Published: 02 August 2022
Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) what roles do employers and service buyers play in mitigating the risk of abuse faced by security officers; and (b) whether there are plans to review employers’ and service buyers’ practices to mitigate the risk of abuse of security officers by ensuring that security rules imposed are not unreasonable and through better deployment of technology to minimise in-person interactions with the officers.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the enhanced protection for security officers under the amendments to the Private Security Industry Act are sufficient to deter cases of abuse; and (b) what is the plan to help members of the public internalise anti-abuse messages and treat security officers with more respect.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law:
1. MHA takes a very serious view of abuse of security officers. In October 2021, MHA amended the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) to enhance protection for security officers against abuse and harassment faced in the course of their duties. Penalties are pegged higher than if they were committed against general members of the public, to send a clear deterrent message. The amendments have been in force since 1 May 2022.
2. Beyond legislation, security agencies and service buyers also play a major role in making security officers’ work safer. For example, we are seeing an increasing trend of security officers donning body worn cameras while on duty. This has improved officers’ safety, increased evidence quality in the event of an incident, and reduced complaints and agency liability.
3. We are working with tripartite partners to enhance the competency of security officers in public and conflict management, such as customer orientation, problem solving, and de-escalation skills. We will make this subject more pertinent in the training that all security officers undergo before deployment.
4. MHA would like to commend the industry’s public education efforts to reinforce the message that abuse of security officers is not acceptable. For example, the industry associations and the Union of Security Employees (USE) launched the Anti-Abuse Decal last year for display at deployment sites. They have also been very active on social media spreading awareness, and underlining why our society must stand firm against abuse and harassment of security officers.
5. Security officers are at the frontlines keeping our premises safe and secure, and are often the first responders to any emergency. They deserve our every respect.