Marina Bay to have dedicated police centre

The Singapore Police Force is setting up a dedicated security centre at Marina Bay to manage the challenges expected once the integrated resort there has been completed.

The new Marina Bay Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) is expected to have 180 officers, three times the number of staff for each existing centre.

The other 32 existing neighbourhood police centres have an average of about 70 officers each.

Unlike existing police centres that handle mostly residential cases, the one at Marina Bay will carry out operations specific to the needs of Marina Bay.

A quarter of a million people ushered in the new year at Marina Bay last month.

The Singapore Police Force says large-scale activities like the New Year countdown party are expected to be common once the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort is up and ready.

To maintain order, a special security unit will be set up at the new Marina Bay NPC.

Singapore Police Force’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Lau Peet Meng, said: “We’ll make sure the event is protected. The officers will be in charge of security patrols. So, they will walk around the vicinity, looking out for suspicious persons or objects and to always be the alert, to sound the alarm if they do see something out of the ordinary.

“We’re looking at possibly using other modes of transport like three-wheelers or bicycles to see how we can actually respond to cases and incidents more quickly.”

Also unique to the Marina Bay NPC is a Plainclothes Taskforce that will look into integrated resort-related vice activities.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lau said: “From the experience of overseas casinos, we can see that usually there will be some vice issues. We will form a Plainclothes Taskforce that will reside in this NPC.

“The role of this taskforce is, first of all, to be aware of the situation. So, they (taskforce) will be going around the IR and its vicinity, observing the kind of people that are around the area.

“The second role is to enforce the laws that we have in this country. If we do find vice or any other activities that are illegal, this taskforce will then move in to enforce the laws.”

The Marina Bay NPC will also work closely with building owners and security managers in the area, something the police force decided to do after studying London’s model.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lau said: “The more important lesson that we learnt from London is engaging the business owners and business partners in the area. We want to help them think about how to respond to incidents when they take place and how quickly they can recover from those incidents… business continuity plans. These are important issues that we want to encourage our business partners to think about in the downtown area.”

Businesses like Marina Mandarin say it is good planning to have a police centre in the area as that will mean faster response time from officers for activities at the bay as opposed to the current police centre which is located relatively further away – at the Police Cantonment Complex near Chinatown.

The new Marina Bay NPC will also oversee the Singapore River and the Bugis shopping district.

The NPC will be located next to a fire station, the second such centre to do so after Queenstown NPC. But its exact location and other details are still being worked out.

Meanwhile its operations will start at the Police Cantonment Complex in the second half of 2009.

It hopes to move to the Marina Bay area by the end of this year or early 2010.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 15 Jan 2009

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