Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Meeting with the police

I went for a meeting with the Deputy Director of the Operations Department for the Police Force today to discuss how we might work with them to make filing police reports easier. I had told them that we had several people telling us that they could not file reports, because they had been told that animal abuse was not serious. Apparently, they traced the officer who had answered the call that one of the caregivers made and spoke with him. She assured me when I asked, that the person would not get into trouble, but would be told what the proper procedure is. She said that feedback like this is very important - and they will not get anyone into trouble, but will be used to improve performance. She encouraged us to let her know if we do encounter such situations. She said they do not punish or rebuke officers unless they are rude or unprofessional in any way.

On a larger scale, I mentioned that we wanted to see how we could reach out to officers to try and get the information out that animal abuse is a crime. She mentioned that a circular had been sent out in March this year but that perhaps not everyone was aware of it still. I asked if it would be possible to speak with the officers or the recruits while they are still in the Academy so that they are aware of this law. She was open to the idea and suggested alternatively as well that perhaps we could send them a packet on what we would like them to teach. They can then also include the proper procedure that should be followed.

She also made it clear that if there is a crime being committed, or if someone finds an abused and dead cat after office hours, the public should call the police. She said alternatively, if it is during office hours, the public can also call the AVA.


Blogger calsifer said...

I will not dwell on the incredulity I feel at the ignorance that people trying to report animal cruelty face... but I do want to say: OY! I also think getting them when they're in their formative years is vital! =D

For ideas on what to teach, may I suggest looking at this site, and contacting the people in charge - they're a US-based site dedicated to the cause (galvernised by a tragic personal experience), and have made a vid which they use to reach out to prosecutors and law enforcers. Apparently, the vid's circulation has extended beyond American shores.

May take a while to get a response, but the vibe I got when I contacted them previously was that they're very willing to share info.

30/8/06 5:00 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Calsifer!

The NUS Pro Bono Law Club is also supposed to be working on this when they asked what help we needed. I'm waiting to see what they've done so hopefully that can be the basis of the packets.

Even if not all the police officers may not share our outrage on abuse, if they know it's in the law, that will be a HUGE step forward!

30/8/06 5:03 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Oh, and how about getting them to feature animal cruelty on crime watch? You know, education of the public and sending a message to would-be abusers

30/8/06 5:04 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

That's great! And if prosecutors can finally see fit to pile on multiple counts of charges, instead of asking for a ridiculous composite fine, eg the case of known and convicted illegal wildlife trade offender, Lawrence Kuah where he only had to pay $1,000 last yr for the neglect inflicted on the 106 dogs on his damned breeding farm - the prosecutors could have asked for $10,000 x 106 and 1yr jail X 106! Maybe he wouldn't have had the leisure to try smuggling in those rare parrots, and killnig them in the process... and enjoy the thrill of bail-jumping on his illegal trade charges this May past!

30/8/06 5:09 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Says Dawn who rarely watches TV : Crimewatch is still on?

30/8/06 5:15 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

I know, the improbability of it! Caught it on occasion while jostling along on buses... now this is probably the only time I'm not annoyed with TV blaring on bus leh!

30/8/06 5:17 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Hi Dawn, good work and i like the idea proposed by calsifer to feature animal cruelty on crime watch.

30/8/06 5:19 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Mary - I didn't do anything except meet with them for a bit! I have to say that the people who are a bit higher up in the police all seem to be aware that animal abuse is a crime. The problem most caregivers face is that at the police post level, there's a lack of information.

Calsifer - is Crimewatch only for unsolved crimes?

30/8/06 5:29 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

I'm not sure - I don't listen to the tv mobile broadcasts =P but if memory serves, they do feature non-crime segments, educational/informational stuff - like how old folks / kids can protect themselves against big bad strangers. Also, I believe they also feature some solved crimes, and talk about how they cracked these cases. The educational/informational stuff seem to be usually tied to the theme of the episode.

30/8/06 5:34 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Dawn, you are always so generous with your praises but always take so little for yourself.

30/8/06 5:52 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

That's because all of you are doing the hard work :)

I am constantly amazed by all of your hard work and dedication. No matter how much I complain about difficult complainants and the like I am also constantly impressed and inspired by all the caregivers!

30/8/06 6:03 PM  
Anonymous mr giggles said...

Hi Dawn, yes, CrimeWatch is still on, and yes, it does feature all sorts of crime, solved and unsolved. And, as Calsifer mentioned, tips on crime prevention too.

If we can have one episode featuring animal abuse and telling the public it IS an offence punishable by law, and reportable, BOTH the public and the less well-informed police officers will now have no excuse to say they don't know it's a crime.

CrimeWatch is also in Chinese. Which means it reaches out to almost everyone who watches local TV.

We can also ask for public assistance to report abuse as well as to highlight current serial abuses so that the criminal may either stop the abuses (more people helping volunteers to look out for him/her) or get caught sooner.

I'm SO looking forward to this happening. The sooner the better. Great move, Dawn, to speak to the higher levels of law enforcement.

30/8/06 7:29 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Thanks Mr Giggles! It is a great suggestion Calsifer!

30/8/06 8:37 PM  
Blogger calsifer said...

Just a random thought =P glad it makes sense. Is Crime watch also broadcast in Malay/Hindu? Be great if it reaches all creeds!

btw, Dawn, would we see the AG taking animal cruelty prosecuting more seriously/pressing for heavier penalties happening ala your reaching out to the police higher-ups?

Would it be possible to reach out to law students, perhaps via the NUS Pro Bono Law Club, and instil in them the gravity of animal cruelty? As with the police in Academy - get'em in their formative years?

30/8/06 9:03 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Calsifer - I think that the AGC will react more to matters of public interest, so if people write in, I think that will have greater impact. I don't think seeing the police will affect that per se. Also this isn't the first time we've seen the police. The higher ups appreciate that abuse is a crime, but the message is not disseminating which is why we thought we needed to meet with them to see what can be done.

30/8/06 10:25 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Yes, crime watch is featured on Channel 5, Channel 8, Suria and Arts Central(Tamil)

31/8/06 9:19 AM  

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