NUS approves plans for night patrols
But students, experts sceptical patrols will reduce sexual misconduct
The National University of Singapore (NUS) has approved plans for night patrols by executive community members of the student union.
But other undergraduates are sceptical, and security experts believe the move is merely a feelgood measure.
Earlier this week, the NUS Students' Union (NUSSU) proposed night patrols during the orientation camp period in June and the first week of August.
NUSSU said it would deploy a male and female student from its executive committee with a campus security guard and patrol multi-purpose rooms, colleges and halls where freshmen and camp leaders will stay during the orientation period.
They will also patrol the corridors and toilets at night.
In the evening, the patrol will visit students' rooms to ensure they are not engaged in activities such as smoking and drinking, and that they do not have others in the room.
The university approved the proposal on Wednesday.
Miss Rozanne Low, 19, a first-year history student, told The New Paper: "I don't think checking rooms has any use and it doesn't add any value nor does it help to ensure reduction in sexual misconduct."
Security experts also said such patrols had limited value.
Security Association Singapore president Raj Joshua Thomas said: "It acts as a bit of a deterrent, but is more of a feelgood measure."
Over-zealousness is a concern.
"You don't want innocent people to be harassed," said Mr Thomas.
"Do residents actually want people checking on them?"
The NUSSU proposal came about after the Monica Baey incident last year, where a student had secretly filmed her in the shower in a residential hall last year.
The male student was given a conditional warning by the police, suspended for a semester, made to undergo counselling, banned from entering the hall and instructed to write Miss Baey an apology.
The Association of Certified Security Agencies president Robert Wiener felt patrols by students could lead to abuse.
"There are some sick people out there, and those who do the patrols need to be screened to ensure they themselves are not up to no good," he said.
Both Mr Thomas and Mr Wiener said using technology like video analytics and biometrics would be more effective in enhancing security. - ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHANNEN NG.
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