There are three different types of arrest: arrest without a warrant, arrest with a warrant, and private arrest by a citizen. For all three types, there must always be some lawful basis for arrest and detention, including a clear link between the suspect and the offence.
Arrest without a warrant
This occurs when a police officer is entitled to arrest an accused person without a warrant. While there are a number of grounds, the police usually arrest without a warrant any person who has been, or is reasonably suspected of having been involved in an arrestable offence.
An arrest without warrant must be made on the grounds of credible information or reasonable suspicion must be based on definite facts and founded on some definite fact which throw suspicion upon the person arrested.
Arrest with a warrant
Where the offence is not an arrestable offence, either a warrant or summons will be required to be issued in the first instance. Without obtaining a warrant, the police are not allowed to make an arrest.
The right of private arrest exists only in two situations.
In the first situation, a private person is allowed to arrest any person who commits a non-bailable and arrestable offence in his view or presence. The person making the arrest must hand over the offender to the nearest police officer or police station without unnecessary delay.
As long as a private person is in such close proximity that he can be certain an offence has been committed, the right of private arrest will vest in him notwithstanding that he did not actually witness the offence.
In the second situation, the victim can apprehend a person, who commits an offence against the victim or the victim’s property. In order to make an arrest, the name or residential address of the person being apprehended must be unknown; or his residential address must be outside Singapore; or there is reason to believe that the name or residential address he has given is false.