More stringent safety measures could be required at large-scale events

An open-air concert in Singapore. Photo: AP

More stringent safety measures could soon be required for events drawing crowds of 5,000 or more at a time.

In light of a heightened threat of terrorism, these measures include placing barricades, having security officers and bag checks for attendees could soon be implemented. Such events include big-scale sporting events, concerts and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

These requirements are part of the amendment to the Public Order Act, tabled in Parliament by Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs (MHA) Desmond Lee on Thursday (9 March).

Under the proposed changes to the law, organisers must inform the police at least 28 days before holding such large-scale events. The police will then assess the risk of a terror attack or public order incident before deciding if the event should be declared a special event, the MHA said on Thursday.

The event organiser would then be issued with directions by the police to ensure that appropriate security measures were in place, the ministry added.

Private invitation-only events expected to draw crowds of 10,000 will also be subjected to the new regulations, while smaller scale events which are deemed to be of a high risk of terror attack or public order incident will also be declared as special events after assessment by the police.

Event organisers that do not implement such security measures once changes to the Acts are passed would be guilty of an offence.

The Act is also being amended to give the Commissioner of Police the power to reject applications for public assemblies and processions that involve foreigners using these events for political ends.

Lee said the government would be adopting measures that will “require businesses to adopt certain measures to guard against security threats”.

He added that the ministry was mindful of the impact these laws would have on businesses, and would take a “practical approach” to keep costs reasonable.