GRAPHIC AND PHOTOS: Arvind Chan
Beneath his happy and chatty demeanour, SAS President’s Medal for Professionalism winner SSO Mazzlan Bin Naaim from Horus I (Private Limited) is the calm and collected security supervisor. Find out how he remains good-natured even when dealing with difficult people.
Why did you decide to join the security industry after serving National Service?
I enjoyed my National Service stint at Traffic Police and received a Commander’s Award for my good service in the Investigation Violation Report Department. Since I have a passion for law and order and I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, I wanted to pursue my passion and put the skills I learnt from the Police Force to good use somewhere. Thus, I became a security officer.
You supervise the security operations of a few high-end boutiques in Orchard Road. How does a typical day look like for you?
I have close to 40 security officers deployed at various boutiques. Most of the time, I will be roving between the boutiques, ensuring everyone is at their deployed locations, checking whether there are any incidents at the boutiques that need my assistance, de-escalating any situations involving difficult customers and so on. So, my work largely revolves around handling interpersonal relations.
It can get rather hectic. There will be challenges every day. We need to expect the unexpected and make split-second decisions to handle the situation.
What skills and behaviours are needed to be a good and professional security officer?
Once alerted by a colleague or a boutique manager, SSO Mazzlan will quickly head over to the location to provide assistance. After the incident, he will use his company’s mobile app to record the key details in the incident management system.
I have learnt during my 10 years in the security industry and from my Traffic Police days that communication is very important.
It is important to communicate in a calm and professional manner with different people. Listening is also essential, so that I can understand what the other party is trying to convey.
As we work in a retail environment, we also need to have customer service skills and be able to adapt our standard operating procedures to individual boutique’s requirements. We also need to have teamwork among fellow senior security officers and work towards the same objective of protecting the premises we are working at.
Most importantly, we need to have the passion for keeping the people and the place safe.
Have you felt unsafe while at work?
In the course of our work, we do encounter boutique customers who may get impatient or frustrated. They may get angry at security officers, who are often the first to respond to the situation.
There was an incident that occurred a few months after I took on the supervisory role. Border restrictions were just beginning to ease after the COVID-19 lockdown period, and my team was in charge of ensuring safe distancing measures inside the boutiques were adhered to. That day, one of the boutiques was at full capacity, so my colleague requested for an incoming customer, a big burly tourist, to queue up to enter the boutique. The customer was unhappy and behaved aggressively towards my colleague. Since I was at the boutique then, I approached the customer to try to de-escalate the situation.
Before taking over an incident from his colleague, SSO Mazzlan listens attentively to understand the situation.
The customer kept shouting at me and verbally abused me. I tried to put myself in his shoes and tried to understand his feelings. I also persuaded him to calm down, but he continued to be confrontational and aggressive. I thought he was about to punch me.
I kept a distance while calmly informing him that I will request the boutique manager to attend to him as soon as he was done serving his existing client. But the customer became angry again. Finally, after a third attempt at de-escalating the situation, I managed to cool him down.
Later, after the customer exited the boutique, he apologised for shouting at me even though I was trying to assist him. He shared that he did not understand the rules that were in place at that point in time. I replied that I understood, and that I had no hard feelings towards him. Through this and other experiences over the years, I learnt that people may get angry because they may not fully understand our rules or guidelines. Therefore, our job is to help them understand why they need to follow these rules.
Although we face some harassment at work, I try not to let it affect me. After all, scolding me does not kill me. (laughs)
Have you noticed any differences in the public’s attitude towards Security Officers since legislative changes that enhance protection for Security Officers kicked in on 1 May 2022?
There is! It’s a very good development that I’m grateful for. I noticed that people are more understanding and generally nice to us. They know that such abuses should not be happening. They respect us and respect the job.
However, some people still view a security officer’s job as a “downgraded” job. I think security officers should be proud of this job which protects people. It is a job with many prospects. Security officers now have clearer insights into the various career paths, along with training opportunities they can pursue in this industry, as part of the initiatives under the Security Industry Transformation Map. I have looked through the different opportunities and pathways and set my sights on the specific path I want to pursue to upgrade myself.
Read Part 1
Security Officers’ Day Awards
An initiative by the Security Association Singapore (SAS)
, Security Officers’ Day Awards is presented annually, in conjunction with Security Officers’ Day which falls on 24 July. The awards recognise individual security officers for their outstanding performance and service to Singapore and in the security industry. This year, six officers received the Security Officer of the Year award, and another six officers received the SAS President’s Medal for Professionalism.
Security Industry Transformation Map
The Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) is a collaborative effort with industry associations, companies, unions, service buyers, security agencies and Government agencies led by the Ministry of Home Affairs to transform the industry to deliver better security outcomes. Click here
to read more.