Authorities remain committed to maintaining law and order in Geylang, and will take additional measures where necessary, said Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran.

Second Home Affairs Minister S Iswaran gave this assurance on Monday, as he responded to a parliamentary question from the area's Member of Parliament Fatimah Lateef, who wanted an update on the management of disamenities caused by vice activities.

Measures undertaken by the police include increasing manpower.

The Geylang Neighbourhood Police Centre has about 160 officers - 60 per cent more than staffing in other centres.

Special Operations Command (SOC) troops are also deployed in the area on a regular basis.

CCTVs and street lights were added to the back alleys and side lanes to deter streetwalking and other illegal activities.

Mr Iswaran said police will add 160 more CCTV cameras around the area.

The various measures have resulted in some illegal activities being contained.

Mr Iswaran said the number of major offences in Geylang has fallen by 36 per cent since 2008.

Geylang was in the spotlight recently when Police Commissioner Ng Joo Hee said Geylang poses "a clear and present danger to public order", more so than Little India. He was speaking at the Committee of Inquiry into the riot.

Mr Iswaran said the comment should be taken in context.

The commissioner was sharing police tactics and challenges they face across Singapore with the COI, and he had highlighted Geylang as an example.

He said the situation in Geylang does pose specific challenges to the police and authorities recognise this.

Mr Iswaran said that is why there have been specific additional measures in place.

He added Commissioner Ng’s comment was also about police having to continually evaluate different operational needs on the ground to allocate resources.

Dr Fatimah had asked: "Would it not be better if we can actually solve the root cause of the problem? Then the manpower can be diverted to other more important issues in Singapore, at the national level?"

Mr Iswaran replied: "I'm not sure what (Dr Fatimah) means by the root cause of the problem and indeed whether it can be eradicated.

“But if she means by that, removing it from the Geylang area, whilst it may solve her problem, it would become somebody else's problem and certainly for the police and for the Ministry of Home Affairs, it would remain a pressing problem."

- CNA/ac/xq