Published: 29 January 2016
1. The Registration of Criminals (Amendment) Bill 2016 was introduced for First Reading in Parliament today.
2.The Registration of Criminals Act (RCA) enables the Police to register the particulars of convicted individuals, including criminal records, fingerprints and photographs, into the Register of Criminals. It also provides for the collection of DNA information that can be used to identify suspects and aid criminal investigations. The Court also considers relevant information captured in the Register when sentencing a repeat offender. The RCA was last amended in 2005.
3.To fight transnational organised crime and terrorist groups effectively, law enforcement agencies (LEAs) will have to step up international cooperation. The RCA will be amended to enhance the effectiveness and timeliness of information exchange between Singapore and foreign law enforcement agencies (LEAs). This will help Singapore obtain information for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime and allow us to assist our foreign counterparts in going after criminals internationally. The Bill will also strengthen operational procedures for the registration of criminals.
Key Proposed Amendments
4.The key proposed amendments are summarised below:
a. Sharing information from the Register of Criminals with foreign LEAs
The amendments will facilitate the sharing of information, excluding DNA information, recorded in the Register of Criminals with foreign LEAs for the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crimes. This will strengthen Singapore's ability to cooperate with foreign LEAs and pursue criminals who operate beyond national boundaries. This also allows our LEAs to request for reciprocal assistance when investigating and prosecuting criminals in Singapore. To prevent abuse or wrongful disclosure of the information shared, foreign LEAs must undertake to protect the confidentiality of the information shared, and to only use the information for crime prevention, criminal investigation or related proceedings. There will also be other safeguards relating to the sharing of information with foreign LEAs.
b. Taking registrable particulars and body samples of persons whilst on bail
The RCA currently provides for the taking of registrable particulars, such as fingerprints, and body samples of a person suspected of a crime when he is under arrest and not when he is released on bail. The RCA will be amended to allow the LEAs to take registrable particulars and body samples from a person on bail and under investigation. This will enhance our LEAs' operational effectiveness to solve crimes, especially in cases where there is no opportunity to take fingerprints and body samples within 48 hours of arrest.
 The RCA was last amended in 2005 to help ex-offenders to reintegrate into society.
 Under the Registration of Criminals Act, "registrable particulars" means the particulars of any conviction, sentence, banishment, expulsion or deportation, and any name, description, photograph, or finger impression of, or document relating to, any person so convicted, sentenced, banished, expelled or deported, as the case may be, and includes particulars of any outstanding offence, whether that offence be a crime or not, taken into consideration of determining and passing sentence on any conviction for a crime.