Singapore: Police to light up Marina Bay during New Year’s Eve countdown with crowd management lights


A series of LED lights, developed to improve crowd management, will be deployed within the Marina Bay area during the event. - ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN): Light projections and fireworks are set to be the highlights at the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown 2024 on Dec 31.

But the police will also be deploying their own new lights at the New Year’s Eve event for the first time.

A series of LED lights, developed as part of a police project to improve crowd management, will be deployed within the Marina Bay area during the event, which saw some 500,000 people turning up in December 2022.

LED runway lights, which are sets of portable flashing lights, will be placed on the ground at the War Memorial Park area to illuminate pathways and guide crowds in the right direction.

The runway lights were first used operationally during the National Day Parade 2023.

The lights are not fixed to the ground and can be moved.

Even if they are accidentally kicked, they can be returned to their original positions and continue to function, as they can withstand being run over by a vehicle.

Sheets of LED reflective arrows will also be put up by the police in the Marina Bay area, and will feature flashing lights to direct crowds.

Signage boards pointing to MRT stations in the area and advising the public on diversions will be illuminated with the police’s LED lights if they are located in dark places.

About 600 police officers are expected to be deployed in the area during the event.

The officers will be equipped with body-worn cameras, which were introduced in 2015.

In 2023, the police will be activating the live-streaming capability of the cameras for the first time.

About 600 police officers are expected to be deployed in the area during the event. - ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOOAbout 600 police officers are expected to be deployed in the area during the event. - ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Deputy Superintendent of Police Esther Koh, head of operations at Central Division, said live footage from the cameras will enhance the police’s sense-making capabilities. She said: “The police will be stepping up our presence there (the Marina Bay area) to ensure the safety and security of the public.

“Members of the public intending to visit Marina Bay are also advised to check out the Crowd@MarinaBay live map to view real-time crowd levels and closure areas at the various firework viewing spots.”

The map was used during the 2023 countdown, and has been updated with more features.

These include a live update of how crowded MRT stations in the area are, marked out ride-hailing spots and clearer indicators for users to find their way in and out of various locations.

The public can access the live map at https://go.gov.sg/crowd-at-marina-bay, or by scanning the QR codes on signage in the Marina Bay area on Dec 31.

The map will be available after 7pm that night.

On New Year’s Eve in 2022, the police used drones that will again be deployed on Dec 31.

These are equipped with lights and speakers for crowd control.

Overcrowding was a key concern in 2022, following the Itaewon Halloween crowd crush in South Korea on Oct 29 that year, when a crowd of revellers became concentrated in a small alleyway leading to the streets, killing 159 people and injuring 196.

Most of the victims were young people out to enjoy the first post-Covid-19 Halloween festivities in the popular nightlife district.

But security concerns for the fourth quarter of 2023 involve potential attacks in the light of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

In November, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said there had been a noticeable increase in anti-Singapore sentiments on social media, with calls online for Singapore to be targeted using rockets and bombs.

He said: “An attack, like what happened to Israel, could happen anywhere, including here, and there will be people who will be encouraged to do copycat attacks. The threat is there, and it has gotten higher.”

The police urge the public to stay alert during the New Year’s Eve festivities.

Anyone with information on suspicious individuals or activities can contact the Internal Security Department on 1800-2626-473 or the police on 999. - The Straits Times/ANN

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