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Overpaid allowance of $2.62 million to Volunteer Special Constabulary Officers

In its audit report for Financial Year 2015/2016 published on 26 July, the Auditor-General Office (AGO) found that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) had overpaid its Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) officers allowance amounting to about $2.63 million from 1 April 2008 to 31 December 2015.

AGO notes that SPF had been paying its VSC officers a revised allowance rate of $3.60 per hour since 2008. This is $0.80 higher than the rate stipulated in the Police (Special Constabulary) Regulations (Cap. 235, Rg 3).

Under the regulation, special police officers attending any parade (any period of training, duty or attendance of not more than 4 hours) shall each be paid an allowance of $2.80 per hour.

AGO states that the Deputy Commissioner of Police and Permanent Secretary (Home Affairs) who approved this revised rate were not authorised under legislation to do so.

The revised allowance rate resulted in overpayments totalling $2.62 million during the period 1 April 2008 to 31 December 2015.

In addition, AGO’s test checks of 30 payments of allowance during the period 1 April 2014 to 31 May 2015 revealed overpayment in all the cases.

These overpayments totalling $10,560 arose as SPF paid allowance for VSC duty beyond the four-hour cap stipulated in the Regulations, and paid pro-rated allowance for VSC duty below an hour which is not permitted under the Regulations.

In response to the findings, SPF acknowledged the lapse in not seeking the Minister’s approval to amend the Regulations.

SPF also indicated that it has since initiated action to amend the Regulations to regularise the overpayments, and to provide for payment of allowances to VSC officers for the full period of their duty.