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Powered Up and Breaking New Ground

Meet two women who are helping to redefine the private security industry.
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

Since the launch of the Security Industry Transformation Map (SITM) in 2018, Singapore’s private security industry has broken new ground. As more security agencies embrace technology and innovation, productivity and job opportunities have been enhanced. We caught up with two women who are part of this transformative process. 

Lorraine Lim, Director, Force-One Security 

What does it take for a family-owned security agency to embrace technology, pursue innovation and boost learning and employment opportunities for its officers? Lorraine Lim of Force-One Security shows us the way.  

As second-generation managers of their security agency, Lorraine Lim (second from left) and her sister Zi Qi (left) are charting a new course for their company and the security industry at large. PHOTOS: Force-One Security

How did you first join the private security industry?
I was a Regional Manager in the telecommunications industry before I decided to take over our family business in 2008. I now manage Force-One together with my sister, Zi Qi.

What challenges did you face when you first joined the industry?
As second-generation managers, our goal was to transform our business model from one that was manpower-intensive and largely focused on static guarding to one that’s more efficient and which uses security technologies.

We had no choice but to embrace technology to seize new opportunities. Now, in addition to providing traditionally manpower-intensive security and emergency response services, we also offer 24/7 CCTV surveillance and remote monitoring services; guard tour clocking systems; and audit and consultancy services.

At the same time, we also understand the needs of our security officers. As a result of our evolution, we’ve been able to offer more upskilling opportunities to our team via continuous training.

What are some of the tech capabilities you’ve introduced over the years? 
One is the visitor management system that we use for industrial buildings, residential blocks and other facilities. This increases security outcomes by streamlining the registration and tracking of visitors and vehicles. 

On the ground, our security officers also use body cameras, digital patrolling tools and personal mobility vehicles to improve work efficiency. CCTV analytics adoption has also assisted our staff in the early detection of incidents. Cloud-based data can then be accessed remotely, safely and quickly for use by both our customers and at our 24-hr Force-One command centre.

Tell us about your work as Deputy President of the Security Association Singapore (SAS).
To collectively move the industry forward, we need to constantly broaden our vision of how we can transform ourselves and encourage others along. SAS has about 160 security agencies and individual security professionals as members. We work with our members and associate partners to raise standards, evolve industry norms and increase opportunities for the private security industry, in Singapore and beyond.

In line with the SITM, one initiative we've been involved in is the push for outcome-based security contracts that focuses on security outcomes for clients, through a stringent job scoping and performance measurement process. This effectively moves us away from traditional, manpower-based contracts. The Government has taken the lead in this by committing to adopt outcome-based security contracts by May 2020.

Another initiative that we've been involved in is the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for security officers. Those who upgrade their skills with the relevant WSQ certifications and have matching ground experience can receive higher salaries as they move up the PWM promotions career track.

What’s your advice for people considering a career in the private security industry?
We’re on the frontline every day and make a big contribution to keeping Singapore safe. There’s also strong industry support amongst security agencies and rapport amongst security officers. If you have tenacity, resilience and enjoy being part of an exciting team, do join us!

Emma Hon Wendy, Security Consultant, Horus I
Rigorous training as a Security Command (SecCom) officer with the Singapore Police Force (SPF) has prepared Emma Hon Wendy for an exciting new career in the private security industry. With her unique skill-set and never-say-die attitude, she’s breaking new ground in her chosen profession.

PHOTO: Fazlee Rosli

Why did you become a Police officer? 
It goes back to when I was 15 years old. My brother’s bicycle got stolen and I wanted to find out who’d taken it. I checked with people in the neighbourhood and managed to find the bicycle and the 13-year-old thief. I hauled him to the Neighbourhood Police Post. 

That’s why I decided to join SPF – to protect others from crime.  

As fate would have it, this same officer who handled the case of the stolen bicycle then became my supervisor and mentor! We had a good laugh about how we’d met almost 10 years before. And the last case that we worked on together involved a stolen bicycle!  

Take us through your SPF career. 
I joined SPF in 2007. After completing my training, I was attached to Airport Police Division, where I had the chance to work with different public agencies. Having taken part in several operations that involved security deployments, I was offered the opportunity to join the SecCom team. 

I was one of two women officers in my cohort. SecCom is tasked with protecting our political office holders, among others, and the training is very intensive. But I love to challenge myself and not for a second did I consider giving up. 

Why did you decide to join the private security industry? 
I decided to leave SPF in 2018 as I wanted to learn other skills and be exposed to different areas of security work. I’m now a Security Consultant with Horus I, an agency that offers specialised services in event security, premises protection, security management, security audits, risk assessments and protective security. 

What does your role at Horus I involve? 
I wear different hats and can be involved in core security consultancy duties as well as recruitment, training and logistics. It depends on the assignment; if we’re providing security services for a public event, I may manage and plan deployments for a team of up to 40 people. If an assignment involves the protection of high-net-worth individuals, we’ll work in smaller teams. 

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your work, and how did you overcome them? 
In this line, there’ll always be things we can’t control, and we have to expect the unexpected. Danger is constant; the threat is very real. We have to make the right decisions in a split second. 

For one overseas assignment, I was with a client who was island-hopping in a yacht. Suddenly, the boatman mentioned that the island we were sailing to might have some adverse conditions – wind, the currents and maybe even jellyfish in the water. 

I thought quickly. I wasn’t familiar with the area, so I told the boatman straight – find me another island. And he did. 

Share one detail about your work that we’d be surprised to know. 
It’s our mission to protect, and that means we have to consider all options on the ground. Thinking clearly is just as important as having the right skills.

Things can also change quickly during an assignment and we have to expect the unexpected. That’s one reason I have about 10 different outfits in my car. If I need to attend a gala dinner in five minutes, or lead a vehicle convoy, I’ll be ready. 

You mentioned you want to learn other skills in the security line. Why is it important for you to keep upskilling? 
We need to keep learning, to stay relevant and keep abreast of the latest threats, ways and methods in the security line. We must know what the situation is globally and regionally, and understand the situation on the ground, in order to conduct a proper risk analysis and threat assessment. 

What do you love about your work? 
It’s a calling. I love to protect people. When I was an officer at Airport Police Division, I helped to keep our people and our key installations safe and secure. As a SecCom officer, I protected those who serve Singapore. Now, I’m applying the same skills in the private sector. It’s always been a part of me to protect others. 

What advice do you have for people who are considering a career in the private security industry?
Things are changing rapidly in the private security industry and, as I see it, past stereotypes about it don’t apply anymore. You should know what you aspire to do in the industry, and what you’re currently able to do, and work hard to raise your skills.

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. 

Since the launch of SITM, technology and innovation have enhanced the way security functions are performed, while productivity has improved through efforts to implement the progressive wage model and investments in skills training. More stakeholders are also coming on board for outcome-based security contracts. 

The Security Agencies Grading Exercise (SAGE) – a mandatory assessment of security agencies conducted annually by SPF and the Ministry of Manpower – is an important tool in this transformation effort. Click here to read about enhancements to SAGE and protection for private security officers that were announced on 27 March 2020.

Written by

Mike Tan


27 March 2020

Security Industry
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