On 20 April, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC, Mr Lous Ng posted a series of photos, showing him to be in police uniform and joining two police officers on their patrol.
Mr Ng was joining the officers from the Yishun North NPC Community Policing Unit to learn more about their work, experience it first-hand and to personally show them his appreciation for all that they do for the residents.
He wrote, "I gained experience as a police officer today and you might have been a bit surprised seeing me patrol the Nee Soon area together with officers from the Yishun North NPC Community Policing Unit!"
But despite the warm gesture by the MP to understand the work that the police officers have to do, there is a question that comes from his action.
Under the Singapore law, Section 120A(1)(a)(ii), a person who knowing that is likely to cause any member of the public to believe that he is a police officer shall be guilty of an offence.
Unless the accused had the express permission of the Commissioner to wear or possess the police uniform or use the police insignia or the accused wore or possessed the police uniform or used the police insignia for the purposes of a public entertainment provided in compliance with the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act (Cap. 257).
So did Mr Ng received permission from the Police Commissioner to wear the police uniform? Of course, as a PAP MP in the Minister of Home Affair's GRC, it is most likely that such request would be granted.
But explicitly, was such a permission granted by the commissioner, or should we take for granted that since a request would have been granted, no one should care if a permission was granted in the first place?
TOC has sent questions to both the MP and the Singapore Police Force last week, however, none has replied so far. We will include their response when they reply.
(1) A person who, when the person is not a police officer —
(a) wears or possesses any police uniform, or uses any police insignia —
(b) uses the designation of a police officer or a rank of the Police Force or the Special Constabulary, in connection with any business, occupation or employment —
(d) wears or possesses any police uniform, or uses any police insignia, in connection with any business, occupation or employment, for the purpose of falsely claiming, suggesting or implying —
(2) A police officer who wears a police uniform or uses any police insignia otherwise than in the course of, and for the purpose of, exercising the functions of a police officer shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $2,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both.
(3) It shall be a defence to a prosecution for an offence under subsection (1)(a) or (2) if the accused proves, on a balance of probabilities, that —
(b) the accused wore or possessed the police uniform or used the police insignia (as the case may be) for the purposes of a public entertainment provided in compliance with the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act (Cap. 257).
(4) A person (whether or not a police officer) who —
(c) gives or furnishes, whether or not for a consideration, any police uniform or police insignia to a person who is neither a police officer nor otherwise authorised or permitted under subsection (3) to possess or wear the police uniform or use the police insignia,
(5) It is a defence to any prosecution for an offence under subsection (4) if the accused proves, on the balance of probabilities, that —
(a) the accused had reasonable grounds to believe and did make reasonable inquiries to ascertain that the person to whom the police uniform or police insignia was sold, given or furnished was —
(b) the accused had received from the person to whom the police uniform or police insignia was sold, given or furnished evidence purporting to show that —