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Bar top dancing allowed from today

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has accepted the recommendations proposed by the Advisory Panel for Licensing (APL) in March this year.

SPF agrees with the main thrust of APL's recommendations that public entertainment licensing should aim at facilitating legitimate business activities and allow owners, operators and patrons to assume more responsibility over the activities at these outlets.

All existing licensing conditions were reviewed and only those necessary to maintain law and order, ensure public safety, uphold public decency and protect the environment are retained.

To help licensees and the general public better understand the rationale behind each specific licensing condition, all conditions will be regrouped into five categories, namely administrative, law and order, public safety, public decency and environmental concerns. The Police are now working towards legislative changes to implement the accepted recommendations by this year.

The key changes to the licensing conditions include:

Patrons dancing on premises
Currently, a licensee has to apply to the Police for permission to have dancing on his premises. With the change, the licensee can decide for himself whether he wants to allow dancing on his premises. However, should the licensee choose to allow dancing on his premises, he cannot admit any person under 16 years of age.

Where patrons may dance
Currently, the licensing condition stipulates that dancing may only be allowed in designated areas permitted by the Police. With the change, the licensee can decide where he allows his patrons to dance. This means that he can decide to let his patrons dance on a bar top if he wishes. The responsibility of ensuring the safety of persons dancing on his premises would lie with the licensee.

24-hour licensing in some areas
Police will allow 24-hour licensing (for both public entertainment and liqour) in areas which are deemed suitable.

STB endorsed entertainers to mingle with patrons
Currently, performers are prohibited from mingling with patrons. This is to ensure that vice activities do not find their way into our entertainment outlets. With the change, performers endorsed by the Singapore Tourism Board will be allowed to mingle freely with patrons.

Increasing the penalty for overcrowding
In 2001, 12 licensees were taken to task for allowing overcrowding at their entertainment outlets. The number of such errant licensees jumped to 22 last year. They were each allowed to compound the offence with $500 and 3 demerit points. To emphasise the message that overcrowding is a very dangerous matter, the composition amount will be doubled to $1,000 with 6 demerit points. Repeat offenders may also be charged in court.

Senior Assistant Commissioner Soh Wai Wah, Director Operations, said, "It is not possible to do away with all rules and regulations, but we believe that SPF's approach will offer entertainment outlets greater flexibility in the manner in which they provide entertainment for their customers. This will also allow outlet owners to exercise more ownership and responsibility over their customers' safety. SPF will continue to work in partnership with the APL, the Singapore Tourism Board, entertainment outlet operators and other stakeholders to make Singapore a vibrant city of entertainment without compromising the safety and security of the community."

Source: Singapore Police Force Press Release 8 Jul 2003



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1 August 2003

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