Security has been tightened around churches in Singapore following deadly truck rampage in Berlin earlier this week and recent terror arrests in the region. Various security measures- such as conducting bag checks on churchgoers and visitors, setting up of dedicated committees to oversee security arrangements and hiring external security firms are being undertaken.
Security staff has been doubled at Singapore’s largest church-St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Bag check of the churchgoers and visitors have been made compulsory and notices have been put around the church to inform people of the measures being taken in light of the current security situation.
“The church has also trained up volunteers to form a security team that will spot any suspicious individuals and behaviour,” said church’s manager Kenneth Koh.
A church in the Orchard area has set up a security committee ahead of its Christmas service. The committee is headed by a deacon in the church and includes church members who work in the security industry. It has also engaged an external security firm.
National Council of Churches (NCCS) executive secretary Richard Chong said, “Many churches are stepping up on security for candlelight services this year, such as by installing closed-circuit television cameras and reminding church members on the importance of staying vigilant."
On December 19, a truck ploughed through Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring nearly 50 others. In the last fortnight, Indonesia’s police foiled two imminent terror attacks, including one that was to be staged on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. Malaysia’s Special Branch Counter terrorism unit also arrested several people in separate raids in recent weeks.
Terrorism experts noted that countries need to be extra vigilant during this period.