Singapore

Ensuring security at Bukit Batok by-election

Yellow metal barricades were a common sight at rally sites over the past two weeks.

Usually spotted near the stage and at the perimeter of the rally grounds, they were placed by the Singapore Police Force (SPF) for crowd control and security reasons.

But if placed wrongly, people might move in the wrong direction and get hurt.

It is details like these that Superintendent (Supt) Linda Syn, 43, head of operations planning, had to take into account.

She said that even the type of barricades used had to be assessed.

Supt Syn said: "If you deploy the wrong equipment, it will cause danger to the public and police officers.

"For example, if a light metal barricade (instead of a heavy barricade) was placed near the stage and people start pushing, it could jeopardise the officers' lives if everyone suddenly charged at them."

She said that light metal barricades are usually used for demarcating the flow of traffic and crowd.

Her team was also in charge of setting up the SPF's watch tower.

There was one at each Bukit Batok by-election rally site - Bukit Gombak Stadium and a field next to Bukit Batok Industrial Park A. Both towers were equipped with closed-circuit television cameras.

She said: "With its elevated view, the police can observe the proceedings to prevent and detect crime, and pre-empt potential public order incidents."

For Supt Syn, it was also a race against time to get their resources ready as soon as the Writ of Election was issued on April 20.

Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Rimyzad Abdul Hamid, 42, head of operational logistics in the police logistics department, said they had to ensure that the officers had equipment like traffic wands, torches and illuminated vests.

DSP Rimyzad said they also tried to ensure the comfort of rally-goers.

He said: "It could be as simple as laying out wooden boards on the ground to prevent their shoes from getting dirty."

Supt Syn: "We are the first to come in to set up and the last ones to leave the venue.

"My biggest satisfaction is when everyone who participates in the event comes here safely and goes home safely."

- Linette Heng & Nabilah Awang


WHAT WAS USED DURING THE BUKIT BATOK BY-ELECTION

Wooden boards: More than 100

Traffic cones: More than 1,500

Barricades (above): More than 1,900

Watch towers: Two

Video platforms: Two

Singapore Police ForceSingapore ElectionsBukit BatokoperationsLOGISTICS