Ladies and Gentlemen
Partnership between the Government, Private Sector and Community
On 11 March 2004, the world saw yet another act of terror with the train bombings in Madrid. We have taken concrete steps to enhance Singapore's safety and security. But it is more important that the private sector and community work together in partnership with the government to fight terrorism and to prevent crime. The private sector and community can both play a part by making vigilance a way of life among employees, families and friends.
2 The commercial sector, of which you are a part, has a critical role to play in fighting terrorism. The survival of businesses in Singapore is closely tied to the stability and prosperity of the country and the region. It is imperative for the commercial sector to recognise its responsibilities, and take its anti-terrorism role seriously.
3 We cannot stress enough the importance of investing in security measures. The security of your properties and businesses must be of paramount concern to you. Should there be a terrorist attack on any business premises, the damage to the entire industry and Singapore's socio-economic stability would be disastrous. Security-related spending is thus, a long-term investment that must be given top priority.
4 I am pleased to note that the retail network led by the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) has a system of fax alerts and periodic newsletters with security related information. This can be utilised by members of the association as an information-sharing channel for the dissemination of security-related threats and developments, including the sharing of best practices.
5 I urge you to fully utilise your networking meetings, as platforms to discuss security issues. Take concrete steps to educate your employees on how they can be vigilant. Where feasible, you should also consider joining Security Watch Groups to be kept updated of latest crime trends and security developments.
6 Shop theft is the top crime for the industry. All shops can also contribute actively to reduce shop theft. The number of persons arrested for shop theft in general saw an increase of about four per cent, or 202 persons, in 2003 as compared to the previous year. However, what is encouraging is that the number of youths arrested for shop theft has decreased by five per cent, or 76 youths, for the same period
7 I would like to commend the Dairy Farm group, for its proactive approach in tackling retail crime among youth. Much has been gained from the inaugural Stop Shop Theft programme by the Dairy Farm group. Since its launch in the middle of last year, the number of shop-floor thefts within the Dairy Farm stores has decreased by about six per cent. Other benefits include stronger ties forged between Dairy Farm's loss prevention officers and the Police, heightened security awareness among members of the Dairy Farm group, and active participation from schools.
Retail Security Charter - National Safe Shopping Awards 2004
8 In recognition of your efforts to fight crime and enhance security measures, the SRA has been giving out National Safe Shopping Awards to outstanding security personnel from retailers who have signed the SRA Retail Security Charter. I would like to congratulate the five winners for clinching the awards this year, and commend them for ensuring a safe shopping environment for all their customers.
Retail Security Assessments
9 To further strengthen the systemic processes that enhance security in the retail industry, the Police will be conducting a pilot security assessment in July 2004 on the key players among the signatories of the Retail Security Charter, such as the chain supermarkets and departmental stores. The retail security assessments will help you take stock of improvements that can be made to further secure your establishments against crime and terrorism.
10 I urge all the winners and retailers not to rest on your laurels but remain ever-vigilant against crime, and continue to work in partnership with the National Crime Prevention Council, the Police and community, to make Singapore one of the safest shopping paradises in the region.
11 It is my pleasure to declare the Commercial Premises Security Conference - Retail Security 2004 open.