Increased penalties for motorists who evade roadblocks, enhanced powers for police from Jan 1: MHA
SINGAPORE: Increased penalties for motorists who evade roadblocks and enhanced powers for police officers will come into force from Jan 1 next year.
The amendments to the Police Force Act were passed in Parliament on Aug 3, and the provisions will enhance the Singapore Police Force’s (SPF) operational capabilities and readiness, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday (Dec 30).
They will also strengthen the SPF’s disciplinary, administrative and human resources processes, MHA added.
From Jan 1, 2022, motorists who evade roadblocks will face increased penalties. It will also cover more modes of roadblock evasion other than physical dash through.
Those who evade roadblocks may be sentenced to up to seven years’ jail and fined up to S$10,000. This is more than the current maximum jail term of 12 months and a maximum fine of S$5,000.
The increased penalties ensure that deterrence against such offences "remains effective", said MHA.
Police officers' existing powers to erect barriers and cordons to control human traffic will be made explicit, it added. Failing to comply with a police officer's instructions not to cross such barriers and cordons will also be made an offence.
Police officers will be equipped with the “necessary powers and protections”, such as the power to enter any place in case of medical emergency to protect people from injury or death, said MHA.
From Jan 1, 2022, Special Police Officers (SPOs), such as full-time national servicemen, operationally ready NSmen, volunteer ex-NSmen, and Volunteer Special Constabulary Officers, will be conferred the same powers as regular police officers.
Currently, SPOs only have powers of investigation, and do not have other powers to allow them to take “proactive action to protect public safety”. Examples of duties that require such powers include setting up roadblocks, performing crowd dispersal and assisting in cases of attempted suicide.
Commercial Affairs Officers (CAOs), who investigate commercial and financial crimes, will be equipped with more powers as required in the course of their duties. This includes the power to arrest people who possess stolen items. Currently, CAOs only have powers of investigation.
To streamline SPF’s administrative and human resource processes, several other provisions will also take effect from Jan 1, 2022.
The Minister for Home Affairs will be the authority to appoint, promote, reduce rank, dismiss and discharge SPOs ranked Superintendent and above. For those ranked Deputy Superintendent and below, the authority will be the Commissioner of Police.
“This is aligned with the promotion authorities for the (Singapore Civil Defence Force),” said MHA.
SPOs and civilian officers employed by SPF will be allowed to join police associations alongside police officers, as an avenue to advance their welfare.
Other minor operational amendments will also take effect from Jan 1, 2022 to streamline processes controlling the sale of police uniforms or insignias and the issuance of warrant cards.
Other amendments to the Police Force Act will take effect at a later date, with more details to be announced separately, said MHA.