DPM Teo on disciplinary procedures for law enforcement officers

SINGAPORE - If an armed officer is under investigation for a criminal offence, the officer will be barred from carrying firearms immediately, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Teo Chee Hean, on Monday.

He was responding to Member of Parliament, Ms Sylvia Lim's, questions about the timeframe taken to process disciplinary cases of law enforcement officers from the time of complaint or discovery to their conclusion. She also wanted to know, under what circumstances have armed officers been relieved of their firearms while disciplinary proceedings were pending.

Here is Mr Teo Chee Hean's written Parliament reply in full:

Officers alleged to have committed acts of misconduct or neglect of duty are dealt with in accordance with the civil service disciplinary framework. Due process is accorded to the officer facing disciplinary proceedings, and the officer will have an opportunity to be heard.

There are two disciplinary regimes. Police officers below the rank of Inspector are disciplined under the provisions of the Police Force Act. Senior police officers of the rank of Inspector and above and other law enforcement officers are disciplined under the Public Service Commission's Regulations and Directions.

In disciplinary cases involving a police officer below the rank of Inspector, a disciplinary hearing before the Police Disciplinary Board will commence within 6 months from the date of the offence. Some cases are concluded within a month, and the majority within seven months. In cases where there are serious and complex issues, or a large number of witnesses have to be examined, proceedings may take between 8 months and 2 years.

For law enforcement officers disciplined under the Public Service Commission's Regulations or Directions, the majority of cases in the past five years were concluded in about two years. Where the cases involve criminal charges, the civil service disciplinary process has to be suspended while criminal investigations and criminal proceedings are on-going. It can only resume after the completion of criminal proceedings.

If an armed officer is under investigation for a criminal offence, the officer will be barred from carrying firearms immediately. For armed officers who are undergoing disciplinary action, their supervisors and Commanders/Directors will monitor them closely. If it is assessed that the officer may pose a risk to himself or others, the officer will be barred from carrying firearms and redeployed to non-operational roles.