Law enforcement in Singapore

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Law enforcement in Singapore generally comes under the direct purview of the Singapore Police Force, the agency entrusted with the maintenance of law and order in the country. Assisting the police are a range of governmental and private sector organisations and companies that engage in specialized roles and allow the police to concentrate on their main public policing roles. In addition, the strong emphasis on community policing since the 1980s has attempted to promote a culture in which civilians can partake and contribute directly in law enforcement efforts.

Police Forces[edit]

Singapore Police Force[edit]

The Singapore Police Force (Abbreviation: SPF; Malay: Pasukan Polis Singapura; Tamil: சிங்கப்பூர் காவல் துறை) is the main government agency tasked with maintaining law and order in the city-state.[1] Formerly known as the Republic of Singapore Police (RSP; Malay: Polis Repablik Singapura), it has grown from an 11-man organisation to a 38,587 strong force.

The organisation structure of the SPF is split between the staff and line functions, roughly modeled after the military. There are currently 17 staff departments, 3 specialist staff departments and 16 specialist and line units. The headquarters is located in a block at New Phoenix Park in Novena, adjacent to a twin block occupied by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Private Security Services[edit]

The Singapore Government utilizes the services of several auxiliary police forces; private companies authorized by law to carry out certain police-style functions, such as airport security and cash-in-transit protection:


Apart from the Singapore Police Force, other government agencies that also enforce specific laws are as follows:

Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau[edit]

The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (Abbreviation: CPIB; Malay: Biro Siasatan Pencegahan Rasuah) is a government agency in Singapore which investigates and prosecutes corruption in the public and private sectors. It was established by the British colonial government in 1952 and sited in the Attorney-General's Chambers. When Singapore attained self-government in 1959, the nation's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew moved it to the Prime Minister's Office.

Although the primary function is to investigate corruption, it is empowered to investigate other criminal cases in which corruption may be involved.

Incorporated within the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Bureau is headed by a director who reports directly to the Prime Minister. CPIB is therefore independent from the Singapore Police Force and other government agencies to prevent any undue interference in its investigations.

Ministry of Manpower[edit]

See Ministry of Manpower (Singapore)

Immigration and Checkpoints Authority[edit]

The ICA is in charge of immigration, Singapore passports, identity cards, Citizen Registration (Birth and Death), permanent residents services, customs, issuing permits to foreigners such as visit pass, visas and student passes.

The ICA is also in charge of enforcing immigration and visa laws. It ensures that the movement of people, goods and conveyances through the checkpoints is in accordance with regulations imposed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. It is in charge of birth and death registrations. The organisation was formed on 1 April 2003 with the merger of Singapore Immigration and Registration and the border control functions of Customs and Excise Department.

Internal Security Department[edit]

The Internal Security Department (Abbreviation: ISD) is a domestic intelligence agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs of Singapore. It was formerly part of the Ministry of Interior and Defence until it was split on 11 August 1970. It has the utmost right to detain without trial individuals suspected to be a threat to national security.

The stated mission is to confront and address security threats, including foreign subversion and espionage. The ISD also monitors and addresses potential threats from hostile states (i.e. PRC, IRP, etc.), the prevention of racial tension which might affect the public peace, surveillance, apprehension of militants and protection of Singapore's national borders.

Singapore Customs[edit]

Singapore Customs takes care of the following:

  • collection of customs revenue;
  • protection of customs revenue by preventing the evasion of duties and taxes;
  • provision of one-stop solutions for trade and customs matters, such as issuance of permits, licenses and Certificates of Origin, and provision of classification and valuation advice;
  • facilitation of trade through simplification of customs procedures and administration of tax suspension schemes;
  • enforcement of trade requirements under the respective Free Trade Agreements (FTAs);
  • regulation of trade in strategic goods and strategic goods technology; and
  • enforcement against the illegal buying and selling of duty-unpaid cigarettes.

Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command[edit]

See: Singapore Armed Forces Military Police Command

See also[edit]