S’pore Govt Proposes Bill Allowing Police To Search Without Warrant To Improve Efficiency

S'pore Govt Proposes Bill Allowing Police To Search Without Warrant To Improve Efficiency

Proposed Bill Will Allow Singapore Police More Power To Search Without Warrant, Conduct Forensic Exams

A new bill that will allow the police more power to conduct a search without a warrant has been proposed by the Singapore government.

The bill aims to protect the public by enhancing the police’s ability to tackle crime.

Additionally, the amendments will set out a clear framework for the police to conduct forensic medical examinations (FMEs) for evidence.

New bill enhances police power to search without warrants

According to a press release, the Ministry of Law (MinLaw) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) introduced the Criminal Procedure (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024 for First Reading in today’s (10 Jan) Parliament session.

The bill seeks to amend the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), Singapore’s key criminal justice legislation.

One of the bill’s main features is to protect the public by “strengthening our levers to tackle crime”, MinLaw stated.

This includes a proposed enhancement to the powers of the police and other law enforcement agencies (LEA).

Source: HTX, for illustration purposes only

Currently, police may carry out a search without a warrant if they have reason to believe that a person will not produce relevant evidence when ordered to.

However, MinLaw claimed that accurately determining a person’s compliance at the outset is “not straightforward”. Thus, suspects can delay searches and tamper with evidence.

If the amendments are passed, police will be able to search without a warrant when they have “reason to believe” a suspect of an arrestable offence possesses “relevant evidence”.

Allows police to conduct forensic examinations

On top of that, police will also be able to search suspects at the point of arrest. This way, they can remove any dangerous items from them.

The amendments also aim to expand the powers of LEAs such as the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) so that they may “deal with matters arising from predicate offences under their purview”.

“This allows the LEA that is most familiar with the details of the case to conduct the necessary arrests or investigations,” MinLaw explained.

Other than enhancing LEAs’ powers, the bill also proposes a clear legislative framework on FMEs.

These are examinations conducted to obtain forensic evidence, which MinLaw alleged to be “critical for investigations”.

bill police search

Source: CDC on Unsplash, for illustration purposes only

They highlighted an example in 2016, where a suspect assaulted and raped a woman after breaking into her home.

Police arrested him and conducted an FME, finding the victim’s DNA profile on the accused’s genitals.

This forensic evidence contributed to bringing him to justice.

Suspects commit offence if they refuse FMEs

Given the importance and time-sensitive nature of such forensic evidence, the bill proposes giving police the power to require suspects to undergo FMEs.

The offence must have been “reasonably suspected to have been committed”.

If an accused person refuses to undergo an FME without reasonable excuse, they can be charged with an offence.

The suspect can then face a punishment of up to seven years’ jail, a fine, or both. This is the same as the penalty for obstruction of justice.

ronstik from Getty Images

Source: ronstik from Getty Images on Canva, for illustration purposes only

Furthermore, the court can also draw negative inferences from such refusals during trials.

MinLaw stated that there would be “safeguards” to ensure that FMEs are done “appropriately”.

These safeguards include only allowing qualified medical professionals to conduct physical medical examinations and invasive medical procedures.

Additionally, only female officers or specialists can take photographs of a female subject’s intimate areas, among others.

FMEs on alleged victims will require informed consent

The proposed legislative framework also covers FMEs on alleged victims.

Informed consent will generally be required, except in exceptional cases where “informed consent cannot be obtained within a reasonable time”.

Such cases include ones where the alleged victim is in a comatose state.

Those interested can find more information in the MinLaw annex.

Also read: Man Who Sexually Assaulted 6-Year-Old Girl At HDB Staircase Caught 8 Years Later, Jailed 10.5 Years

Man Who Sexually Assaulted 6-Year-Old Girl At HDB Staircase Caught 8 Years Later, Jailed 10.5 Years

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at news@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from Singapore Parliament and by MS News, for illustration purposes only.

Drop us your email so you won't miss the latest news.

  • More From Author