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Police Statement On Allegations Made By Late Police Officer SGT Uvaraja S/O Gopal

There have been a number of media queries, in relation to the tragic passing away, on 21 July 2023, of SGT Uvaraja S/O Gopal. We set out the below, in response to the media queries. At this point, we can set out only the known facts, as not all the relevant facts have been established. It is also inappropriate for the Police to make any comments, or come to any conclusions, pending detailed investigations.

The late SGT Uvaraja had more than 10 years in service, and was last an officer with Ang Mo Kio Police Division. We thank his family for his service and again express our deepest condolences. We have offered and are giving our fullest assistance to his family.

Clarifications on Allegations Made

The late SGT Uvaraja had made a number of complaints against his superiors and peers, over the years. All of these had been investigated and dealt with. Some of them are being investigated again, in the light of the allegations which he had made just prior to his passing away.

From SPF’s perspective, his superiors had assessed that he was facing substantial challenges at work. They had tried to help him in a number of ways. These include the following.

He was provided coaching to address his performance issues.

He was given transfers, at his request, to six different work units in nine years.

He was also granted additional leave, since 2015, (at his request), beyond his usual leave entitlements of Vacation Leave, Casual Leave, and Ordinary Sick Leave. In 2022, for example, he was at work for fewer than 30 days, as he was on various types of leave, including Extended Sick Leave, Unrecorded Leave, and No Pay Leave. In 2023, he had been at work for fewer than 25 days, for similar reasons.

The late SGT Uvaraja’s supervisors also arranged for counselling and psychological assistance for him at various points in his service from 2016 onwards. Most recently in January 2023, he was assigned a para-counsellor after he reported experiencing work stress. On 16 February 2023, he reported to a new unit (following his request for a transfer from his previous unit) and showed signs of being unstable. He was counselled by a para-counsellor on the same day, and later attended to by a psychologist from the Police Psychological Services Department. Due to safety concerns, he was relieved from carrying firearms from 16 February 2023.

As regards complaints he made about misconduct of fellow officers: In August 2021, the late SGT Uvaraja alerted his supervisors that he had spotted fellow officers vaping within the Police compound. Acting on the information he provided, an independent supervisor was tasked to perform searches for e-cigarettes and vaping devices within the station premises, and interview the officers concerned. The complaint was not made out, thus no disciplinary action was taken.

In a separate incident in January 2023, in a different Police unit, the late SGT Uvaraja alerted his supervisors that he had spotted fellow officers smoking. Investigations found evidence of this infringement and disciplinary action was subsequently taken against those officers.

Following both incidents, his supervisors facilitated his request to transfer to another unit to start afresh, as he felt uncomfortable working with the colleagues he had reported on.

Police interviews also showed that the late SGT Uvaraja had had tensions with his family. We have informed his parents and brothers (the involved parties) that the following will be disclosed and they have expressed their understanding on the release of the information.

In the afternoon of 13 July 2023, the Police received multiple calls for assistance at his parents’ residence. When the Police arrived, the late SGT Uvaraja was in a dispute with his family over financial matters. He had also allegedly assaulted his brother. As a result, the Police commenced investigations against him for a case of voluntarily causing hurt and intentional harassment. This was a pending case.

On 14 July 2023, the late SGT Uvaraja's mother lodged another Police report against him, saying she feared for her safety. This was followed by a call for police assistance later in the day by the late SGT Uvaraja's sister-in-law, that he was outside her house. He left the area after the Police arrived.

Specific to the allegations of racial discrimination, SPF takes a firm stance against such. The Police are aware of the allegations of racial discrimination made by the late SGT Uvaraja in 2015. We had looked into these and interviewed the officers involved. The allegations were found to be unsubstantiated. There are avenues for SPF officers to raise complaints on discriminatory workplace practices - to their unit Commanders, Police Headquarters (HQ) or the Ministry HQ, and such complaints are looked into seriously.

The Police will review and investigate again these allegations, and refer the findings to the Attorney-General's Chambers. The findings will also be submitted to the Minister for Home Affairs, for his decision on whether the findings should be further reviewed.

These are the facts which the Police are able to release as of now. Further updates will be provided in due course.


24 July 2023 @ 3:00 PM
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