On 29 November 2022, the Police and the National Arts Council (NAC) engaged a group of buskers to explain the considerations for the busking restrictions. During the session, the Police and NAC explained the importance of implementing preventive crowd control measures, including to facilitate crowd flow. The presence of buskers, on the other hand, will cause pedestrians to stop and crowd around an already crowded footpath, further reducing passable space and impeding crowd flow. Given the limited access points in and out of these areas, as well as the unique terrain features, impeded crowd flows will increase the risk of crowd crush or stampede, especially if the crowd becomes agitated or alarmed, and people rush for the exits, whether due to a real emergency or otherwise. Thus, busking activities at selected sites, when crowds are expected to peak, need to be restricted. As announced earlier, busking will not be allowed outside ION Orchard, Wisma Atria, Ngee Ann City A and Ngee Ann City B after 7 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 to 31 December 2022.
Various stakeholders have since agreed to put in more measures for crowd control. During the engagement, the buskers also agreed to work with the authorities to ensure public safety. We appreciate their cooperation. With these measures, NAC and SPF will be able to allow busking to take place at four sites along Orchard Road, namely, The Heeren, 313@Somerset, Knightsbridge, and Mandarin Gallery, except on Christmas Eve.
This is because on Christmas Eve, the Orchard Road area is expected to be extremely crowded as seen in previous years (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). The public spaces at these four sites are expected to be teeming with even more people, and crowd flow is likely to be even more constricted. As it is, even without busking, the Police are very concerned about the situation there on Christmas Eve, and are working with the stakeholders on various measures.
For the safety of the public and the buskers, busking at five sites along Marina Bay Waterfront Promenade and Mist Walk will be restricted from 7pm onwards on 31 December 2022. With the return of the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown (MBSC) this year, which includes fireworks, much larger crowds are expected around the Marina Bay on New Year’s Eve. As part of crowd management measures, open spaces will be closed when the crowds reach a certain level, to prevent an overcrowding situation. This was similarly done at past MBSCs, when there were large crowds. The restrictions were also imposed at these sites during the National Day Parade 2022. Busking can continue without restrictions at other sites such as Empress Place and Esplanade Park.
Amidst the festive celebrations, public safety should not be taken for granted. Appropriate crowd control measures need to be put in place, and we seek the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders participating in, or involved in the organisation of, the year-end festivities.
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
29 November 2022 @ 6:30 PM