"Regular security and emergency preparedness exercises are necessary to put to practice established response protocols and maintain vigilance."
Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT Corporation (SMRT) have published details of major new security measures they say will safeguard users of the financial hub’s rail, metro and wider transport networks. Named Exercise Station Guard, the initiative will introduce contingency plans and instil “operational readiness” among staff that will give them the tools to increase safety during heightened security situations.
The LTA-SMRT emergency exercise also serves to raise public awareness of the security threats that Singapore faces, in the process familiarising commuters with how they should respond should such an emergency situation arise. The training programme will take place over the course of one day on Sunday 29th July at the Circle Line’s Holland Village MRT Station, with two more planned in August.
As part of Exercise Station Guard, users will be obliged to pass through security screening before they can enter Holland Village, working in much the same way as airline security gates: belongings and personal artefacts undergo X-ray analysis before access to ticket barriers is granted. The upcoming safety programme is the second such exercise that has taken place on Singapore’s transport networks in 2018 year and will follow another carried out at Downtown Line’s Newton MRT Station in February. All four security days will work in tandem with SGSecure, the community group set up to respond to terror incidents.
One of the executive members heading up the new procedures, Ngien Hoon Ping from the LTA (@LTAsg), which develops the country’s rapid transport system and is responsible for the expansion of the country’s rail network, said the authorities and the public had to step up their vigilance, preparedness and response in the face of future potential threats.
“Exercise Station Guard allows the LTA and our public transport operators to review and strengthen our security measures, so that we can respond quickly and effectively to incidents on our public transport network,” said Ngien. “In line with the SGSecure movement, members of the public can expect more of such joint exercises to be carried out.”
The other half of the safety partnership, SMRT, said that it was through practice that Singapore would be most effective should the worst happen. “Regular security and emergency preparedness exercises are necessary to put to practice established response protocols and maintain vigilance. It also builds up the confidence and proficiency of our staff so that response plans can be mobilised quickly and effectively during an emergency,” said @SMRT_Singapore CEO, Lee Ling Wee.
Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs warned last year that the threat of terrorism was at its highest in recent history, with security services in the country on high alert as a result. Reports in the The Straits Times, a newspaper from the country, said that a credible terror threat was thwarted in 2016 which involved foreign ISIS militants.
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