Earlier in November this year, Mr Chen Show Mao, MP for Aljunied GRC, asked the Minister of Home Affairs on the number of officers assigned to the Serious Sexual Crimes Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and what is the rationale for the staffing numbers at the Serious Sexual Crimes Branch (SSCB).
Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam said that sexual crime investigations are generally led by specialist units in the Singapore Police Force. While, the SSCB in the CID leads investigations into serious sexual crimes such as rape and aggravated cases of sexual assault by penetration (SAP).
Mr Shanmugam said that specialist teams in the Police Land Divisions lead investigations in other sexual crimes, such as outrage of modesty cases, sexual penetration of minors and SAP cases that do not involve aggravating factors.
Without giving an actual number to the number of officers, Mr Shanmugam said that the investigation officers in the SSCB and the Police Divisions are supported by other Police resources including in the fields of intelligence and forensics. Depending on the volume of cases, Police also scale up SSCB’s resources where necessary, by leveraging on other investigation teams.
As Member will note, the Minister stated that the Police resources used for investigations will vary according to the needs of a case, and because investigations may cover a broad area, not everything needs to be done by SSCB. The investigation will be led by SSCB and the total investigative resources could come from a larger pool of officers.
Mr Chen also asked about the annual number of cases investigated by the SSCB since its establishment, and what are the criteria for referring cases to the Serious Sexual Crimes unit.
Without responding the question on the criteria for referrals, Mr Shanmugam said that in the last three years, the SSCB investigated on average about 170 cases of rape and sexual assault by penetration each year. Nearly all these cases were solved.
TOC wrote a letter to AWARE and asked them to rate the kind of support that rape victim get from the officers and whether there is an adequate number of officers on such cases.
AWARE said that the SPF’s approach of training specialist officers in the SSCB is encouraging. It also believes that the development of expertise should be further supported.
It also said that from SACC’s experience, police investigation in a case can take anywhere between 3 – 6 months to gather forensic evidence, conduct interviews, take statements etc.
Depending on the complexity of the case, it could be much faster, or it could take up to a year or more. After investigation, the case file is submitted to Attorney General Chamber to seek advice on whether to charge the accused, to give warning, or no further action can be taken.
The whole legal process can take up to a year or more. Again, this is based on the complexity of the case and it can be much faster or it can take longer.