We refer to Mr Chan Wing Cheong's letter (Clarity needed in legal duty to report crimes, Oct 28) and The Sunday Times article (NUS sexual misconduct allegations: Police report made without our consent, say victims, ST Online, Nov 1), about the legal duty to report crimes under Section 424 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The intent of Section 424 is to ensure the timely reporting of crimes, particularly serious crimes, to the police. This will enable the police to assess if a crime has been committed, and if so, take the perpetrator to task. Otherwise, the perpetrator may not only get away with the crime, but also commit further offences and hurt other people.
The legal position is that all parties should report crimes promptly unless they have a reasonable excuse. What constitutes "reasonable excuse" will depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. We have been reviewing if and how we could clarify the scope of "reasonable excuse", or allow for exceptions to the duty to report.
We urge organisations and members of the public, when in doubt, to report to the police.
Police investigations are confidential, and police officers are trained to manage victims sensitively and appropriately.
The law allows police reports to be lodged by persons other than the victim. There is no legal requirement for a victim's consent to be obtained before a police report can be lodged.
Ministry of Home Affairs