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Home Team Speeches

26 October 2010

The Hotel Security Conference And Security Awards Presentation 2010, At Intercontinental Singapore - Speech By Associate Professor Ho Peng Kee, Senior Minister Of State For Law And Home Affairs, 26 October 2010

President, Singapore Hotel Association
Chairman, National Crime Prevention Council
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen
            I am happy to be here once again for this year’s Hotel Security Conference. In its 15th year now, this conference has become the key industry event for hoteliers to meet to take stock of current security concerns. By doing this, you gain deeper insights and opportunities to learn best practices from one another. It is also another touchpoint between the hotel industry and the Home Team, particularly the Singapore Police Force, as we continue to work in partnership to address security matters of mutual concern and relevance.
The Need to be Vigilant
2.         The tourism and hotel industry is an important asset to Singapore’s economy, For the third consecutive year, Singapore was rated the ‘Top International Meetings City’ by the Union of International Associations (UIA)’s International Meetings Statistics 2009 report.  Positioned as an ideal location for MICE events, the Singapore government’s investment in this industry over the years have borne much fruit. For example, the Inaugural Youth Olympics, F1 Grand Prix and the opening of the Integrated Resorts (IRs) have given a significant boost to this industry. Having reached the milestone of having one million arrivals to Singapore in a single month in July this year, the success of this industry is highly visible.   In the second quarter of this year, the hotels and restaurants sector also grew by more than 10 per cent, bolstered by the opening of the two Integrated Resorts [1]
3.         On the flip side, this success may be exploited. The bomb blasts at JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton in Jakarta last year have shown that hotels remain soft targets that terrorists favour. Hence, we must do our best to prevent such attacks from happening here, as their occurrence will shake public confidence, as well as have a huge impact on the hotel industry and the economy at large. We must therefore continue to harden our buildings and businesses against possible attacks, and remain vigilant and well-prepared against contingencies.
Singapore Standard for Hotel Security: SS545
4.          So far, we have done well.    When I officiated at this event last year, I launched an initiative to create a Singapore Standard for Hotel Security: SS545. This standard defines key processes and infrastructure that support hotels with capabilities for crisis response. 
5.          I am happy to note that the SS545 standard has been incorporated into the annual Hotel Security Awards this year. This is indeed a step in the right direction. To all hotels who have put in much effort in applying this standard to their establishments, and especially the award winners who have met and indeed, exceeded these new and stringent criteria – I say “well done”. For this year’s award, all participating hotels had their physical security, contingency preparedness, training and security processes taken into consideration.  I am pleased that despite the expanded scope, the number of participating hotels has grown to some 63 hotels [2]; with close to 20 hotels having in place high compliance with the SS545 standards.
Everyone Can Play A Part in Counter Terrorism
6          Everyone can and should play a part in being vigilant to deter crime and terrorism. Hoteliers have a duty to ensure that their properties are secure, thus providing travellers with a peace of mind. I urge that all hotel staff embrace a security mindset in their overall DNA. This should be part of the matrix involving other attributes such as honesty, efficiency and good service that all hotel staff should have. It is therefore not just those staff who have direct security responsibilities who should take ownership of the security of their premises.  
7          I am heartened that many of the nominees and award winners of the Hotel Security Awards, which will be presented shortly today, are not personnel from the security department. This shows that we are getting the message across to all employees in the hotel community. This security mindset will certainly make it much harder for terrorists to perpetrate their evil designs on our hotels.  I am also pleased to know that more than 900 hotel security personnel have been trained under Project Guardian. Having undergone the programme, this pool of ready staff can more efficiently assist the authorities during an emergency. They can perform tasks such as manning the security cordon, evacuating their guests and managing traffic flows, while our enforcement officers can focus on tackling the crisis situation at hand. . This aspect was highlighted in the most recent CrimeWatch program. It is my pleasure to put on record our appreciation to the 19 hotels that have been actively participating in Project Guardian activities and exercises since its introduction in 2009.
8          Indeed, hotels are essential active partners and players in the Singapore Police Force’s Safety and Security Work Groups (SSWG), which promotes coordination and emergency preparedness in major crises such as a terrorist attack. I am happy that twelve hotels were awarded the prestigious SSWG award last week.
9          In conclusion, I commend the commitment and the spirit of collaboration of our hotels in Singapore. It is an exciting journey we are going on together as we remake Singapore as an exciting tourist destination. Without your support, commitment and assistance, major events like the F1, YOG and APEC would not have proceeded as smoothly as they did.   Your enhanced vigilance has contributed greatly to the overall successful execution of these high profile events. 
Working together, we can keep Singapore safe and secure.
10        On this note, I wish you a pleasant and fruitful conference. Thank you.   

[2]        Out of the 63 participating hotels, 18 of them will be receiving the “Hotel Security Excellence Award” for achieving the  SS 545 standards and 45 hotels will be receiving the “Hotel Security Award” for establishing good security measures based on SS 545. 
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