Security to be beefed up along Marina Bay amid global trend of such attacks, say police.
The police will expand the use of large concrete blocks and other "hard" security measures to guard against vehicle attacks to more areas along Marina Bay for this year's National Day Parade (NDP).
The locations will include spots where large crowds are expected to gather for the fireworks, such as the Marina Bay Sands waterfront, The Promontory@Marina Bay and the area near the Fullerton Hotel.
In the past, such measures were seen only near the parade grounds at The Float@Marina Bay. Everywhere else, police officers were deployed to guard against mainly security or public order incidents.
Superintendent Tay Wee Li, who is the assistant director of the police major security events division, said the move is in response to a worldwide trend of hostile vehicle attacks, such as in Nice last year and in London earlier this year.
In June, eight people were killed and dozens taken to hospital after attackers in a white van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge at high speed before stabbing people in the nearby Borough Market area of bars and restaurants.
In France, a Bastille Day celebration in Nice turned into a nightmare in July last year when a speeding truck killed 86 people and injured hundreds at a crowded promenade.
Supt Tay said: "It is easy to use vehicles as a tool of attack. That is why we are protecting the areas where crowds will congregate." Past efforts by the police, she said, focused on unauthorised vehicles carrying improvised explosive devices.
The NDP has been gazetted a "special event" under the Public Order Act, which means there will be stricter security measures in place in the Marina Bay area.
People attending the parade, for instance, will have to go through security screening and bag checks before entering The Float. About 25,000 spectators are expected to attend the festivities.
Entry points into the restricted area are located at the Helix Bridge, Temasek Avenue near Promenade MRT station, Marina Square and the Esplanade driveway.
Police have also barred any unmanned aerial vehicles, such as drones, in the restricted areas.
A new drone detection system has been set up near the Singapore Flyer, which allows officers to pinpoint the general location of a drone operator.
There will be about 200 security cameras installed in The Float area, and the footage will be monitored real-time from a command and control room.
This year, more than 5,000 personnel from the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be involved in NDP security efforts.
About 500 medical personnel from the SAF Medical Corps, SCDF and Ministry of Health will also be on the ground.
Engineering executive Goh Wei Jie, 25, said he plans to catch the fireworks near Gardens by the Bay with his girlfriend this year.
He said: "I think the concrete blocks are a good measure to protect and safeguard the public, especially with more attackers making use of vehicles to target large crowds recently.
"I will have better peace of mind when I am out there watching the fireworks."
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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