our schools, other government agencies, parents and the community, will support the well-being of young persons under investigation

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