ARE WE READY TO HANDLE SECURITY ISSUES IN BIG INTERNATIONAL EVENTS?

Dear A.S.S. Editor

It might not be a good time to use the recent Manchester attack as an example, but we have to learn from this episode. It just shows that once you let your guard down, an attack can happen anywhere, and in any situation. That this involved mainly children and their parents is a sad indictment of the world we live in today, where attackers do not care who or what they target, as long as impact is made worldwide.

In Singapore, are we really ready to tackle such issues? We have been force fed the SG Secure tag everywhere we turn, where the tagline is “Not if but when it happens”. This seems apt. Singapore has it’s fair shares of big concerts an events, and we will still have these events coming up throughout the year. The F1 race, concerts by Britney Spears and Foo Fighters, the football tournaments at the National Stadium in July. Are our security up to standards? Judging from the past recent concerts we had, maybe security is still a major issue.

An example is the recent Guns N Roses concert. Apparently, the staff from local event organiser LAMC Productions were surprised when security personnel did not check ticket-holders with handheld detectors at recent concerts. In the concert area, they also spotted security staff watching the performers on stage, and not looking out for potential danger signs, suspicious characters or unattended bags in the crowd. And are security staff properly trained to handle security issues? After all, they are not law enforcement officers. Most of them are likely part timers, out to make a quick buck, while also getting an opportunity to catch a show for free. And are there really enough security personnel for big events like this?

We really need to step up on our security measures to ensure something like the Manchester attack does not takes place here. we may never be able to stop crazy people from hatching plans about attacking a large scale public event, but we can do something to prevent a major catastrophe from happening, if only our first level of security are up to scratch.

Ken See

A.S.S. Contributor

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