“Under the enhanced powers, police officers would be allowed, for instance, to strip search a person for alcohol. Police officers holding the rank of sergeant and above would be empowered to raid any place within Little India, without a warrant, if the officer reasonably suspects an offence has been, is being, or likely to be committed.”
On Jan 20, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) introduced a temporary Bill that would provide the Singapore Police Force (SPF) with enhanced powers. Which as passed as law in parliament yesterday. When Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran downplayed the bodily invasion by claiming that the provision is adapted from the existing Public Orders Act which upholds law and order during such events like the National Day Parade, he failed to address the possibility of an inebriated law officer using the law to cop a feel. Just peruse the recent headlines about cases of misbehaving men in uniform, with or without the inducement of alcoholic temptations.
Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) was more specific about the violence visited upon us in the name of stamping out violence: “When we make laws that are not in keeping with established principles of administrative law, when we allow our citizens and all who work for us and with us to live in fear of such wide and discretionary powers without recourse, when we dismiss out of hand the valid concerns of many in civil society, we are also violent.” (italics mine)
As for the right to raid without a court issued warrant “if the officer reasonably suspects an offence has been, is being, or likely to be committed”, we know they borrowed that idea from Tom Cruise in “Minority Report”. That film’s central theme is the question of free will versus determinism, in a state where the role of preventive government goes overboard in protecting its citizenry by making arrests before a crime is actually committed. Their “PreCrime” police force makes use of visions of the future generated by three “precogs”, mutated humans with precognitive abilities, to stop murders before they happen. The precogs are maintained only for their brain functions, their bodies kept barely alive by being suspended in a pool of special fluids. That’s one helluva use of an ageing body way past the expiry date.