Zero Tolerance for Abuse of Enforcement Officers and Ambassadors
1 The Police have observed an increase in the number of abuse cases against Enforcement Officers (EOs) and SG Clean and Safe Distancing Ambassadors since the implementation of Elevated Safe Distancing Measures (ESDM) to contain the spread of COVID-19. We will not tolerate this, and will take offenders to task.
2 Since the start of the circuit breaker period on 7 April 2020, around 3,000 EOs and Ambassadors have been deployed daily to public places and in HDB estates across Singapore. They come from around 50 public agencies and also include non-public servants recruited from the hospitality and aviation sectors, as well as volunteers recruited by the People’s Association and other Government agencies.
3 As at 16 April 2020, the Police have received 12 reports where members of the public have physically or verbally abused EOs and Ambassadors when they were carrying out their duties. By refusing to comply with ESDM, these offenders not only put themselves but others at risk. [Photos in Annex]
Case 1: On 14 April 2020, a 35-year-old man and his 33-year-old female companion hurled vulgarities at three Ambassadors who advised the man not to sit on a crossed-out seat at a hawker centre located at Toa Payoh Lorong 5.
Case 2: On 15 April 2020, a 72-year-old man slapped the EO who had requested for his particulars after observing that he was consuming food at a hawker centre located at Blk 89 Circuit Road.
Case 3: On 15 April 2020, a 40-year-old man head-butted the EO who had advised him to stop playing basketball at the cordoned-off Khatib Multi-Purpose Hall.
Case 4: On 15 April 2020, a 79-year-old man punched the EO who had advised him to wear his face mask properly along Havelock Road.
Case 5: On 16 April 2020, a 37-year-old man insulted the Police officer who was issuing a Notice of Composition to his female friend for not wearing a face mask while outside The Cathay.
4 Police investigations are ongoing against the offenders. Those found guilty of using abusive language against a public servant are liable on conviction to an imprisonment term of up to 12 months, or a fine of up to $5,000, or both. The offence of voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty is punishable with an imprisonment term of up to seven years, a fine, or caning. The offence of using criminal force to deter a public servant from the discharge of his duty is punishable with an imprisonment term of up to four years, a fine, or both.
5 The Police would like to remind members of the public that it is an offence not to furnish their personal particulars and residential address when required by an EO. The public is advised to bring their identity cards or other forms of official identification with them when they leave home.
6 Everyone should take the circuit breaker measures seriously, and cooperate and comply with the instructions of the EOs and Ambassadors. They are performing an important duty to keep our population safe. Let us all do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19.
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
17 APRIL 2020