Friday 26 October 2012

"Terrorist attack" at Suntec City part of exercise

By Sailfulbahri Ismail, Channel NewsAsia, 24 Oct 2012

More than 18,000 people took part in an anti-terror attack exercise on Wednesday.

Exercise Heartbeat Alpha 2012 focuses on security threats at visitor hotspots such as the newly opened Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, and Gardens by the Bay.

It involved various Home Team agencies, the private sector and business community under the Safety and Security Watch Groups.

The first part of the exercise simulated a Mumbai-styled terror attack when four masked gunmen stormed into the Marina Bay Cruise Centre and started shooting randomly.

A similar scenario was also staged at the Flower Dome within the Gardens by the Bay where an international conference was held.

At the Suntec City area, a passenger bus exploded, to simulate the detonation of a bomb.

The exercise tests the readiness of various agencies and partners on how they could work together in a crisis.

Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC Indranee Rajah witnessed the exercise.

She said: "I thought it was a very good exercise because this takes place at a divisional level. What it means is that the division in the preparation for the exercise have to really think through the scenarios.

"The police have to work with SCDF, and both police and SCDF have to work with stakeholders like the cruise centre, the marina bay management, and Conrad hotel management and that exercise is valuable itself because you're doing scenario planning and it forces you to think ahead, so that to me is the most important part of it."

Commander of Central Police Division, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Daniel Tan said efforts were made to minimise inconveniences to the public during the exercise.

"Before the exercise itself, we had to come out with advisories, road closures... I think the public sees the value in this. Earlier on, some of the hotel guests commented that they enjoyed it, and thought that it was good the authorities are working with the community to ensure preparedness and vigilance," said Mr Tan.

The effects of the exercise were so real that concerned members of the public alerted the authorities.

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