Published: 07 November 2023
Mr Lim Biow Chuan: To ask the Minister for Law whether a fixed timeline can be set for the Police to complete investigations in respect of offences where the accused persons are denied bail.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. We have considered what the Member suggested. However, it is not practical to prescribe fixed timelines by which the Police must complete investigations.
2. The time the Police require for investigations depends on many factors, including the nature of the offence and the complexity of the case.
3. It is more important that they undertake robust investigations, as long or as short a time as they may need, to get to the truth of the case.
4. That said, for cases where the accused persons are remanded, Police closely monitor investigation timelines and processes, and expedite investigations to the extent feasible. Where appropriate, we have also used technology to try to reduce the number of accused persons who have to be remanded in the first place, for example, through the use of electronic tagging to mitigate flight risks, instead of objecting to bail.
5. We have also taken steps to make it easier for accused persons to meet bail conditions, for example, in certain cases, releasing on reduced bail quantum if the accused is on electronic tagging. We are also considering amending the law to allow personal bonds in more cases.
6. It is, however, a fact that our Police investigators are increasingly overworked. In particular, in the last few years, there has been an exponential rise in the number of scam and cybercrime cases, and in the number of people arrested for such cases. We have been working to get approval for more manpower resources for them, so that their tempo of work is more sustainable, and with more investigators, cases may move faster too.