I Have Been Asked To Help With Police Investigations. What Should I Do?
What Do I Need To Know?
You should be aware that even though the police have extensive powers to investigate, you have your rights.
In certain cases, the police must obtain a search warrant in order to conduct a search. If the occupier is present, the police officer must identify himself (or herself) and show his warrant card and also the search warrant. If you are shown a search warrant, you should ask for a copy and the police are required to give you one.
In other cases, even without a search warrant, the police have the right to search you, your belongings and any place that may have evidence. Females can only be searched by a female police officer.
What Questions Must I Answer?
The police are entitled to ask for your name, home address and to see your NRIC. When they are investigating a case, they may question you. Subject to one very important exception, you are required to answer truthfully. They will often also ask you to give a statement. This statement will usually be typed out in English. You should read it very carefully and make sure it is 100% accurate before you sign on it.
How Long Can I Be Detained?
The Police can detain you for up to 48 hours without a Court Order. If they need more time to investigate, they will bring you before a Judge and ask for a Court Order to detain you for longer than 48 hours. You are entitled to object to this and it is best that you (or your family members) engage a lawyer as early as possible.
Am I Entitled To Bail?
Offences are divided into 2 categories:
(a) "bailable offences";
(b) non-bailable offences.
Subject to certain limited conditions, persons charged with offences punishable with death or life imprisonment are usually not entitled to bail.
In cases determined by the Police Commissioner or the Court, persons detained by the Police without warrant must be released once they are able to satisfy bail conditions.
Bail may consist of:
(a) you signing a personal bond without sureties;
(b) your bailor showing his (or her) NRIC and signing; or
(c) your bailor paying cash bail.
Above a certain amount, your bailor is usually required to pay the entire bail amount in cash.
What Happens If I Am Charged?
The Charge will be read to you (or shown to you for you to read). After that, a caution will be read (or shown) to you before you are given the opportunity to write out your Cautioned Statement.
Along the way, you will be asked to sign several times to confirm that:
(a) you have been informed of the Charge;
(b) the Caution has been administered;
(c) copies of the Charge and the Caution have been given to you;
(d) you have written out your Cautioned Statement.
After that, you will often be given a Notice To Attend Court and you are required to do so at the location, date and time stated in the Notice.
What Should I Do If I Am Asked To Assist With Police Investigations?
Police investigations are often complex processes that can result in one or more charges being brought, whether against you or someone else.
You should seek the assistance of a lawyer as soon as you can and we can be contacted at 6.535.1800.