Published: 16 November 2022
Mr Peter Lam, CEO & Principal, Temasek Polytechnic
Mr Edward Liu, Managing Director, Conference & Exhibition Management Services
Ladies and gentlemen
1. Good afternoon. I am very delighted to see everyone here today at our first in-person Security Industry Conference since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. I would like to start off by acknowledging the Security Industry Institute of Temasek Polytechnic and the Conference & Exhibition Management Services for organising this conference. This exhibition and conference gives us the opportunity to make new friends, take stock of how far the industry has come, and put our minds together on how we want to bring the industry forward.
3. The conference theme “Revolutionising the Security Industry: Sustainability & Efficiency” is timely and apt as we refresh the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for the next three years. The security industry is a critical sector, and a key partner of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in keeping Singapore safe and secure. Security officers play an essential role as they are at the forefront of the safety and security of the premises that they are deployed in. They are often the first responders to any emergency.
4. Today, we have over 50,000 active security officers in the workforce. The average age of these officers is 54 years. The reality is that challenges such as the ageing population and slower workforce growth will remain, while the demand for security services will continue to be strong. How then do we ensure the security industry is equipped to address these challenges? We have to change the way we operate, to be even more productive and less manpower-intensive while still meeting the required security outcomes.
5. Since the launch of the Security ITM in 2018, we have made good progress thanks to the close relationship between MHA and our tripartite partners. This partnership helped us hear honest ground feedback, which helped in the implementation and finetuning of initiatives over the years. It is again with our partners’ support that we are able to refresh the Security ITM so that it remains meaningful and relevant, to the agencies, officers, and buyers. So allow me to record my thanks to each and everyone of you, and may we continue this strong partnership.
Progress of the Security ITM
6. COVID-19 has brought with it many challenges. But I’m proud that the security industry has transformed rapidly. The transformation efforts did not let up during this period, and we continued to push the Security ITM forward during the pandemic with a focus on raising industry standards and ensuring the welfare of our security officers.
7. The new Security Agencies Competency Evaluation (SACE) was implemented as a licensing criterion from January 2022 to ensure security agencies continue to invest in training and technology. From July 2022, security agencies nearing their licence expiry can also choose to be evaluated for elective competencies to showcase their capabilities beyond the requirements in core areas. If successful, they will enjoy a longer licence validity of two years instead of one.
8. And as we transform the industry, we have continued to look out for our security officers. In November 2021, the Government accepted the Security Tripartite Cluster’s recommendations for a six-year schedule of sustained baseline Progressive Wage Model wage increases for the security industry. More than 43,000 security officers will benefit. The monthly gross wage of an entry-level security officer is expected to increase by more than 50% from 2022 to 2028.
9. Further, the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) was amended to introduce new offences addressing common types of harassment and abuse faced by security officers in the course of their duties. These were recently operationalised from May 2022. We hope that this sends a clear, deterrent signal against the harassment and abuse of security officers.
10. These are good strides forward for our transformation journey, even amidst the pandemic, and we must build on the momentum to press on with refreshed initiatives under the Security ITM.
Security ITM 2025
11. The COVID-19 pandemic provided the security industry with opportunities to accelerate transformation, particularly in greater adoption of technology. We saw this through contactless access control, automated patrols, and more integrated services. For transformation efforts to be successful, the greater use of technology will need to move in tandem with how buyers procure their security services, which is why we will continue to encourage the adoption of outcome-based contracting (OBC). It will also prepare the industry for the next wave of opportunity, which is to deliver security services as part of integrated facilities management (FM).
Accelerating OBC Adoption
12. OBCs can offer the potential for buyers to achieve better security outcomes at lower long-term costs. There have been multiple success stories which I hope will inspire your OBC journey, such as in the case of Visionaire Condominium.
13. The condominium was able to reduce security headcount by 25% by opting for an outcome-based integrated FM contract including security services. This was a result of a collaboration between Chambers International, an integrated FM company, and Bulls-Eye Security Services, a security agency, to explore the use of technology to collectively meet the premises’ needs. The integration of various solutions, including a two-way audio and video access control system to monitor and control usage of facilities, translated into cost savings and more streamlined operations. While the concept of integrated FM may be relatively new to some of us, Visionaire Condominium’s success story shows that this is an attainable goal even for smaller premises in the industry.
14. In hopes of inspiring more success stories, I am proud to announce the launch of a one-stop OBC online resource portal, hosted on the Singapore Police Force (SPF) website. You will be able to read about experiences from others who have undergone the OBC journey, similar to the example I just shared, as well as find information on courses, grants for technology adoption, and even contract templates. Among the available resources on the portal is the MHA OBC Guide, first launched in 2018 to guide the industry on OBC adoption, which has since been updated to reflect industry developments. The Centre for Protective Security of the SPF, or CPS, will also continue to step up its engagements to assist buyers, whether through physical meetings or virtual webinars.
15. Facilitating OBC adoption has also been made possible with the support from the Union of Security Employees and security industry associations. I had the pleasure of joining them at their recent launch of the Security Tripartite Alliance for Responsible Outcome Based Contracting, also known as STAR. The STAR will provide security agencies and buyers with a range of customised support to adopt OBC, such as consultancy services and training.
Push for Greater Adoption of Advanced and Interoperable Technology
16. For more buyers to reap the benefits of OBCs, security agencies need to be able to propose innovative solutions which can meet security outcomes with less manpower. We are mindful of the challenges this may pose to smaller security agencies, and as such, have ensured that support is available to SME security agencies by way of the Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service or CTO-as-a-Service. This initiative was launched by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) earlier this year which provides a one-stop platform for SMEs to access digitalisation resources and receive end-to-end digital consultancy support from experts. I strongly urge you to tap on this initiative.
17. Surveys by MHA and IMDA in recent years have shown significant progress in transformation efforts, particularly in digitalisation. The majority of security agencies have adopted at least one Stage 1 or Stage 2 digital solution as recommended under the Security Industry Digital Plan (IDP) since 2018. These are typically standalone solutions such as automated visitor registration machines or wearable security devices. The ongoing shift to integrated FM is a promising advancement, and we must seize the opportunity to take that next step of moving from basic solutions to more advanced ones, such as interoperable solutions and integrated command systems. MHA and IMDA will jointly update the Security IDP to guide the industry towards this.
Developing a Multi-skilled Workforce
18. Upskilling and career advancement efforts will remain key features of the ITM to ensure that every officer is well-equipped and ready in the process of transformation. To this end, CPS and SkillsFuture Singapore have worked alongside our tripartite partners to identify priority digital skills to ensure security officers’ skills and competencies remain relevant. New security officers will also be trained with in-demand skills such as conflict management, customer orientation, and problem-solving skills so that they can manage and de-escalate conflicts when on duty. These new training requirements will be implemented next year, and more details will be announced in due course.
19. The Skills Framework for Security will also be updated to highlight complementary skills as officers’ roles evolve to meet industry needs. This will include skills to operate new integrated FM solutions as well as support emerging roles in the industry. One such role is that of the Security Technologist, a growing trend, as we move towards digitalisation. These updates to the Skills Framework will be shared with the industry through a variety of platforms, including webinars, so that the information on recommended skillsets is accessible to new entrants and the existing workforce.
20. These initiatives will go a long way in shaping a future-ready workforce that is prepared to tap on emerging technology and new operating models, and provide new career pathways for our officers.
Raising the Bar for New Entrants into the Industry
21. Finally, amidst transformation efforts, we must ensure that new security agencies must be financially sound to enter the industry so that they can better support wages and welfare for officers, as well as offer suitable technology solutions to deliver security outcomes efficiently. In consultation with the security industry associations, SPF will be raising the initial paid-up capital requirement for new security agency licence applicants to $500,000. This will take effect from 1 July 2023. This is the first adjustment since 2013 and a necessary one to better reflect the needs of the sector today.
22. To conclude, industry transformation is a holistic effort. I look forward to the industry’s continued partnership as we work together on the various strategies laid out in the Security ITM 2025. Together, we will keep up our good momentum to raise our capabilities, upskill our officers, leverage more advanced technology, to support Singapore’s wider sustainability requirements. Most important of all, we will strive to keep the welfare and development of our security officers at the heart of our industry transformation efforts.
23. Thank you and I wish you a fruitful and meaningful Security Industry Conference.