“Aiya, always kena one la! Normal, don’t worry!” This was the cheery reply of a security officer whom I once witnessed being verbally abused by a tenant. The way he brushed it off as “normal” was really disturbing. This was just one case. Could you imagine the many other cases which were never highlighted simply because our security officers “didn’t want trouble”? The thing is, why on earth should they deserve this when they are merely doing their job? Let this be clear: regardless of one’s occupation, no one deserves any form of abuse when carrying out their duties.
Survey of 1,002 security officers reveals that 40% faced abuse during their course of work
In a joint survey conducted by Union of Security Employees (USE) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences between September to November 2020, 40% of the 1,002 SOs surveyed had faced some form of abuse during their course of work. As reported in March 2021, this marked a 10% increase compared to an earlier survey conducted just months prior, between January and February 2020.
In a collective effort to remind members of the public to treat SOs with respect, the union and associations representing the security industry has found it timely to launch a refreshed anti-abuse decal for SOs with the support of the Ministry of Home Affairs!
Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, unveiled the refreshed decal design at AMK Hub on 9th July.
The decal will be displayed at SO’s worksites and is a joint initiative by the Union of Security Employees, Security Association Singapore, and Association of Certified Security Agencies. This aims to raise awareness and seek the public’s understanding of the work that security officers carry out to keep us safe and secure. Kudos to the agencies for taking care of the welfare of our security officers!
“Abusive behaviour towards SOs should never be tolerated. This decal will serve to strengthen public awareness of the need to contribute to a safer environment for all SOs to carry out their duties. To complement industry-led efforts, MHA will also be amending the Private Security Industry Act later this year to send a clear signal against abuse and harassment of SOs. ” Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State for Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment
Merely a watchman? Our Security Officers have evolved over the years!
“Aren’t security officers just watchmen?” one may ask. No! Many may not know that security officers today are better trained in work processes and technology, allowing them to perform their role more effectively.
With stronger skillsets, their wages have also improved. The security PWM that was introduced in 2016 has benefitted about 40,000 security officers to date. These officers saw their wages increase by 29% since it started in 2015, to 2019, growing at a faster rate than the average resident worker.
Beyond wages, security officers’ welfare is also being progressively improved. From the beginning of this year, security officers enjoyed two more rest days a month with the removal of the Overtime Exemption (OTE) provision in the industry. To curb issues like excessive overtime hours that burns out security officers, security companies have to now stick to a maximum of 72 hours of overtime per month.
Security Officers who face abuse can seek assistance from USE’s Mediation Service. The service has assisted close to 800 SOs to resolve employment-related disputes, instances of abuse, or work-related grievances since 2018! Security officers will also soon be able to report work-related grievances to USE’s Mediation Service through a mobile app to be launched in Q4 this year.
As a society, we can all do more to recognise our security officers in our day-to-day interactions with them. A national effort is required if we truly want to uplift our essential workers!