More crowd control, security measures during festive period

Protective Security Command officers on patrol at Ngee Ann City mall in Orchard Road last week. The shopping belt will be among areas where crowd control measures will be deployed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The police advise the public to co
Protective Security Command officers on patrol at Ngee Ann City mall in Orchard Road last week. The shopping belt will be among areas where crowd control measures will be deployed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The police advise the public to cooperate with security personnel on bag checks.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

The festive season is about to kick into high gear, but so are security checks.

In fact, crowd control measures will be deployed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in areas where large numbers of people are expected, the police said yesterday.

These areas include the Orchard Road shopping belt, nightlife hub Clarke Quay and tourist hot spot Gardens by the Bay.

Police, auxiliary police and security officers will be deployed to ensure the public's safety and security. Officers from the Protective Security Command, Emergency Response Teams and the Special Operations Command will also be out on patrols.

The police advise the public to cooperate with security personnel when asked to offer their bags and personal items for checks.

Professor Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, Singapore, said there is a trend for the Al-Qaeda and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) groups to target Christians.

Also, he said that given ISIS' significant losses in Iraq and Syria, affiliated groups, such as those in South-east Asia, would want to conduct revenge attacks. "The IS-centric threat in South-east Asia is on the increase," he said, referring to ISIS.

He added: "It is absolutely necessary at this time that the public cooperate fully with the authorities... Signs and clues of an attack can always be detected by the public."

Orchard Road Business Association executive director Steven Goh said: "Orchard Road is an important, busy street. It is a target for anybody who wants to create disorder... The flow of traffic and people may slow down (with the additional security measures), but the inconvenience is necessary."

Crowd control barricades and direction signs will be put up in crowded areas to facilitate the safe and orderly dispersal of people.

Members of the public are also advised to be vigilant against molesters. In previous incidents, culprits sprayed foam into the eyes of their victims before molesting them.

At the same time, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) will step up security checks and patrols at the air, land and sea checkpoints in the festive period.

ICA said yesterday that more time will be needed for immigration clearance and advised travellers to factor this in when planning their journeys. There will be enhanced checks on vehicles at the land checkpoints, with officers checking under car bonnets and inside boots.

ICA advised motorists to check the traffic situation through the Land Transport Authority's One Motoring website before beginning their journeys.

•Additional reporting by Toh Wen Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'More crowd control, security measures during festive period'. Print Edition | Subscribe