Security Industry Conference 2021 Webinar - Speech by Mr Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment

Published: 03 September 2021

Ms Anita Kuan, Deputy Principal, Temasek Polytechnic


Industry partners


Union representatives


Ladies and gentlemen




1.    Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to this conference and for the opportunity to engage partners from the industry once again. It is very nice to meet all of you friends and partners in this context. I would like to thank the Security Industry Institute (SII) of Temasek Polytechnic for organising the Security Industry Conference annually to allow us to come together to take stock of our progress and also to plan ahead.


2.    Since the onset of COVID-19, we have witnessed the resilience of the security industry in adapting to the demands of the pandemic. Tripartite partners, security agencies and officers have all stepped up to support various COVID-19 related operations and also to look out for one another. Thank you very much for your professionalism and dedication in answering the call of duty.


3.    With COVID-19 remaining in our midst, we must keep our eyes to the future so that we can all emerge stronger together.


Progress of the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM)


4.    Since the launch of the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2018, I am happy to share that all major initiatives across the four ITM pillars have been implemented:


i.    First, push for technology and innovation to transform operating models;

ii.    Alignment of regulatory criteria with ITM objectives to raise standards;

iii.    Investment in skills and support career advancement and wage increases; and

iv.    Wider use of outcome-based contracts, or OBCs, in procurement of security services, with the Government taking the lead.


5.    But, at the heart of these ITM pillars is our security officers’ interests. We have kept consistent focus to uplift security officers’ careers and wages through the ITM. Together with the Progressive Wage Model (PWM), we have seen a cumulative growth of 36% in monthly gross wages in security officers from 2014 to 2019.


6.    The push for technology will continue to raise the professionalism of the workforce and create career advancement opportunities for security officers. Since the ITM’s implementation, 780 employees have benefitted from Workforce Singapore’s (WSG) Security Productivity Initiative, which helped to redesign jobs to incorporate technology and to raise productivity. Companies that need further help in redesigning jobs can leverage WSG’s Productivity Solutions Grant – Job Redesign for consultancy support, and the Job Redesign Reskilling Training Programme for their security officers.


Continued Relevance of the Security ITM

7.    Last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) embarked on an inaugural Security Industry Survey covering more than half the security agencies in the industry, over a thousand security officers, and more than 200 private sector service buyers. The findings are encouraging, and reflect the good progress of the Security ITM. Many of you also took part in this survey, and we thank you for your responses. Let me now share with you some of these findings from the survey. 


8.    First, security agencies have been investing more in technology since the start of ITM. Today, 97% of security agencies use at least one Stage 1 or Stage 2 Industry Digital Plan technological solution such as mobile-enabled patrol and incident management systems as well as wearable security technology, with many considering to tap on the next wave of solutions such as drones and robots.[1]


9.    Two, there is greater focus on training and skills upgrading. 86% of security agencies indicated that they actively plan and send their officers for training and upgrading programmes. More than half of the service buyers surveyed are willing to pay more in contracts for officers who have undergone training that improves their effectiveness at work.


10.   The PWM is a strong motivator for security officers to upgrade themselves. About seven in ten security officers agree that the mandatory courses under the PWM improve their effectiveness at work and are keen to attend training to promote to a higher rank.


11.   These are good results indicative of our collective effort, but there is always still room for improvement. We therefore seek your continued commitment as we press forward on this transformation journey.


12.   The Government will continue to review and refresh the ITM strategies and initiatives in consultation with industry partners. In the near future, our priorities would be to raise industry standards through the new Security Agencies Competency Evaluation or SACE as we know it, and to transform demand for security services through the continued push for wider adoption of OBCs.


Raising Industry Standards – Security Agencies Competency Evaluation (SACE)

13.   On this note, I would like to thank the tripartite taskforce, comprising security industry associations, the Union of Security Employees, and Government agencies for developing SACE, which will replace Security Agencies Grading Exercise from 1 January 2022.


14.   The SACE framework will assess security agencies on how much they harness technology, including wireless communications and electronic incident management systems, to augment critical areas such as training, operations, command, control and communications.


15.   With SACE, service buyers can be assured that security agencies have been assessed to be competent in critical areas. Come 2023, elective competencies will also be introduced to SACE. This will allow service buyers to identify security agencies with the capabilities to meet their specific needs.


16.   The competencies assessed under SACE will be reviewed periodically alongside Security ITM efforts. This will set new standards to guide the industry and to drive transformation efforts.


Transforming Demand for Security Services – Outcome-Based Contracts (OBCs)

17.   We have also actively promoted the adoption of OBCs. When buyers choose to anchor contracts on security outcomes rather than headcount, security agencies would be in a better position to innovate and deliver more productive solutions that integrate manpower, technology and processes.


18.   The Singapore Police Force’s Centre for Protective Security (CPS) has been assisting Government agencies to adopt OBCs for their security contracts. An example would be National Heritage Board’s (NHB) experience in adopting OBCs for security contracts for its museums and conservation centre. NHB observed an improvement in security standards after new technologies such as the Integrated Security Management System was implemented. The system integrates functions such as visitor management, attendance monitoring, patrolling and incident reporting into one single platform, allowing security officers to perform their duties without having to toggle between different systems. Additional deployment of technology, including remote CCTV monitoring and automated alerts, have also enhanced security surveillance of the entire premises and improved response times, on top of manpower and cost savings.


19.   CPS has been reaching out to private sector buyers and security agencies through webinars and focus group discussions to share the benefits of OBCs. An OBC resource portal is currently being developed by CPS to further support the industry.


20.   For a better understanding of OBCs, the SII and SkillsFuture Singapore hold workshops regularly for service buyers and security agencies. SII’s Specialist Diploma in Security Consultancy is also available to those who wish to specialise further and support clients on the appropriate security outcomes needed for contract specifications.


21.   In MHA’s survey with service buyers, about seven in ten buyers who have yet to adopt OBCs plan to do so within the next two years. More would do so when they are more familiar with what these contracts entail. And these are promising responses, and we encourage buyers to take their first step of acquainting yourselves with OBCs through the resources I shared about earlier. 


Caring for the Well-being and Safety of Security Officers


22.   No less important than industry transformation, is the well-being and safety of our security officers. MHA takes a serious view on abusive behaviour towards security officers. And we are amending the Private Security Industry Act to strengthen protection for security officers against abuse. But beyond the sharp edge of the law, there is also a role that all of us can play. And I urge everyone of us to be understanding when security officers carry out their duties. Everyone can contribute to a safer working environment for security officers, and it starts with us as individuals in our society. 




23.   To conclude, I’ve shared with you our immediate priorities for the ITM, which are one, to raise industry standards through SACE, and two, promote wider adoption of OBCs. If these strategies are successful, we will further transform the way security services are delivered, resulting in productivity improvements, better jobs, and better security outcomes. With the industry’s support, we hope to see these advancements in our transformation journey.


I hope today’s conference will inspire all of you to remain committed to the transformation initiatives, so that we can emerge stronger as one security industry. I wish all a fruitful conference ahead. Thank you.

Annex (849kb .pdf)

[1] The Security Industry Digital Plan was jointly developed by the MHA, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the industry, to provide a step-by-step guide on the digital solutions local SMEs in the security industry can adopt at each stage of their growth.