Arrestable Vs Non-Arrestable Criminal Offences In Singapore

Arrestable Vs Non-Arrestable Criminal Offences In Singapore

When Can You Be Arrested In Singapore?

Arrestable Offences

Generally, arrestable offences are offences where the Police can arrest you without a warrant where the offence falls under the Third Column of the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code.

However, there are offences found in other legislation, and if so, you will need to check that legislation to find out if the offence is an arrestable one.

A list of arrestable offences is set out in the Third Column of the First Schedule of the Criminal Procedure Code, and includes the some of the following common offences:-

  • Voluntarily Causing Grevious Hurt
  •  Theft
  •  Robbery
  •  Affray
  •  Mischief
  • Assault or use of criminal force with intent to outrage modesty
  •  Rape
  •  Extortion
  • Criminal Breach of Trust
  •  Cheating
  • Criminal Trespass
  •  House-breaking
  •  Forgery

Non-Arrestable Offences

Non-arrestable offences are offences where the Police will require a warrant to arrest you.If a warrant has not been obtained, the Police can generally only make an arrest only if the offender refuses to give his name and address, gives a foreign address, or if the Police believes that there were reasons to believe that the given name and address was false.

If the offence is a non-arrestable offence, the Police may also advise the victim to consider whether they would like to take further action on their own by filing a Magistrate’s Complaint pursuant to Section 151 to 153 of the Criminal Procedure Code at the State Courts. It is possible for anyone to make this Magistrate’s Complaint.

However, whether a Warrant or Summons will be issued depends on whether the Magistrate finds sufficient reason to proceed with the matter.

One of the ways to distinguish between arrestable and non-arrestable offences is that:-

  • Offences punishable with 3 or more years of imprisonment, or death, are arrestable
  • Offences punishable with less than 3 years of imprisonment, or with a fine, are non-arrestable

How Is An Arrest Conducted In Singapore?

In Singapore, the police officer making the arrest is required to physically “touch or confine” the body of the person being arrested unless he or she consents to a verbal arrest. If the person being arrested resists, the police officer is entitled to the use of reasonable force to complete the arrest, but must not restrain the person being arrested more than necessary to prevent escape.

Section 78 of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that a police officer can search the person upon arrest as well as any place belonging to the person being arrested or any other individual with a connection to the offence.

Under section 83 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a woman may only be searched by another woman in order to protect the modesty of the woman being searched.


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Filed under: Criminal Defence
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