Manchester terror attack

Expect strict checks at upcoming events in Singapore

Auxiliary police, private and venue security, uniformed and plainclothes policemen were  deployed at the Coldplay concert held on March 31, 2017.
Auxiliary police, private and venue security, uniformed and plainclothes policemen were deployed at the Coldplay concert held on March 31, 2017.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Security at upcoming concerts and at various event venues in Singapore is going to be much tighter in the wake of the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Britain.

The blast at the Manchester Arena left 22 dead and 59 injured.

Concert organiser LAMC Productions' director Ross Knudson said: "We've stepped up security through the use of scanners, and we will do whatever the authorities feel is necessary. It's the reality we all live in, we cannot run from it, we just have to try to deal with it."

LAMC has three shows coming up in the next few months at the Kallang Theatre, The Star Theatre and The Esplanade Annexe Studio.

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A spokesman for Unusual Entertainment said the firm works closely with venue managers and the authorities to ensure strict security measures are in place - for example, more thorough bag checks at entrances, additional security personnel and armed security.

Standard measures such as bag checks are in place for upcoming concerts at venues like the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Patrons are not allowed to carry items such as glass bottles and helmets.

 

Singapore Sports Hub's senior director of corporate communications and stakeholder management, Mr Chin Sau Ho, said besides ramping up security measures, it works closely with the authorities to monitor and safeguard the premises, which will host Ed Sheeran's concert in November.

He added that a dedicated security team is deployed across the campus and all staff are trained in emergency evacuation procedures.

Singapore Grand Prix (GP), the organiser for the Formula One Singapore Airlines Singapore GP race in September, said it has a "comprehensive security plan" for the event developed with the help of the police.

Singapore GP will continue to review and assess security plans to implement the necessary measures for the event, said its spokesman.

Ariana Grande is among the stars scheduled to perform at the Formula 1 concert in the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

In addition to these efforts, private security firms have been doing more to ensure public safety in crowded areas - from sending officers for courses on counter-terrorism to responding to requests from clients to get their guards tested in threat scenarios.

"Some have asked that we put our guards through exercises in which we leave unattended baggage in the premises and see how they respond," said Pico Guard's deputy managing director Pierce Ang, adding that given the tense security climate, it is crucial that firms step up security, including increasing manpower.

Security firms that handle small- to large-scale events, such as Certis Cisco and Soverus, have supplemented operations through tighter screening protocols and the use of technology such as video analytics.

Last month, amendments were made to Singapore's Public Order Act that require organisers of large-scale public events to inform the police at least 28 days before an event, and adhere to strict security measures including anti-vehicle barricades and bag checks. An event can be cancelled, postponed or moved if security is found by the authorities to be severely inadequate or if a terror threat is imminent.

The amendments "help protect such events against terrorist or public order threats", a Ministry of Home Affairs spokesman told The Straits Times. "These events include large-scale music concerts."

While the changes have driven up the cost of holding such events, organisers said they are necessary to improve public safety. Mr Randy Tan, 35, general manager of Infinitus Productions, which organises mass runs, said: "These measures have driven up some event costs by 40 to 60 per cent, but it's the price to pay for safety. Nobody wants anything bad to happen."

Mr Ash Tay, 28, a manager who is attending a Foo Fighters concert on Aug 26 at the National Stadium, said: "I expect organisers to be extra careful and vigilant, to do necessary checks of attendees and the surrounding area if need be, as well as to communicate clearly to attendees."

• Additional reporting by Melody Zaccheus

 

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2017, with the headline 'Expect strict checks at upcoming events in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe