When does the police arrest an offender? Arrestable and non-arrestable offences in Singapore
In recent years, multiple instances have surfaced whereby punches have been thrown and police have been called in, but no arrests were made. In such cases, the police officers present at the scene merely restricted themselves to recording the identities of the parties involved, as well as questioning witnesses. This has perplexed many Singaporeans. When will an arrest be made?
Police Procedure in Singapore
Upon arrival at the scene, the police would assess the situation and determine whether the fracas involved a crime categorised as an arrestable offence under the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code. For non-arrestable offences, the police cannot make any arrests without a warrant. If it is definitively not an arrestable offence, the police would ensure that any victims receive medical treatment. They would also gather witness reports and record the identity of parties involved. This is for report-writing purposes afterwards.
What happens if the case involves a non-arrestable offence?
Police would advise parties involved in non-arrestable offences to file a Magistrate’s Complaint at the Subordinate Courts. This is because the police will not pursue the case any further and it is up to the victim to decide whether he would like to take the case to court. The Magistrate will then decide if the crime is worth prosecuting.
What are arrestable offences?
For a full list of arrestable offences, refer to the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code. The following are examples of arrestable offences that may lead to an arrest:
- Unlawful assemblies or rioting
- Impersonation of a public servant
- Obstructing a public servant in his duties, or threatening a public servant
- Affray (Fighting in public places)
- Fouling the water of a public spring or reservoir
- Driving rashly or negligently
- Obscene acts in public
- Theft and robbery
- Criminal trespass
- Assault or use of criminal force to a person with intent to outrage modesty (molest)
- Acts or attempts that cause or can cause death, including suicide, murder, or other rash acts
- Voluntarily causing grievous hurt
- Voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon
It is worth noting that voluntarily causing hurt is a non-arrestable offence. An arrest cannot be made without a warrant. Therefore, a police report must first be made before the Magistrate decides whether to issue a warrant for the perpetrator’s arrest. Defamation is also non-arrestable.
In addition, arrests will also be made if the suspect:
- Possesses housebreaking tools without a good excuse;
- Possesses stolen property
- Obstructs police affairs
- Is an army deserter
- May be about to commit an offence
- Commits a non-arrestable offence in view of police, and offers a fake identity or place of residence
- Offers a fake identity or place of residence
- The difference between murder and culpable homicide in Singapore
- Is it illegal to visit prostitutes in Singapore?
- What is the law on pornography in Singapore?
- Is it illegal to commit suicide in Singapore? Will I be punished if my attempt at suicide fails?
- What are Singapore’s laws on drug consumption?
- Is it illegal to feed stray animals in Singapore?
- What is the legal age for sex in Singapore? What are some common sexual offences in Singapore?
- When is gambling illegal in Singapore?
- Outrage of modesty in Singapore
- Is it illegal to threaten to beat someone up over Facebook?
- Is it illegal to cheat someone of an in-game item in MMORPGs?
- What to do if someone impersonates me online
- Are sham marriages illegal in Singapore? What are the consequences?
- Criminal breach of trust in Singapore
- Dishonest assistance and knowing receipt - The case of David Rasif
- Public assemblies and processions in Singapore – police permits and the Public Order Act
- What is the offence of Rioting?