Published: 14 January 2019
Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what is the progress of efforts to uplift the private security industry, in terms of its capacity to complement law enforcement and the career prospects for private security personnel; (b) what are main challenges in uplifting the private security industry; and (c) how does the Government intend to enforce the enhanced regime in the Private Security Industry (Conduct) Regulations effective January 2019, taking into account the diverse profile of security personnel currently in the industry.
1. The private security industry is an important partner in our efforts to keep Singapore safe and secure. To uplift the industry, the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) was launched in February 2018. The ITM aims to shift the industry away from its current manpower-intensive service model, to one that integrates skilled manpower and technology to deliver higher quality security services. We want to achieve outcomes of high performing security agencies, more meaningful and better-paying jobs for security officers, and also better security for Singapore.
2. We are making good progress. On the demand side, to encourage buyers to adopt outcome-based contracts which integrate manpower and technology, we have launched a tailored guide for the industry, as well as a training course for procurement officers. The Government will take the lead, with all government agencies adopting outcome-based security contracts progressively from the middle of this year. This is significant, as government contracts amount to over $350 million per year, which is about one-fifth of industry demand.
3. On the technology front, the Infocomm Media and Development Authority (IMDA) and MHA launched the Security Industry Digital Plan in July 2018 to provide security agencies a step-by-step guide on adopting digital technology. Funding is available for security SMEs to adopt pre-approved digital solutions under the Productivity Solutions Grant.
4. To uplift security officers and improve the attractiveness of the industry, the Progressive Wage Model (PWM) for the industry was enhanced in November 2018, to place stronger emphasis on skills and competencies. The exemption given to the security industry, which allows them to exceed the Ministry of Manpower’s statutory limit on overtime, will be removed from January 2021, so that officers will no longer work excessive hours. PWM wages will increase by at least 3% per year till 2024. To open new opportunities to experienced officers, a new Specialist Diploma in Security Consultancy by Temasek Polytechnic will commence in April this year.
5. MHA has also reviewed our regulations to support the security ITM. For security agencies, the annual Security Agencies Grading Exercise was reviewed in 2018 to give greater weight to technology adoption and training.
6. Security officers too, have an important part to play in the industry’s transformation. As part of efforts to enhance the professionalism of the industry, MHA has made certain Code of Conduct breaches that pose a risk to public safety and security compoundable offences under the Private Security Industry Regulations. Our aim is not a punitive regime, but to deter and take targeted action to address unprofessional behaviour such as sleeping or consuming alcohol on the job, as this may lead to security lapses.
7. First time offenders will generally be given warnings, as has been the practice previously. However, the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD) now has the flexibility to impose a composition fine if a security officer repeatedly or egregiously breaches the Code of Conduct, whereas previously it only had the more severe options of suspending or revoking his licence. Only in the most severe or recalcitrant cases, would penalties such as licence suspension or revocation, and prosecution be considered.