Ms Sylvia Lim asked the Minister for Home Affairs with regard to the Independent Review Panel (IRP) formed in 2014 to strengthen the systems and processes of the Home Team (a) how many cases have been referred to the IRP since its formation; (b) what is the nature of the cases referred; (c) who is the current Chair of the IRP; (d) what reforms have been implemented as a result of the IRP’s advice; and (e) whether the public can be informed of key findings and changes made.
Mr K Shanmugam: The Independent Review Panel (IRP) has been convened on six occasions since its inception. Cases referred to the IRP are those where allegations of serious misconduct have been made against Home Team Officers acting in their official capacities, such as neglect of duty or abuse of powers, but short of criminal conduct. In these cases internal investigations had been carried out. Where the allegations suggest criminal conduct, criminal investigations and court prosecution will be initiated and there would be no necessity to go through with the IRP process.
The IRP was satisfied on all six occasions that the internal investigations conducted by the Home Team Departments were thorough and fair. It had also provided recommendations to improve some procedures. Following the recommendations, Home Team Departments had taken steps to address them:
(a) Police reviewed its training programmes on the management of difficult subjects by frontline officers, its handling of persons-in-custody at hospitals and the standard operating procedures on filing and classification of cases; and
(b) CNB reviewed its standard operating procedures and training on internal investigations to ensure that internal investigations are thorough and robust.
The IRP’s current chairman is Mr Richard Magnus, a retired senior district judge.
As stated earlier, if the conduct is assessed to be potentially criminal, the Court process will take over and the matter will be in public domain. The internal investigations (referred to above) and the IRP deal with other disciplinary or process breach related issues. The Ministry will follow up on the findings, act on them. To the extent relevant, they will also be picked up by the AGO and made public.
Ministry of Home Affairs
13 September 2021