SINGAPORE - Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers will exercise selected police powers at immigration checkpoints from April 1 onwards, said the Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday (March 29).
With the selected police powers, ICA officers can "perform protective security functions in support of police officers" and help to deal with security incidents at checkpoints "even more promptly", said the ministry in a statement.
These include responding to incidents, conducting preliminary investigations and containing the situation.
ICA officers will also be able to collect personal identifiers from transit passengers at Changi Airport, such as photographs, passport details and fingerprints.
They are also empowered to do so from Singapore visa applicants.
The changes come after amendments were passed to the Immigration Act in Parliament on Jan 8, to strengthen the security at Singapore's checkpoints.
During the second reading of the amendment Bill, Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo told Parliament that the changes to the law "will allow any ICA officer nearest to a security incident at the checkpoints to be the first responder".
For example, currently, immigration officers who spot suspicious people in the arrival hall of the airport have to wait for police officers to conduct searches.