For boosting the security of Singapore, Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers will have the authority to perform security screenings, carry out search and seizure duties and arrest people under a proposed amendment to the Immigration Act.
The proposed changes to the Immigration Act were tabled in the Parliament by Josephine Teo, Second Minister for Home Affairs, yesterday. This would allow ICA officers to carry out such duties at and in the vicinity of immigration checkpoints.
The immigration officers may also be empowered to arrest an individual without a warrant if they have reason to believe that the person in question has committed an offence. Such arrests can also be made in cases where suspects refuse to give their name or residential address, or provide false information.
A spokesperson of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said, “Under the Integrated Checkpoints Command (ICC) concept, MHA would want ICA officers to perform protective security functions in support of police officers.” ICA officers will, therefore, need to be appropriately trained and empowered.
He added, “This includes responding to incidents, conducting preliminary investigations, and containing the situation, if police officers are not yet at the scene. This will help ensure that security incidents at the checkpoints are dealt with even more promptly.”
In addition to this, the Amendment Bill will also allow ICA to collect personal identifiers, such as photographs, passport details, and fingerprints, from travellers transiting through Changi Airport, if necessary.