Anti-ramming barriers among beefed-up security measures for Sentosa's New Year countdown

Sentosa Rangers at the Sentosa Development Corporation's Joint Command Centre.
Sentosa Rangers at the Sentosa Development Corporation's Joint Command Centre.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Police officers working at the Sentosa Development Corporation's Joint Command Centre, which they share with Sentosa Rangers.
Police officers working at the Sentosa Development Corporation's Joint Command Centre, which they share with Sentosa Rangers.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
A view of the venue for the Siloso Beach Party on New Year's Eve.
A view of the venue for the Siloso Beach Party on New Year's Eve.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
Revellers at the Siloso Beach Party can expect to see increased security presence on the ground.
Revellers at the Siloso Beach Party can expect to see increased security presence on the ground.PHOTO: SENTOSA SILOSO BEACH PARTY

SINGAPORE - Security will be beefed up at Singapore's only beach New Year countdown on Sunday (Dec 31). For the first time, Sentosa's Siloso Beach Party will be ringed in by concrete blocks and mobile crash barriers, to increase the safety of revellers.

These anti-vehicle ramming measures, coupled with more police boots on the ground and more patrols by the Police Coast Guard at sea, will boost security for the event, said Superintendent Daniel Hui, head of operations at Clementi Police Division.

In April, the Public Order Act was amended to beef up security at large public events. It gives powers to the police to direct event organisers to put in place security measures such as bag and body checks, anti-vehicle barricades and the presence of armed auxiliary police officers.

Supt Hui said: "Given the number of security incidents regionally and globally, the extra steps will keep partygoers safe."

There has been a spate of vehicles ramming into crowds in cities such as Paris, London and Barcelona.

Supt Hui said partygoers can expect to see increased security presence on the ground, with police units such as the Special Operations Command, as well as Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) security officers.

"Besides increasing public security, police presence will also help deter incidents like theft and molestation."

Compared with last year, there has been a 10 per cent to 20 per cent increase in police manpower deployed to the annual beach party, Supt Hui said.

More than 200 private security officers, hired by SDC, and police officers, including uniformed and plain-clothes officers, will be deployed for the countdown event.

SDC will also be utilising new software to enhance its 24-hour video surveillance capabilities around Sentosa.

The software analyses closed-circuit television footage and uses real-time algorithms to pick up abnormalities. It will then alert SDC security officers and police based at the island's Joint Command Centre.

Partygoers should also expect bag checks before entering the event grounds. These have been the norm since the Siloso Beach Party started 11 years ago, said SDC's security director Lee Cheow Hiang.

"Each year, more than 10,000 people turn up. To ensure their safety and well-being, we work closely with the Singapore Police Force and start planning our operational readiness... weeks before the party," said Mr Lee.

He advised revellers to arrive for the party one to two hours early to clear security.

Besides being prepared to tackle public order incidents, SDC and the police are also ready to conduct mass evacuations and set up holding areas across the island if necessary, Mr Lee added.

Said Supt Hui: "The challenge will be to strike a balance between allowing partygoers to have fun and let their hair down, and securing the grounds.

"The best case is if partygoers remain unaffected by the added security and don't notice it at all."