Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers will soon be empowered to conduct security screenings, search and seizure duties and arrest people with the passing of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill on Monday (8 Jan).
Under the amendment, ICA officers will be given authority to perform protective security functions at and around air, land and sea checkpoints such as Changi Airport, Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints, and the Marina Bay Cruise Centre, including in the public areas.
Currently, ICA officers’ powers relating to search are limited to authorised areas.
This move comes as a response towards the more complex and challenging security landscape and allows the ICA and police to work together more effectively as part of the Integrated Checkpoints Command, a coordinated team including both ICA and police officers that manages security at the various checkpoints.
Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo tabled the Immigration (Amendment) Bill in Parliament informing that the changes “will allow any ICA officer nearest to a security incident at the checkpoints to be the first responder”.
The bill will also allow ICA officers to collect personal identifiers - personal information such as photographs, signatures, and images of fingerprints and irises - of travellers who are only transiting through Singapore, if necessary.
Source: “Parliament: ICA officers get enhanced powers to conduct searches, arrest people at checkpoints” (The Straits Times, 8 Jan 2018)