Little India riot: Q & A during police briefing

Little India riot: Q & A during police briefing

Were the rioters intoxicated?

We are unable to confirm this at this point.

Will police presence be stepped up in Little India, especially on weekends? We have stepped up police presence in the immediate vicinity - Race Course Road and its surroundings. We are now planning for initial measures, if any, to take this weekend.

It's premature to announce anything at this point. But I think it is important for residents in the area to know that police have stepped up presence.

What are the circumstances in which a police officer could use his firearm? Why weren't firearms used in Sunday's riots?

If there is a direct threat to the lives of the officers and the personal safety of others, the officers could very well escalate to that level of force.

In this case, officers were very restrained in terms of their engagement. This is because we didn't want to escalate the situation. The focus was very much on dispersing the crowd, breaking them up into smaller groups and defusing the situation so that we can arrest them at the smallest opportunity.

Under what conditions would police activate special operations units, and how many of such officers were there?

Special Operations Command (SOC) would be activated in a situation when there is a public order incident on a large scale. If it is something beyond the capacity of the division concerned, (SOC would be activated) to deal with the matter.

In this case, we looked at the size of the crowd and the fact that they had turned hostile. Their level of violence progressively increased. The decision was made that we needed special police forces on the ground, so SOC was activated. Two troops of SOC officers were sent.

Why is it that only 27 have been arrested so far?

You have to bear in mind that when the SOC was deployed, people had started to clear out. (The rioters) knew that there was (a large number of officers) and what would happen, so they started taking flight. That accounted for dispersal, which was actually what we wanted to do by deploying the SOC.

Some critics have said the SOC did not respond fast enough and the police could have done more. This was an incident that started off as a traffic accident, and it progressively grew worse. What we were really dealing with was the unruly mob that took the law into their own hands.

They should have let the police deal with the matter with proper and fair investigations. But they took the law into their own hands and now they will have to face the consequences of their actions.

l Some answers were edited for brevity and clarity.

ngjunsen@sph.com.sg


Get The New Paper for more stories.

 

Purchase this article for republication.

BRANDINSIDER

SPONSORED

Most Read

Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.