The protection of the welfare and dignity of Security Officers is of paramount importance. Security Officers today do not only perform day-to-day safety and protection duties. In addition, they also play a crucial frontline role in enforcing Covid-19 measures at their deployment site.
According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), some examples of harassment may include:
In the security industry, it is generally common for security personnel to face verbal abuse from the public due to the nature of their job. In some circumstances, they may even be involved in an excessively abusive person who decides to get physical.
Based on a survey done by the Union of Security Employees (USE) between September and November 2020, 2 out of every 5 officers admitted to being exposed to some form of abuse at their workplace. This was an increase from a similar survey done by USE back at the beginning of 2020.
Most Security Officers are “well-equipped” to handle abusive situations “professionally” with existing mandatory and optional training modules. However, due to the varying degrees of abuse they face during their course of work, training can only teach them how to handle these situations appropriately.
Ultimately, the Security Officer’s ability to handle their emotions alongside the training received is a major factor in the outcome of the dispute. Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, president of the Security Association Singapore (SAS) reiterated that “a lot of it too depends on the temperament and experience of the officer”.
While it does not happen as frequently as verbal abuse, situations involving physical abuse by the public on Security Officers do happen. And this is when the test of the officer’s training, experience, and mental grit takes place in handling these situations professionally and effectively.
One of the security courses that Security Officers can take to learn more about handling disputes would be the WSQ Manage Disorderly Conduct and Threatening Behaviour.
To improve the welfare and protection of Security Officers, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is looking to amend the Private Security Industry Act (PSIA) in 2021 to legislate new charges on individuals abusing officers on duty.
MPs Zainal Sapari and Patrick Tay advocated this move which is of paramount importance in protecting the welfare of Security Officers. “This is especially so as officers not only perform day-to-day safety and protection duties, but also play a crucial front-line role in national emergencies such as amidst stepped-up Covid-19 measures”, the Security Industry Council (SIC) mentioned in a statement.
Security Officer can soon look forward to a simpler and more straightforward way to make reports to the USE regarding any grievances, abuse, or unsafe deployment. Currently, Security Officers will have to approach the USE office to lodge a report.
As of March 2021, the USE is working on developing a new app for Security Officers to streamline the process and for USE to act upon these reports more quickly.
Formed in 1978, USE is an affiliate of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) representing all persons who are employed in the security and security related services under the Trade Unions Act, regardless of race, nationality, sex, or creed but excluding all persons who are members of any auxiliary force as defined in the Police Force Act (Cap. 235 of 1985 Edition).
“USE takes on a lead role to mediate disputes and work out a resolution that is fair to all parties… It will benefit both employers and employees,” said USE assistant executive secretary Mohamad Randy
Currently facing grievances or issues at your workplace? You can send an email to USE @ firstname.lastname@example.org to seek advice on your rights and entitlements as an employee. Alternatively, you may choose to send in a request using their ‘Contact Us’ page.
USE will provide mediation service between you and your employer. Should the grievance be unsolved post-mediation, USE will then escalate your dispute to the Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM).
Apart from simplifying the process of reporting ill-practices and harassment, MOM has also made significant strides in increasing the welfare of essential workers, including Security Officers.
The Workcare initiative was introduced in 2019 to improve the work environments of essential services workers and strengthen public appreciation for their work.
Eligible service buyers of essential workers can now tap into the Workcare Grant which provides up to 80% of funding for the building or upgrading of rest areas for essential workers.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that more than 2,000 essential workers are expected to benefit from the launch of the Workcare Grant on 14 May 2021.