Arrested / Detained By Police?





What is meant by an “arrest”? An arrest means to deprive a person of his liberty by some lawful authority for the purpose of compelling his appearance to answer a criminal charge or as a method of execution. Any person who has been accused or connected with or suspected of committing an offence may be arrested by police. Where a seizable offence e.g. murder, robbery or theft is suspected to have been committed, a police officer may arrest the offender without warrant or order from the Public Prosecutor in the course of investigation.


An arrest is unlawful if you are not informed of the reason. The police have the right to use reasonable force to arrest you if you resist. The arresting police officer must immediately take you to the nearest police station and no other place. Bear in mind that when you have been detained, you have the right to make a telephone call. You can call your family or friend or lawyer or the Legal Aid Centre (LAC) and inform them that you have been arrested, the time, place and reason of the arrest, the identity of the police officer and the police station you will be taken to.


After your arrest, you cannot be kept indefinitely in police custody pending police investigation. You may be detained up to 24 hours at the police station or in a lock-up to “assist” police investigation. The police can only detain you up to 24 hours for investigation (excluding the time taken for the journey from the place of arrest to the Magistrate Court). Any violence used by a police officer against a person in custody is punishable under the Police Act 1971. Any person who escapes from lawful custody may be pursued and arrested by the person from whose custody he fled. The duty of the police is to complete investigation within 24 hours.


You must be brought before a Magistrate to be charged within 24 hours of the arrest or where the police need more time for their investigation, they must produce you before a Magistrate to request permission to detain you further for a term not exceeding 15 days in total. Where further detention is unnecessary, you may be released on bail to ensure your appearance in Court at an appointed date. Bail, however, is not available in certain cases e.g. if you are charged with murder or criminal breach of trust. The police may also detain you up to 60 days on suspicion upon the Magistrate's satisfaction that you may be fit and proper to be detained under the authority of the Minister for up to 2 years each time. This is known as a “Remand Order”.


What to do when you are brought before a Magistrate for remand? You can request the Magistrate any of the followings:-


Before the Magistrate makes the remand order, ask for a shorter remand period than the remand period that has been asked by the police. You can give reasons such as you will co-operate with the police in their investigation or you will be available whenever they need your co-operation.


Are you obliged to answer police questions? When you have not been arrested but only called up by the police for questioning, you are bound to state the truth and answer all questions put to you by the police investigating officers except those which have a tendency to expose you to a criminal charge, penalty or forfeiture (right from self-incrimination).


Please be reminded that you have the right and should insist to contact or to see your lawyer. You are also allowed to have one set of clothing in the lock-up. The police must record and put all your personal belongings in safe custody. Your personal belonging must be returned to you upon your release. You are allowed to take bath two times a day. If you are sick, you have the right to receive immediate medical attention. You are to be given proper and adequate food and water during detention.




Prepared by : Eswani Shahierah Wahab