Organisers to ensure security for events

Events with large crowds or those deemed to be at high risk must have counter-terrorism measures

The Government will make organisers of major events with large crowds ramp up security as part of counter-terrorism measures.

Speaking in Parliament during his speech at the Committee of Supply debate, Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said the Public Order Act will be amended to require events with large crowds and those deemed to be at high risk to put in place security measures.

A new Infrastructure Protection Act will also be introduced, he added.

Both these measures will require businesses to "adopt certain measures to guard against security threats", said Mr Lee.

But the ministry was "mindful" of the impact that this could have on businesses.

"We will take a practical approach so as to keep the cost of such measures reasonable," he said.

Mr Lee said the cost that would be incurred for these measures was what terrorists had imposed on the whole of society, and while the Government has borne a significant share of this cost, communities have been roped in to "play a part".

"We seek the business community's understanding that these measures are necessary as a shared effort to keep Singapore and Singaporeans safe," he said.

Crowd safety is, of course, the No. 1 priority for event organisers and we need to ensure this is managed responsibly. Mr Dan Gordon, managing director of Now/Live and Secret Sounds Asia

Mr Dan Gordon, managing director of Now/Live and Secret Sounds Asia, which regularly organises concerts here, told The New Paper this was a "necessary step for large-scale events, as can been seen by unfortunate major incidents elsewhere in the world".

"The Government will need to make sure that steps are reasonable for the crowd capacity and venue, and that any costs are manageable to not greatly affect ticket pricing."

Mr Gordon added: "Crowd safety is, of course, the No. 1 priority for event organisers, and we need to ensure this is managed responsibly."

Security companies said they have seen an increase in demand for security at large-scale events.

But with an industry-wide manpower shortage, can firms cope with increased demand?

Certis Cisco said it has been harnessing technology such as smart CCTVs in security operations to get around the shortage.

"With the introduction of technology, security officers are more effective, performing less monotonous tasks as they take on a higher valued role."

Security firm Soverus also uses technology.

Its spokesman said: "We believe in deploying guards at duty posts only when human interaction is required... These technologies reduce not only the number of guards required, but also their fatigue level during their deployment."

Soverus estimates security services at major private events such as Formula 1 and the Singapore Airshow would increase by about 20 per cent. For public events like the National Day Parade and Chingay, it estimates an even higher increase.

Another private security firm, Aetos, told TNP it has seen a 15 per cent rise in demand for security at large-scale events in 2015 and 2016.