Security Industry Conference 2019 - Speech by Ms Sun Xueling, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development

Published: 02 October 2019

Mr Edward Liu


Group Managing Director


Conference & Exhibition Management Services


Ms Anita Kuan 


Deputy Principal, Temasek Polytechnic


Ladies and Gentlemen 


1. Good morning. I am pleased to join you this morning.  


2. The annual Security Industry Conference is a key event for security professionals to get together and keep abreast with the latest developments in the security industry. 


A. Introduction 


3. We are all familiar with the challenges facing the security industry. Demand for security services in Singapore is rising, due to the need for enhanced security measures amidst heightened security threats, and as we continue to develop new buildings and infrastructure.

4. However, the security industry is struggling to meet this demand. Current operating models are mainly reliant on manpower for service delivery. Agencies find it difficult to fill vacancies amidst slowing workforce growth and competition for workers from other industries. We have a rapidly ageing workforce. More than half of our current pool of security officers are above the age of 55. In addition, the overtime exemption granted to the industry will be removed by 2021, creating even greater pressures on the supply of manpower.     


5. We need to urgently transform the way security services is provided as this over-reliance on manpower is not sustainable. Technology offers us an opportunity to do so. When technology is integrated with manpower to provide a security solution, security agencies can move away from a purely manpower reliant model while achieving same or better security outcomes, at potentially lower cost. Such technologies are already available in the market.  


6. The move towards a more technologically savvy security industry, as well as having buyers that are open to the use of technology, are key aims of the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) last year. That is why the theme for this year’s conference – Total Security: Integrating Manpower, Technology and Infrastructure – is well chosen and timely.


B. Creating Integrated Solutions 


7. Today, I want to talk about how we can create integrated security solutions. How do we help security agencies provide integrated security solutions?  


8. First, we need to make sure we have the right technology and skilled security officers ready to work with the technology. We have made good progress on these two fronts under the Security ITM.  


9. On the technology front, the Government has made funding available under Enterprise Singapore’s Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG), to help local SMEs adopt pre-approved digital solutions curated by IMDA. Local SMEs who tapped on PSG can also qualify for the SkillsFuture Training Subsidy to upskill their workers.  


10. For security officers, the Skills Framework for Security provides key information on trends, career pathways, skills and competencies, as well as training programmes in the security sector. SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) has collaborated with training providers, industry partners and other government agencies to provide a range of training courses to equip security officers with the necessary digital skills.


11. SSG is also working with industry stakeholders to pilot and promote the use of innovative learning solutions. For example, SSG is supporting a joint effort by Temasek Polytechnic’s Security Industry Institute (SII) and Certis to use Augmented Reality, or AR, in training security officers to handle and respond to security incidents. In this partnership, SII and Certis are developing an AR app that will be used for ‘Security Incidents’ Scenario-based learning.  


12. But having the right technology and skilled security officers is not enough. These are constituent parts, or building blocks, of an integrated security solution. Just like how cement binds together different materials in construction, we need similar binders to bring together technology and skilled security officers to create an integrated security solution. In my view, there are three necessary “binders”:

a. First, Pervasive adoption of Outcome-Based Security Contracts 

b. Second, Common standards for Security Technology 

c. Third, Capable and competent Security Consultants 

Allow me to cover each area in turn.


C.     Pervasive Adoption of Outcome-Based Security Contracts 


13. The first “binder” necessary to create an integrated security solution is pervasive adoption of Outcome-Based Security Contracts.  


14. We are all familiar with this term “Outcome-Based Contracts”. It is one where we specify security contracts by the outcomes we hope to achieve, rather than simply stating number of security officers required, which is the norm today. 


15. Outcome-Based Contracts are an extremely important component of the “binder” between technology and manpower because it influences the type of security solution that is delivered. When contracts start by stipulating the outcome and not merely specifying a certain number of security officers, security agencies are free to think of how technology can be used to augment manpower, and start providing integrated security solutions. In other words, Outcome-Based Contracts serves as the catalyst that facilitates the integration of technology and manpower.  


16. The Government has announced that we intend to take the lead in the adoption of Outcome-Based Contracts. MHA has worked with the Ministry of Finance to implement this. From 1 May 2020, all government agencies will be required to adopt Outcome-Based Contracts for all new security contracts. Several government agencies are already intending to launch Outcome-Based Contracts before then. We hope this will create sufficient momentum for the industry to work towards the adoption of Outcome-Based Contracts.  


17. Private service buyers may also be keen to adopt Outcome-Based Contracts, but as with all transformation efforts, they may be wary of the uncertainties and the initial effort involved. To help support this change, I am pleased to announce the pilot run of the Tech-Enabled Outcome-Based Contract Programme with selected Service Buyers. This will be a joint effort between IMDA, NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and the Centre for Protective Security (CPS). IMDA will provide support in tech gap analysis and identifying the technology solutions to improve productivity and security effectiveness. e2i will provide advice on how jobs can be redesigned for local workers under Outcome-Based Contracts, as well as the funding to implement the technology solutions. IMDA will also work with e2i and CPS to identify the participants on the pilot. More details will be announced by IMDA soon. 


18. Beyond the pilot, CPS and IMDA will work with industry associations and the labour movement to conduct targeted outreach efforts. CPS also works with Temasek Polytechnic’s Security Industry Institute (SII) to conduct Outcome-Based Contracts workshops supported by SSG every two months to train procurement officers and security agencies. I urge service buyers to attend these workshops, to familiarise yourself with the key elements of Outcome-Based Contracts and come onboard the programme. For security agencies, we need your help to continue and push out the message that Outcome-Based Contracts is a better and more sustainable way to contract for security services. 

D.  Common Standards for Security Technology 


19. The second “binder” is to develop common standards for security technology. As we move towards integrated security solutions, it becomes more important that the technologies used have clear performance and inter-operability standards. The standards will serve as a common language between service buyers, security agencies and tech vendors to assure users of the quality and reliability of the tech solutions, and that different tech solutions can talk to one another. This is especially so when there are many tech vendors with different specifications. In short, common standards increase trusts in the technology and the willingness to integrate them into security solutions.  


20. One security technology that we foresee will be deployed commonly in integrated security solutions is video analytics. I am pleased to announce that the Security Association Singapore (SAS) and the Security Systems Association of Singapore (SSAS), with support from IMDA and Enterprise Singapore, have developed a Technical Reference for Video Analytics systems. This Technical Reference spells out standards and requirements on the selection, installation, operation, maintenance and data interoperability of video analytics system. It was developed over the past year in consultation with industry members, including security agencies, technology vendors and government agencies. Buyers can refer to this Technical Reference to ensure the video analytics systems’ reliability and quality when making a purchase. SAS and SSAS will work with industry partners to drive the adoption of the Technical Reference. The industry will also continue to engage its members to see what other standards for security technology will be useful.


E. Capable and Competent Security Consultants 


21. The third “binder” is capable and competent security consultants. 


22. Why are security consultants important in the implementation of integrated security solutions? Often, even if a security agency or service buyer wants to implement integrated security solutions, they may not have the expertise to know what kind of solution they need, or how to deploy the solution. Security consultants help fill this gap in knowledge. They carry out risk assessment to identify what needs to be protected and how best to provide this protection. Security consultants are the ones with the expertise to develop and implement a security plan that incorporates the right technology to augment manpower, based on the needs of the premise.  


23. In addition to the existing pool of security consultants (about 100 of them), we hope to have more than 250 recognised security consultants by 2021. CPS has partnered SII to launch a new Specialist Diploma in Security Consultancy in April 2019, with an inaugural intake of 40 security professionals. This one-year, part-time programme funded by SSG provides a new pathway for security officers or mid-career entrants to pursue careers in the security industry as security consultants. I am heartened to hear that the response for this programme has been overwhelming.  


24. Beyond growing the pool of security consultants, it is just as important to ensure that security consultants have the minimum level of skill and competency. I am pleased to announce that MHA, the Association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA) and the Security Association Singapore (SAS) will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) later to develop an industry-led accreditation framework for security consultants. The framework will allow the industry to recognise consultants with the requisite qualifications and experience. This will ensure a consistent standard amongst security consultants and provide customers assurance about the quality and competency of the consultants they engage. There will also be a component requiring continuous professional development to ensure accredited security consultants’ competencies are up-to-date and current, as well as a Code of Ethics to guide the way they interact with clients. MHA, ACSA and SAS are working out the detail of the framework and we hope to implement it by next year.  


F. Conclusion 


25. Before I conclude, I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the winners of the Merlion Award today. Your excellence in innovation helps us move one step closer towards a security industry where integrated security solutions are the norm.  


26. I have shared with you my thoughts on how we can go about implementing integrated security solutions. If successful, we will fundamentally transform the way security services are delivered, resulting in productivity improvements, better jobs for workers, and better security outcomes. We have already seen productivity improvements of between 15% to 30% and the deployment of higher skilled security staff for existing projects that have successfully implemented integrated security solutions.  


27. Over the next two days at this conference, you will have the opportunity to hear and discuss more about how we can go about implementing integrated security solutions and choosing the right technology. I hope this conference will inspire you to take action to transform your existing operating models, so that we can overcome the economic and manpower challenges in the coming years. I wish you all a fruitful and enriching conference ahead. Thank you.


Security Industry