SINGAPORE: Police officers in Singapore are trained in handling persons who show signs of mental illnesses, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam in Parliament on Monday (Mar 14).
Mr Shanmugam, responding to queries from Member of Parliament for Marine Parade GRC Fatimah Lateef, said police officers are trained to handle different situations during a three-month course that they have to attend when they join the force. The basic officer course includes training officers to handle people who show signs of mental illnesses, he said.
After the three-month basic course, officers attend a customised course based on their vocation course, said Mr Shanmugam, who is also the Law Minister.
Those deployed to patrol duties must attend an additional three-month neighbourhood police centre ground response force course, he said. The officers will learn how to deal with various situations, such as preventing the escalation of violence, rendering and requesting for medical assistance, and providing parties involved with an avenue for conflict resolution.
Mr Shanmugam also said that the Singapore Police Force works closely with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), as well as the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC), to manage those who may have mental health conditions.
He said: “When our frontline officers suspect that a person is suffering from mental health conditions but that person does not pose any danger to himself or others, they will liaise with AIC to follow up.
“In cases where officers take the view that the person is of unsound mind and poses a danger, either to himself or someone else, they may arrest him under the Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act for referral to IMH for expert medical assessment.”