SINGAPORE: With a massive crowd expected to flock to the Marina Bay area on New Year’s Eve, the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is not taking any chances in keeping Singapore safe during the celebrations.
Last year, organisers estimated that between 400,000 and 500,000 people thronged the area.
With several countdown events being held simultaneously at the Marina Bay area and the Civic District this year, crowd management measures are all the more critical.
In all, 700 police officers - similar to last year - will be deployed to maintain order.
These include specialist officers from the Emergency Response Teams, In-Situ Reaction Teams and Special Operations Command, who will conduct high-visibility patrols at pre-identified locations with either high foot traffic or large congregations.
"We have not allocated more officers per se, but we're working more closely with the event organisers to put in more measures," said Deputy Assistant Commissioner of Police Gregory Tan, who oversees the Central Division.
"So that will mean that we'll have a better handle on the public areas which people are allowed to gather at. We’ll be able to respond quickly and efficiently," Mr Tan said.
"We're looking at achieving a higher level of effectiveness with the same amount of officers or even fewer than previous years," he added.
The police will also deploy an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to be their eyes in the sky, as part of efforts to leverage technology to support officers during major operations.
The UAV can travel at 20m per second, and will rove over the Marina Bay area.
The drone, which was trialed last year, has a high-definition camera that can capture and transmit pictures of the ground to the police command post.
It also has blinkers, search lights and an audio warning system to allow the police to communicate with the public if necessary.
The police will also install more than 20km of yellow fences and barricades to direct both human and vehicular traffic in the area.
Nine hundred tonnes of concrete blocks will also be set up to deter and block potential hostile vehicles.
Event organisers of the Marina Bay Carnival are also gearing up for a peak crowd on New Year’s Eve.
The carnival site, located next to Marina Bay Sands, can accommodate between 6,000 and 7,000 people at any one time, but organisers expect close to 50,000 people to pass through throughout the day.
Lead of the carnival’s organising team Barnabas Chia spoke of measures including bag checks, designated exit and entry points and strict crowd control.
“For this year, we've brought in more rides and more games, and these are higher capacity rides and games and these can help to spread the crowd more evenly throughout the entire site," he said.
"We'll have site monitors on both sides, at the entrance and at the exit, and for every five people that leave, we'll let five people in."
They advise visitors to bring smaller bags to the event so they can clear the security bag check at the entrance more quickly. Plainclothes security personnel will also conduct random bag checks within the carnival grounds.