New law giving police special powers to handle terror attacks to take effect May 16: MHA

New law giving police special powers to handle terror attacks to take effect May 16: MHA

STAR unit SPF
A demonstration of a hostage situation, featuring officers from Singapore Police Force's Special Tactics and Rescue (STAR) unit (Photo: SPF)

SINGAPORE: The Public Order and Safety (Special Powers) Act (POSSPA), passed in Parliament on Mar 21 will be brought into force on Wednesday (May 16), the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a news release on Tuesday.

Under POSSPA, the police will be able to use special powers to handle serious incidents, including terrorist attacks.

MHA explained that there is a "two-tier unlocking mechanism" for POSSPA, and that the threshold is high. 

In order for POSSPA to be activated, the Minister for Home Affairs must first authorise the use of the powers in the Act. 

Subsequently, each special power under POSSPA has to be unlocked by the Commissioner of Police only as and when he assesses that the situation requires it, MHA said.

"Indeed, Singapore continues to face a clear and present terrorism threat, posed by home-grown radicalised individuals and foreign terrorists who view Singapore as a prized target," MHA added.

"POSSPA is part of these continuing efforts to combat terrorism. Attacks around the world have shown that terrorists are continuously evolving their methods to inflict maximum casualties and deaths. It is therefore important to equip the police with powers to be able to respond swiftly and effectively to attacks of any scale and of varying tactics, and minimise the chances that their security operations are compromised," it said.

Source: CNA/mn

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