Increased penalties, broader definition for evading roadblocks on the cards

The maximum penalty will increase to a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to $10,000.
The maximum penalty will increase to a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to $10,000.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Penalties for evading police roadblocks may soon be increased, while the definition for the offence may also be expanded.

These proposed changes are part of the Police Force (Amendment) Bill, which was introduced for its first reading in Parliament on Monday (July 5).

Currently, offenders may be jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

Under the proposed amendments to the Police Force Act, the maximum penalty will increase to a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of up to $10,000.

The changes seek to strengthen deterrence and take reference from current laws that pertain to voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servants from meeting their duties, said the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which tabled the Bill.

There have been instances of offenders evading roadblocks and endangering the lives of officers and other road users.

In 2017, two officers were injured after a driver dashed through a roadblock in Mackenzie Road.

What counts as roadblock evasion will also be broadened.

The current definition of roadblock evasion covers only motorists who physically dash through the roadblock with a vehicle, while other forms of evasion are not codified under the Act.

The amendments to the law seek to expand the existing offence to cover other ways motorists have been evading roadblocks, said MHA.

These will include stopping the vehicle before a roadblock and alighting to escaping, reversing one's vehicle away from a roadblock, and making a U-turn before the roadblock and escaping.

The proposed amendments also seek to make explicit police officers' existing powers to put up barriers and cordons to control human traffic, and creates a corresponding offence for those who breach such barriers.