Potential 7-year jail term for motorists who evade roadblocks & endanger police officers under new bill

The definition of roadblock evasion will also be expanded.

Jane Zhang | July 05, 2021, 04:52 PM

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The Police Force (Amendment) Bill was introduced for First Reading in Parliament by Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan on Monday (Jul. 5).

Under the proposed amendments, motorists who evade roadblocks will face more severe penalties. In addition, the definition of evading roadblocks will be expanded to include other types of evasion other than just physical dash-through.

Current penalties too low

Under the proposed bill, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will increase the penalties for motorists who evade police roadblocks.

This is because there have been cases of offenders who evaded a roadblock and endangered the lives of police officers and nearby road users in the ensuing car chase, MHA said.

Currently, the penalty for police roadblock evasion is a fine of up to S$5,000, a prison term of no more than 12 months, or both.

However, to strengthen deterrence, the penalties will be increased to a fine of no more than S$10,000, a prison term of up to seven years, or both.

The new penalties are calibrated to take reference from voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from their duties, as both offences have similar levels of harm and intent.

Police will have discretion for charging recommendations on a case-by-case basis. The highest penalties will only apply to the most serious cases, such as when a driver intentionally drives through a roadblock and causes grievous hurt to a police officer.

Expanded definition of roadblock evasion

Under the proposed Police Force (Amendment) Bill, MHA will also expand the definition of roadblock evasion to cover other types of evasion.

Currently, the definition only applies to motorists who physically dash through the roadblock with their vehicles.

Other ways that motorists can evade roadblocks include stopping their vehicles before they reach the roadblocks and then alighting and escaping, reversing their vehicles, or making a U-turn.

Thus, MHA will expand the existing offence of "failing to comply with a signal of a police officer" to cover these other possibilities.

Give police officers power to set up barriers to control human traffic

In addition to erecting barriers and cordons to control vehicular traffic, which is a power that police already have under the existing Police Force Act, the proposed amendments will codify police officers' power to set up cordons and barriers to prevent people from moving past the cordon or barrier.

The bill also proposes to set up a corresponding offence for people who breach the cordon or barrier.

The penalty for doing so would be a fine of up to S$2,500, a prison term of no more than three months, or both.

The Second Reading of the Police Force (Amendment) Bill will be in August.

More from the Police Force (Amendment) Bill:

Top photo via Facebook / Singapore Police Force