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'Significant' resources put into investigating former MP Raeesah Khan's claims, say police after Pritam Singh's testimony

'Significant' resources put into investigating former MP Raeesah Khan's claims, say police after Pritam Singh's testimony

Officers from the Singapore Police Force patrolling. (File Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: The police had dedicated "significant" resources into investigating former Member of Parliament (MP) Raeesah Khan's claims, said the Singapore Police Force (SPF) on Monday (Dec 13). 

SPF's statement comes after the Workers' Party chief Pritam Singh said at the Committee of Privileges (COP) hearing on Friday that Ms Khan's false claims would not have an "adverse impact" on the work of the police. 

The police said they would like to provide clarifications in response to media queries arising from Mr Singh's oral evidence at the Committee of Privileges hearing.

The police noted that Mr Singh had "minimised the possible impact of the false claims" made by Ms Khan. 

"(Mr Singh) ​​​​said that no wrong had been done to the police by reason of the false claims made against the police, and questioned the amount of work the police had done to investigate the false claims," said SPF. 

Ms Khan's claims were made in Parliament on Aug 3, where she alleged that a rape case was mishandled by the police after she had accompanied a victim to the police station. 

After the case was mentioned in Parliament on Aug 3, the police said its officers went through many records, including the records of visitors to all police stations islandwide since Jan 1, 2017 to identify the alleged visit. 

"Two rounds of checks were conducted to ensure that we did not miss out any visit. A substantial amount of resources was dedicated to this, because it was a statement made by an MP in Parliament, and was taken seriously and at face value," SPF added. 

As officers also considered the possibility that Ms Khan had accompanied a victim without entering a police station, SPF also "combed through" more than 1,400 sexual assault and related cases from 2018 to 2021.

The list was narrowed down to cases which appeared to "somewhat" match Ms Khan's description in Parliament. 

The Investigation Officers in charge of the cases were all then asked to check through their investigation records in detail, said SPF, adding that other details were also checked with the officers. 

They also checked through all the feedback received from members of the public in 2018, relating to sexual assault. However, no feedback was linked to the case mentioned by Ms Khan. 

"The police had dedicated significant resources to investigate into Ms Khan’s claims. Many police officers had been involved in the investigations into the false claims," said SPF. 

"QUANTITATIVE IMPACT" NOT JUST IN MAN-HOURS LOST

SPF said the "quantitative impact" of such falsehoods was not just in terms of the man-hours lost. 

There were also delays in handling other matters and cases, with an impact on members of the public. The police said those cases could have been handled faster had the time and resources not been "wasted" trying to investigate an incident which never happened. 

"Public trust in the SPF is integral to our officers’ ability to carry out our mission effectively, to ensure the safety and security of our people. 

"If the public whom we serve do not trust us, it would be difficult to secure their cooperation, which is often critical to prevent, deter and detect crime and security incidents," said the police. 

They added that false accusations against the police have an impact on the victim's trust and confidence in them, and may deter victims from coming forward to seek help. 

"This trust in the police and our close partnership with the community, are among the key reasons for Singapore being one of the safest places in the world," said SPF, adding that they take all allegations against their professionalism seriously. 

"When allegations are made, we investigate carefully, and if they are true, we take steps to rectify the mistakes, and minimise the possibility of them recurring," they added. 

False allegations such as the one made by Ms Khan will "cast doubt on, and over time, erode public trust" in the police, said the authorities. 

"Comments that downplay or dismiss the impact of false allegations against the police, are discouraging.

"They can also affect the morale of our officers, who work hard every day to keep Singaporeans safe and secure," added SPF. 

Source: CNA/lk(zl)

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