S'pore police combed through 1,400 sexual assault cases from 2018-2021 to locate Raeesah Khan

Police said they took the former MP's allegations seriously and at face value.

Belmont Lay | December 14, 2021, 02:49 AM

The Singapore Police Force has issued a statement in response to Workers' Party chief and Leader of the Opposition, Pritam Singh.

SPF's statement on Dec. 13 was to address some of Singh's comments made during the Committee of Privileges (COP) hearing on Friday, Dec. 10, that Khan's false claims in Parliament would not have an "adverse impact" on police work.

Summary

The police responded that Raeesah's false claims on Aug. 3 immediately resulted in investigations that saw the police comb through more than 1,400 sexual assault and related cases from 2018 to 2021.

The cases that bore a resemblance to Raeesah's description of what happened were looked into with officers in charge of those cases made to go through their records in detail.

The police said they had to take Raeesah's claims "seriously and at face value" as she made them as a Member of Parliament.

This resulted in many man-hours lost, but no leads were eventually found.

False allegations impinge on the police's professionalism and erode public trust, the police said, adding that comments that downplay or dismiss the impact of false allegations can also affect the morale of officers.

You can read the police statement in full below.

Full police statement

1. The police would like to provide clarifications in response to media queries arising from Member of Parliament (MP) Pritam Singh’s oral evidence at the Committee of Privileges (COP) hearing on Dec. 10, 2021.

Singh made some comments about the impact that Raeesah Khan’s false statements (made in Parliament on Aug. 3, 2021) had on the police, and the amount of work the police had done to investigate her allegations.

2. The Singapore Police Force (SPF) noted that Singh had minimised the possible impact of the false claims.

He said that no wrong had been done to the police by reason of the false claims made against the police, and questioned the amount of work police had done to investigate the false claims.

3. After the case was first mentioned in Parliament on Aug. 3, police officers went through many records, including all records of visitors to all police stations island-wide, since Jan. 1, 2017, to identify Khan’s alleged visit.

Two rounds of checks were conducted to ensure that we did not miss out any visit.

A substantial amount of resources was dedicated to this, because it was a statement made by an MP in Parliament, and was taken seriously and at face value.

4. Our officers also considered the possibility that Khan had accompanied a victim, without entering a police station. As such, we also combed through more than 1,400 sexual assault and related cases from 2018 to 2021.

We narrowed this list down to cases which appeared to somewhat match Khan’s description in Parliament.

The investigation officers in charge of these cases were all asked to check through their investigation records in detail.

Other details were also checked with the officers.

5. Police officers also checked through all the feedback received from members of the public in 2018, relating to sexual assault, but could not link any feedback to the case mentioned by Khan.

6. The police had dedicated significant resources to investigate into Khan’s claims. Many police officers had been involved in the investigations into the false claims.

7. The quantitative impact of such falsehoods is not just in terms of the man-hours lost.

There were also delays in handling other matters and cases, with impact on members of the public - whose cases could have been handled faster had the time and resources not been wasted trying to investigate an incident which never happened.

8. Public trust in the SPF is integral to our officers’ ability to carry out our mission effectively, to ensure the safety and security of our people.

If the public whom we serve do not trust us, it would be difficult to secure their cooperation, which is often critical to prevent, deter and detect crime and security incidents.

False accusations against the police also have an impact on victims’ trust and confidence in the police, and may deter victims from coming forward to seek help.

9. This trust in the police and our close partnership with the community, are among the key reasons for Singapore being one of the safest places in the world.

The police therefore take all allegations against our professionalism seriously.

When allegations are made, we investigate carefully, and if they are true, we take steps to rectify the mistakes, and minimise the possibility of them recurring.

10. False anecdotes such as the one told by Khan, will cast doubt on, and over time, erode public trust in the SPF.

Comments that downplay or dismiss the impact of false allegations against the police, are discouraging. They can also affect the morale of our officers, who work hard every day to keep Singaporeans safe and secure.

Top photo via gov.sg