27 Mar 2020

Enhancements to Security Agency Grading Exercise and Protection for Private Security Officers

1.     The Security Agencies Grading Exercise (SAGE) is a mandatory assessment of security agencies conducted annually by the Police and the Ministry of Manpower. SAGE articulates the standards that agencies should work towards, with a view to raising them over time.

 

A.     Participation in SAGE 2020 will be Voluntary

 

2.     This year, in light of the COVID-19 situation, the Police will dispense with the requirement for all security agencies to participate in SAGE 2020. This will alleviate the administrative load on security agencies.

 

3.     However, security agencies can still opt to participate in SAGE 2020 on a voluntary basis. For those that do, the cut-off points from SAGE 2019 will be used for grading purposes. Agencies that choose not to undergo SAGE 2020 will have their SAGE 2019 grade extended by one year to 31 Dec 2021.



B.     Review of SAGE for the Longer Term

 

4.     The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Police are also working with industry partners to review SAGE, so that it continues to be relevant and supports industry transformation. To this end, a tripartite taskforce was formed in November 2019.1 The taskforce has agreed on the following broad shifts to be made:


a.     The new framework assesses the actual competencies of a security agency. Agencies will need to demonstrate substantive security capabilities and outcomes.

 

b.     The revised assessment will be on a pass/fail basis. We will do away with the current grading system of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’.

 

c.     The assessment will be tied to the security agency’s annual licence renewal, i.e. a security agency must pass the assessment before its licence can be renewed. Agencies will only undergo their assessments closer to their licence renewal, instead of the current arrangement where all agencies undergo assessments at the same time.

 

d.     The assessment framework will include voluntary elective modules which security agencies can take to further demonstrate their capabilities. Agencies that meet these higher standards will be eligible for a two-year licence, instead of a one year renewal. Such agencies will undergo their SAGE assessments on a biennial basis.


5.     More details will be announced by early 2021.

 

C.     Enhancing Protection for Private Security Officers

 

6.     Private security officers play an important role in ensuring the safety and security of the premises where they are deployed. However, during the course of their work, they can face verbal, and sometimes physical abuse.

 

7.     MHA takes a serious view of the harassment and abuse of private security officers. Those who use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards private security officers are liable to be charged under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA). Where there is violence or disorderly behaviour involved, they may also be charged under other legislation such as the Penal Code or the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act, and may face imprisonment terms.

 

8.     MHA intends to enhance protection for private security officers from harassment or abuse. MHA is looking into instituting new offences against persons who harass and abuse private security officers in the course of their official duties, through amendments to the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) in 2021.

 

 

D.     Consultations with Stakeholders

 

9.     MHA and Police have been engaging the security associations, union and industry leaders on the changes to SAGE and the PSIA, and they have expressed their support. We will continue to work closely with them to sustain industry transformation, raise standards, and uplift workers and their welfare.



[1] The taskforce is led by the Director of Police Licensing and Regulatory Department (PLRD) and comprises security associations, union and relevant government agencies.

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