“Brilliantly” – according to Mr Robert Lorenz Wiener, Director of security agency Prosegur
, that’s how security officers have performed in carrying out their duties during the COVID-19 outbreak.
A 35-year veteran in the security industry, Mr Wiener brings this same sense of pride, commitment and drive to his efforts as the President of the Association of Certified Security Agencies
Established in 1997, ACSA now has 136 member-agencies and is a vital industry partner in helping to keep Singapore safe and secure. This year, ACSA received the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award (Home Team Partner) in recognition of its efforts on behalf of the security industry. We caught up with Mr Wiener to learn how ACSA has been at the forefront of delivering better security outcomes for Singapore.
How did you first join the security industry?
I originally had a company that provided cleaning and pest control services before starting a security agency, Prosec, in 1992. It was real tough the first year, but we carried on and continued to grow our business. In 2013, we became part of the Prosegur global security group.
Tell us more about ACSA.
ACSA was established in 1997 with eight member-agencies and, over the decades, we’ve played a pivotal role in helping the security industry to evolve. Today, we have 136 member-agencies comprising security agencies, training schools and technology companies.
Through meetings with ACSA member-agencies and engagements on the ground, Mr Wiener is committed to taking the security industry to the next level. PHOTOS: ACSA
As part of the Security Industry Transformation Map, we’ve partnered the Security Association Singapore
(SAS) in overseeing the Security Consultants Accreditation Programme, and have formed the Security Industry Committee which partners SAS and the Union of Security Employees
to drive Security Industry Transformation Map
What’s a priority area of transformation for the industry?
One of the things we’ve done as an industry, led by the Security Industry Transformation Committee, is to promote outcome-based contracting. This requires clients to change from mainly considering manpower when they review their security needs.
Let me give you an example. For one recent condominium contract, we noted that the condominium was deploying a certain number of security officers during the day and at night. We proposed the use of technology as part of the overall security arrangement, and were able to reduce the manpower requirements by 40%. The SOPs for the security officers also changed; their tasks became less mundane and more integrated with the technology on-site.
Our hope is that all tenders for security contracts will be outcome-based within the next three to five years. This means all security deployments include an integrated consideration of how technology can be applied together with manpower.
So the collective vision of the tripartite partners for transformation is a vibrant, technologically advanced and competitive security industry?
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in how security operations are conducted. PHOTOS: Prosegur
Yes; the Government started it, and it is up to the associations and agencies in the industry to keep pushing for this. We have to convince the smaller agencies and also our clients that this is the way forward.
Security officers have played a major role in supporting our national response to COVID-19. How has COVID-19 affected the operations of ACSA member-agencies?
In the early days of COVID-19, one challenge for ACSA was helping our security officers on the ground conduct temperature scanning and other activities safely. We had to ensure our officers were equipped with protective equipment and trained in safety measures. This soon fell into place.
At my firm, we’ve supported our Malaysian officers by helping them maintain their ties with their families through Zoom, raising various allowances and making sure that they have decent accommodations.
Our security officers have performed brilliantly throughout this period to ensure the safety and security of the premises they guard. So I hope people will come up to them and say “thank you,” in the same way that we support our medical staff and other frontline workers.
How has COVID-19 changed the way we conduct security operations?
ACSA member-agencies at the forefront of COVID-19 operations. PHOTOS: ACSA
It will accelerate the use of technology. For example, more and more people understand now that we don’t need security officers standing at access points to take temperatures manually. We can use thermal cameras instead, and these can also assist with screenings through facial recognition technology.
As we adopt new technology, the work that our security officers do will also change. Their level of training and competency will need to be upgraded, and at the end of the day, they will be taking on higher-order roles like making judgments and responding to incidents.
Congratulations to ACSA for receiving the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award (Home Team Partner) this year. How do you feel about receiving the Award?
I feel honoured. We've had many fantastic dialogues with the Ministry of Home Affairs
and the Ministry of Manpower
in the last three years. We meet regularly, together with other industry stakeholders, for open discussions on industry challenges and transformation plans. We’re very blunt sometimes, but it’s all to do with getting the best outcome for the industry.
Security Industry Transformation Map (SITM)
The SITM was launched in 2018 to transform the private security industry into one that is technologically advanced and which delivers better security outcomes and jobs.
Minister for Home Affairs National Day Awards 2020
This year, Home Team National Day honours were given out to officers, volunteers, partners and members of the public in these categories:
• 12 Awards – Home Team Partner (this newly inaugurated honour recognises organisations for their exemplary contributions in partnering the Home Team to keep Singapore safe and secure)
• 105 Awards – Individual
• Three Awards – Team
• 15 Awards – Home Team Volunteer
• 33 Awards – Public Spiritedness
This year’s Home Team National Day Observance Ceremony was held via video conference on 29 July 2020. Read the speech delivered by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law, at the Observance Ceremony
. Congratulations to ACSA and the other Award recipients.
Read: Industry Spotlight: Security Association Singapore