Singapore

Singapore tightens security against terror attacks

With Monday's terror attack in Berlin, security firms are reporting rising demand for their services from malls, attractions

Expect tighter security and more bag checks this festive season, with Monday's attack in Berlin serving as the latest reminder of the global terror threat.

Security companies are reporting a rising demand for their services from shopping malls, event organisers and local attractions.

On Monday, the police said there would be greater police presence and increased checks on bags during the festive period.

Police and security officers will also be deployed at year-end festivities such as the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown, which will see two major roads in the Civic District - St Andrew's Road and Connaught Drive - close for the celebration.

Entertainment spaces such as the Esplanade, which houses a mall, are taking more security measures.

"These include increasing security patrols and maintaining a greater visibility of our security personnel so that members of the public can approach them where necessary," said Mr Ravi Sivalingam, its head of hospitality and services.

Resorts World Sentosa - which has attractions such as Universal Studios Singapore and shopping outlets - will also be stepping up security to tackle the threat of terrorism.

Said its spokesman: "We have stepped up our security measures at all our attractions by deploying more security personnel across the integrated resort to monitor for any unusual activities."

Front-line staff are being trained to identify suspicious people and items and respond appropriately during a terrorist attack.

Security firms are also beefing up their numbers to cope with countdown parties and celebrations.

With extended hours for shopping malls and public transport operations, a Certis Cisco spokesman said the firm usually hires part-time officers to complement its existing pool of 7,000 staff.

Another firm, Soverus, said it typically hires at least 600 ad hoc guards for countdown events, in addition to its force of 750.

Singapore has kept its guard up following reports that the terror threat is greater this festive season.

Pico Guards, which deploys 480 security officers across 60 locations, said since mid-November, almost all its clients had asked for more security patrols. Last year, only half of them made requests for greater security.

DETERRING

"Increasing patrols and security presence in malls means deterring potential attacks," said its deputy managing director Pierce Ang.

"So our guards have to work extra hard to do more rounds with increased vigilance."

He said guards also attend refresher training courses where they learn about counter-terrorism measures. They work with cleaning and retail staff to spot suspicious activity.

Added Mr Ang: "Given the heightened security risks worldwide and the recent terror events, such attacks can happen anytime.

"The threat must be taken seriously."

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