LITTLE INDIA RIOT: ONE YEAR LATER

Little India Riot: One Year Later - The COI checklist: What's being done

The Committee of Inquiry (COI) into the causes of the Little India riot made wide-ranging recommendations in its June report, most of which were to do with preventing future riots. Walter Sim looks at the changes taking place.

POLICE

WHAT THE COI SAID: Improve police communications, command and control capabilities.

  • A new Combined Operations Room with more advanced communications, imaging and mobile computing technology will be ready by year end.
  • Trials started for body-worn cameras, which are clipped to an officer's uniform and can record in high definition, and for vehicle-mounted cameras, which will be installed in all fast-response cars by the end of next year.

COI: Train and equip front-line officers to deal with large-scale public order incidents.

  • The police will further review capabilities, training and equipment that front-line officers need.

COI: Increase manpower resources, but focus on quality rather than quantity.

  • There will be 300 more officers hired by 2017 for the Special Operations Command (SOC). This will double the current number of officers.
  • Three units of Police Tactical Troops, instead of two, will be on standby. Each will have 44 officers deployed, instead of 35.

COI: Cut layers of approval or time needed to activate essential police resources to respond to incidents and other emergencies.

  • The approval process for activating the SOC has been made more direct. Division commanders can activate the first SOC troop, rather than only the police director of operations.

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

COI: Install more lighting, safety and surveillance devices in areas where large groups of foreign workers meet and provide better facilities at these places.

  • The Government said in July that additional lighting was being installed in 44 locations. As of last Sunday, more than 100 street lamps have been added at 42 spots, including alleys and back lanes.
  • Steps are being taken to better manage pedestrian and vehicle traffic and facilitate bus services for workers.
  • Police cameras have been doubled from 113 to 250 in public areas and all HDB blocks. Another 88 more will be installed by next December.
  • There is an increased police presence; 20 to 30 more officers and a dedicated SOC unit are there on weekends, along with auxiliary police officers.
  • Operators of the 200 buses that ferry workers between dormitories and Little India on Sundays have a new route in the area, as well as drop-off and pick-up points.
  • Permanent facilities like sheltered waiting areas are being provided progressively from this month.

ALCOHOL

COI: Set restrictions on alcohol in hot spots where crowds indulge in heavy drinking.

  • Changes to the law will be introduced before the Public Order (Additional Temporary Measures) Act expires in March 2015.

WORKERS

COI: Provide more services and amenities to foreign workers outside of areas such as Little India.

  • There will be four more recreation centres in tandem with the increase in foreign worker numbers.

COI: Workers' accommodation, while better than that provided overseas, can be improved.

  • Construction of purpose-built dormitories will be stepped up. These will have in-built amenities and recreational facilities. There are already about 50 purpose-built dormitories here with some 200,000 beds. More will be launched and completed over the next two to three years.