Launch of the Smart Clubbing Campaign 2023 – Speech by Ms Sun Xueling, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Social and Family Development

Published: 19 January 2023

Ladies and Gentlemen

1.   It is my pleasure to join you this evening for the third edition of the Smart Clubbing Campaign. After a three-year break due to the pandemic, this event aims to remind everyone that club patrons and the nightlife industry have a shared role in ensuring a safe clubbing experience for everyone.

2.   The past two years have been an extremely challenging time for the nightlife industry. As the industry emerges from the shadows of the pandemic, vibrancy restored, we should not forget that patrons and nightlife industry operator all have a role to play. By working hand in hand with the Police, we can achieve a safe and secure nightlife scene.

3.   The Police have consolidated some best practices which public entertainment outlets can adopt, and have released a best practice checklist comprising eight measures that everyone can tap on for the industry’s collective experience.

4.   I am pleased to announce that the Police have already engaged a hundred outlets since the checklist was introduced in June 2022. These measures are simple and cost-effective to put in place.

5.   From this checklist, I wish to highlight two measures which can help to address and de-escalate dangerous situations from happening. 

6.   First, staff at the club play a very important role. They can be further trained to keep themselves and patrons safe from outrage of modesty, to identify suspicious patrons, and to detect illicit items like weapons and drugs during pre-entry checks. 

7.   There is a need to remain vigilant and not take safety for granted. In November 2022, an armed 22-year-old gunman entered a nightclub in Colorado, USA, and fired at the patrons. He killed five people and injured 25 others, before being subdued. While Singapore might be safe from gun violence, a patron armed with other offensive weapons can inflict a lot of harm. We have seen incidents of suspects with knives or swords in the heartlands. Can you imagine if they were to bring such items into a crowded public entertainment outlet? What if they were to bring such offensive weapons into a crowded club, a club like Marquee, which I understand has a very vibrant scene at night and can accommodate up to 1,900 patrons. Hence, pre-entry checks can play a big role in preventing such threats and such incidents from happening. 

8.   Second, we know that many patrons come to clubs to drink, some might have one drink too many and they find themselves drunk by the end of the night. Intoxicated patrons may sometimes put themselves and others in dangerous situations, especially when they find themselves involved in fights, assaults, or cases of outrage of modesty.

9.   Outlets should develop procedures to manage such patrons. For example, outlets can assist by refusing service to intoxicated patrons, ensuring that their accompanying friends look after them, and helping them call for transport. Some clubs even provide a care room or corner for patrons to sober up, so they will not become victims or perpetrators of crime. 

10.   Everyone has a shared responsibility and interest to keep our public entertainment landscape vibrant and safe.

11.   To conclude, the authorities, the industry, and patrons all have a part to play to ensure that our clubgoers can have fun safely during their nights out. I encourage patrons to drink responsibly, and for outlets to continue their collaborative efforts with the Police. I hope that in time, best practices can be adopted by all public entertainment outlets, to keep the nightlife safe and secure for everyone.