Countering Terrorism: More than one way to skin a cat


Today the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced that a new security system will be in place at all air, land and sea checkpoints from Wednesday (Apr 20).


This will enhance the level of security at the checkpoints by capturing the thumbprints of visitors arriving and departing Singapore’s checkpoints.

For those of us who use the automated clearance system at the checkpoints, this new BioScreen system will not affect us.

Anyway, how is this significant to Singaporeans who are not affected by this new system?


It makes a difference because security is stepped up at all entry points to Singapore. And in this day and age where terrorism and extremism is a hot-button issue, we can’t afford to be careless and let our guard down.

In the last 6 months, we’ve witnessed a few incidents of terrorism happening in other countries near and far, as well as the arrest and repatriation of 27 Bangladeshi construction workers who were planning to conduct extremist activities in Bangladesh. All the more, there is a need to step up counter-terrorism and security measures.

And what better way than through the use of innovation and technology to verify the identities of travellers.

But beyond just introducing such technology to improve security standards, how can we beef up security in Singapore?

One way is to adopt security features early on in the conceptualising of a building’s design, otherwise known as “Security by design”.


A good example of this would be Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 which is still undergoing construction.

Unlike the existing terminals, T4 will have screening of passengers done at a common centralised point. This means that once security checks are done, passengers have the freedom to shop and dine in the transit area until it is time for them to board. (A good example of this would be Hong Kong International Airport).

This means that there will be fewer security staff needed to conduct checks.

In the existing terminals, passengers have to remain in the gatehold rooms after screening until their flight departs.

Singapore is facing a tight labour market and this means that there is a shortage of manpower, especially so in the security sector.

But if more buildings are designed with security in mind, it would definitely ease the manpower shortage within the security sector.

Hence, a change in mindset is needed to make the work processes of security personnel more productive.

If more can be done to design buildings with security in mind, then perhaps security agencies can also focus more of its efforts on adopting better technology to improve the work of its workers.



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