Clubs set up joint safety watch group, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Clubs set up joint safety watch group

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It aims to help deter crimes and share information more quickly

Public entertainment (PE) nightspots have come together to set up an industry safety and security watch group with the police to implement crime prevention and counter-terrorism measures.

The setting up of the watch group comes amid a sharp jump in the number of cases of rioting, affray and serious hurt at nightspots. They rose to 56 cases in the first eight months of this year, compared with 36 for the same period last year.

In addition, the regional terrorist threat remains high, with crowded places being attractive targets for terrorists, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin yesterday, at the launch of the second iteration of the Smart Clubbing Campaign.

The Public Entertainment Industry Safety and Security Watch Group, which comprises 21 PE outlets, four associated partners and the police, will promote information sharing on nightspot- related crimes islandwide and potential security threats, he added.

Participating PE nightspots in the group can also act as "additional eyes and ears for each other, and help to look out for one another", said Mr Amrin.

"For example, if there are potential troublemakers or suspicious characters in the vicinity, such information can be quickly shared with each other, and police may also be alerted early to keep the patrons safe," he added.

He cited how Singapore River One, which manages the Singapore River precinct that includes Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and Robertson Quay, has created a dedicated WhatsApp chat group with its PE nightspots to allow rapid sharing of information on safety and security matters.

Meanwhile, other nightspots such as Bar Rouge at Swissotel The Stamford have implemented policies to not serve alcoholic drinks to highly intoxicated individuals.

Mr Amrin also noted that nightspots Zouk and Bang Bang have set up holding areas on their premises for highly intoxicated people to rest and sober up.

"For their patrons' safety, these PE nightspots help ensure that they are not left alone on the street in an intoxicated state," said Mr Amrin.

He added that these measures not only benefit the patrons but also enhance the image, reputation and business of the local nightlife industry, and he hopes that all PE nightspots will adopt similar practices "in time to come".

Marina Bay Sands, which houses Singapore's largest nightclub, Marquee, told The Straits Times it has implemented similar safety measures, such as a "recovery bay" for patrons to rest and recuperate or seek medical assistance if needed.

The Smart Clubbing Campaign was first launched in September last year by the police, in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, to tackle an increase in crimes such as outrage of modesty, theft and violent crimes at PE nightspots.