Published: 15 November 2023
Mr Aw Tuan Kee, Deputy Principal, Temasek Polytechnic
Mr Edward Liu, Managing Director, Conference & Exhibition Management Services
Ladies and gentlemen
1. A very good afternoon to everyone. I am very happy to be back here again today, at the annual Security Industry Conference. This is my third time viewing it, so I am amongst friends and delighted to see so many participants from various countries join us and I can hear the excitement from the exhibition outside. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Security Industry Institute of Temasek Polytechnic, and the Conference & Exhibition Management Services, for organising this years Conference.
2. The security industry is a key and very invaluable partner to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in keeping Singapore safe and secure. Security officers complement the Home Team by safeguarding the safety and security of premises that they are deployed at. They are often also first responders to an emergency.
3. The security industry has come a long way since MHA, together with industry partners, first launched the Security Industry Transformation Map (ITM). Thanks to strong tripartite efforts, the industry has steadily transformed itself to be more effective and productive with greater integration of technology as well as more structured upgrading of officers. The image and recognition of our security officers has also improved; the public is well-aware of their efforts and their contributions to our societys safety and security, and this was accentuated even more during the COVID-19 pandemic.
4. But we recognise that long-term challenges of increased costs and manpower constraints remain for our industry. So it is important that the security industry continues to transform to deliver services more efficiently and sustainably. It is against this backdrop that MHA implemented the Security ITM 2025, with initiatives co-created with our tripartite partners to spur the industry for the next bound of transformation.
5. It is timely that the theme of this years conference focuses on integration and inter-operability for the sector. It reflects our collective goal to raise the capabilities of our security agencies, to adopt and integrate more advanced security solutions and shift towards integrated facilities management (FM).
6. We are heartened to see many security agencies already progressing in this direction, with services delivered in more streamlined and effective ways. I would like to thank our partners - the security associations, the Union and the training providers - for your hard work. Let us continue on this positive path.
Progress of Security ITM Efforts
7. After the inaugural Security Industry Survey in 2020, the MHA embarked on the second iteration of the survey in 2022. More than 100 security agencies and 200 service buyers, as well as over a thousand security officers, were surveyed. Kindly allow me to share some of the key findings with you today.
8. Firstly, awareness of outcome-based contracting (OBC) have significantly improved. Over 50% of service buyers are now aware of OBC, up from over 30% in 2020. Going forward, we should focus on raising the OBC adoption rates by security agencies and buyers, as these have not risen as much as the awareness levels.
9. On the technology adoption front, we are heartened that the proportion of security agencies who adopted at least one Security Industry Digital Plan (IDP) solution in their operations has held steady at 96%. 88% of security agencies were also keen to integrate more advanced technology into their operations, but we recognise that the smaller security agencies may require more assistance to do so.
10. There is also a clear interest in integrated FM within the industry. We saw a doubling in the proportion of the service buyers, from 22% to 44%, who are now willing to consider integrated FM contracts.
11. In addition, over 70% of security agencies continued to place strong emphasis on skills upgrading for security officers. We note the continued emphasis across security agencies, service buyers and security officers themselves, to be better trained in customer service and communication skills, as well as on technology-related competencies.
12. Overall, as you can see, the survey findings reaffirmed the progress of the Security ITM and this also provided insights on the areas that our industry can focus on.
Security ITM 2025
13. Now, taking reference from the survey findings and the refreshed initiatives, I would like to outline three key priorities for the year ahead.
(i) First, to encourage emphasis on even greater adoption of OBC;
(ii) Two, to support security agencies efforts in growing inter-operability of systems for integrated FM; and
(iii) Three, to continue driving relevant training programmes and pathways to better equip security officers.
14. As I have mentioned earlier, we have done well to raise awareness of OBC in the industry. In November 2022, the USE and the industry associations launched the Security Tripartite Alliance for Responsible Outcome Based Contracting (STAR). Since its launch last year, more than 40 security agencies have consulted STAR, with more than half going further to benefit from STARs Company Training Committee (CTC) grant.
15. I would like to provide an example which is Bulls-Eye Security Services which provides security services for residential premises. With the help of the CTC grant, they were able to upgrade the premises CCTV systems to enable remote monitoring and virtual patrols. The introduction of a visitor management system has also made daily visitor registrations more efficient and far less manual. The enhancements have resulted in greater cost savings as well as a more efficient allocation of manpower.
16. Examples like this show us that we do not need huge sites or grand solutions. OBC works, no matter how small the size of the premise. It is about redesigning and streamlining operations, so that security officers can be more focused and effective. Now, we acknowledge the concerns from the ground, such as buyers needing more guidance on the types of OBC tenders that can offer the best value, or agencies knowing how these tenders should be structured or assessed.
17. In this regard, we are happy that the industry has taken the lead to address the concerns raised. So today, I am announcing the launch of the Security Association Singapore (SAS) Online Outcome-based Tender Generator and Repository (OBX) today. Developed in collaboration with the Singapore Police Force, the OBX is a resource for security buyers to create and publish customised outcome-based tenders. It also allows security agencies to propose competitive solutions that combine manpower, technology and processes to boost efficiency. The trials conducted by SAS have been very positive. We applaud SAS in leading the way for this initiative, and would also like to thank Enterprise Singapore for funding it. Let us give them a round of applause.
18. Our second priority is to better support security agencies in growing the inter-operability of their systems for integrated FM. This can range from enhancing their capabilities, to linking them up with security solution providers.
19. Security agencies have tapped on various resources to help them on their digitalisation journey. For example, IMDA has developed the one-stop Chief Technology Officer-as-a-Service (CTOaaS) platform, for security agencies to access and receive digital consultancy support, along with a range of other digitalisation resources, and this has proven to be beneficial for many security agencies.
20. For example, the CTOaaS provided Force-One Security with a digital consultant who assessed their cybersecurity and data protection measures. The digital consultant then provided resources such as toolkits to enhance their systems, as well as advice on how to equip their staff with best practices and knowledge to better safeguard their systems.
21. In addition to the CTOaaS, IMDAs Advanced Digital Solutions (ADS) scheme also supports small and medium-sized enterprises to pilot their advanced or integrated solutions.
22. Let me share another example of a security agency that benefitted from the ADS scheme, and this is Securite Associates. Securite leveraged the ADS scheme to partner Ademco Far East, a security solutions provider, to deploy security technological solutions at a private condominium. Ademcos innovative solutions use artificial intelligence and cloud technology to improve threat detection and response. This helped Securite enhance the level of security provided in the condominium, without needing to hire additional manpower and instead reducing overall operation costs in the long run. Now, isnt that something we all wish to do?
23. IMDA has worked with MHA and the industry to update the Security IDP, which was first launched in 2018. I am happy to announce the refreshed Security IDP 2.0 today, which features an updated digital solutions roadmap to guide the industry to adopt more advanced technological solutions and to work towards an integrated security management solution. It also has a new roadmap on Cybersecurity and Data Protection measures, programmes and toolkits for security agencies to strengthen their digital defences.
Upskilling and Wages of Security Officers
24. Last but not least, the third priority is to better equip our security officers, through upskilling. It is very encouraging to find that the training courses and Progressive Wage Model (PWM) schedule have benefitted the security officers. 89% of security officers who were surveyed in 2022 agreed that the PWM-mandated courses have helped them perform more effectively in their daily work. This was an increase from the 72% who responded the same from the 2020 survey.
25. The upskilling of security officers must be at the forefront of the industrys efforts.
26. In February this year, the MHA and SkillsFuture Singapore jointly announced that there will be enhanced mandatory Basic Licensing Units (BLUs) for security officers to complete from 1 January 2024. Featuring modules such as incident response and security surveillance management, these enhanced BLUs focus on levelling up technology-related competencies, public engagement, and conflict management skills.
27. In addition, all security officers are required to complete a new online refresher quiz for licence renewal from 1 January 2024. Along with the quiz, the SPF will release a training package to help our officers prepare for the quiz.
28. We are heartened that many security agencies and officers take training seriously and have shown enthusiasm in their courses. We will regularly review these programmes and we also value feedback from officers.
29. One such programme that has been reviewed following feedback from the industry, is the Recognise Terrorist Threats (RTT) module. We worked with the associations and USE to simplify the questions and assessment format to make it more accessible for officers. As of October 2023, about 97% of active security officers have completed the RTT module. The SPF has also since extended the deadline till 31 December 2023 for our remaining security officers to complete the RTT assessment. So we strongly urge all security officers to complete the assessment if they have not done so already.
30. Equally important to upskilling our officers, is to improve their welfare. We must continue to ensure that security officers wages are increased at a sustainable and meaningful pace. We are aware that this could lead to rising costs and contract prices for agencies as well as buyers. But it is the right thing to do - more has been expected of our officers as the industry transforms and surges forward, and we should not leave behind those who spend their waking hours protecting us. I take comfort in knowing that our stakeholders in the industry do recognise this and have generally been supportive. There is also some support available, such as the Progressive Wage Credit Scheme.
31. To conclude, the Security Industry Survey 2022 validated the good progress of Security ITM initiatives. At the same time, it has shown areas that we must continue working on to better support the industry. Let us press on with our transformation journey, as well as continue to equip and improve the welfare of our security officers who are central to all our efforts.
32. With that, thank you very much and I wish you all a fulfilling Security Industry Conference.