Here’s what you need to know about Police Arrests in Singapore:
What is an arrest?
An arrest is an act of detaining a person who is reasonably suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
When can the Police arrest you?
The Police can arrest you if you are suspected of having committed a criminal offence.
Which arrests do not need a warrant?
Arrests do not need a warrant in cases of serious offences such as robbery, theft, and molesting, touting and disorderly behaviour in a public place.
Which arrests do need a warrant?
Arrests need a warrant from the Court generally for non-serious offences such as mischief and simple. A Police officer may also arrest anyone who commits an offence in the officer’s presence, obstructs a Police officer from executing his duties, or is wanted by the authorities.
How do you identify an Arresting Officer?
A Police officer who is not in uniform should inform you before the arrest that he is a Police officer and produce his warrant card to identify himself during the arrest.
You may demand to verify the identity of the arresting officer by checking the warrant card or call ‘999’ for assistance if you still have doubt about the officer’s identity.
How do the Police make an arrest?
A Police officer will need to make physical contact with or confine you when making an arrest.
If you forcibly resists arrest or attempts to escape, the officer may use all necessary means to effect an arrest. A male officer is allowed to arrest a female suspect.
The Police Officer should inform you of the grounds of your arrest as soon as the circumstances may reasonably permit.
Can the Police search you during an arrest?
Yes, you may be searched upon arrest.
Only a female Police officer should conduct a search on a female suspect.
You will have to surrender all personal belongings at the Police station. These items will be recorded in a form (known as an Acknowledgement Receipt Form) and a copy of this form will be given to the arrested person. The Police will keep any items relevant to the investigation until the case is completed.
How long can you be detained by the Police after arrest?
You can be detained for a maximum of 48 hours from the time of his arrest. You may be asked to assist in Police investigations during the period of detention.
What happens after 48 hours of detention?
At the end of the investigation, or when 48 hours has expired (whichever is earlier), you must be released unconditionally if it is not established that you have committed an offence.
If the investigations reveal that you have or may have committed an offence, the Police may either produce you in Court or release you on Police bail pending further investigations.
What happens if you are produced in Court?
If the Police produce you in Court, he may apply to the court to be released on bail. For certain offences i.e. bailable offences, the accused is entitled to be released on bail. However, for non-bailable offences, the court will consider the applicant to be released on bail on a case by case basis. If, the Police require the accused for further investigations, his application to be released on bail may be rejected by the court. However, the arrested person may apply to be released on bail at his subsequent appearance in court.
What happens if you are released on bail?
If the Police release you on Police bail, may be released after you have arranged for a bailor. The bailor must ensure that you report to the Police station or attends Court when required. In certain cases, the Police may also release you on a personal bond – this sometimes happens if you are a foreigner in Singapore with no access to any friends or contacts who are willing or able to stand as your bailor.
When will you be charged for an offence after arrest?
You may be arrested before, during or after investigation. You may be required to give a statement and also to state your defence if accusations are made against you or if you are charged. You may then be formally charged and produced in Court. If you are to be charged in Court, your fingerprints may be taken and you may be photographed at the Criminal Records Office, Criminal Investigation Department (CID). This means that there will be a record of you at the CID.
If you are later acquitted of the offence in Court or if the charge is withdrawn, you can write to the CID for the return of the record of your fingerprints and negatives.
Can you contact your family or lawyer after your arrest?
When you are arrested and detained, you can ask to make a call to your family or a lawyer telling them of your arrest. You may also ask for visits by your family or a lawyer. Your requests may be refused if it will interfere with the investigation.
You are allowed to contact a lawyer of your choice within a reasonable time after your arrest and when the authorities feel that it will not interfere with the investigation.
Can your family or lawyer visit you during your detention in the Police Station?
You, your family or your lawyer should contact the investigating officer-in-charge of the case to request to visit you during your detention. The investigating officer will consider and grant your request within a reasonable time after your arrest and when the authorities feel that it will not interfere with the investigation.
If you would like to understand more about Criminal Law in Singapore how the issues discussed in this article may affect you, contact Singapore Criminal Defence Lawyer Jonathan Wong at [email protected] or +65 9424 6208 today.