The fact that a Labour Chief has dedicated his second blogpost to security, may possibly mean that it’s something that weighs heavily on his mind.
NTUC Secretary General Chan Chun Sing published his second blogpost over the weekend which touched on the topic of the security industry in Singapore. In it, he even challenges the buyers of security services to pay attention to how they design their facilities and operations.
Just two weeks back, he made a Facebook post on the arrest of Bangladeshi foreign workers who were part of a extremist group.
But the main point of his post was to examine the industry, and the challenge to uplift the industry.
NTUC implemented the Progressive Wage Model for the security industry in May 2015 to “upskill and formalise the pay structure for our private security officers.”
However, Chan noted that “the skill level and pay structure for a large part of the industry still remains less than satisfactory.”
“Mind-set” and “Methods”
He admits that the problem of “manpower shortage” will continue to be a problem in the industry, even as other countries continue to adopt less manpower intensive methods to achieve better outcomes with their officers getting better pay, image and professional standards.
“I think, that unless we seriously address the issues of “mind-set” and “methods”, there is only so much that can be done to improve the pay, image and professionalism of the industry.”
He listed the many problems regarding mind-sets that continue to plague the industry, including how security “has become an afterthought and “cost-component” to be minimised and managed downstream.”
Another problem he cited was the lack of motivation in many organisations in adopting outcome-based approaches when buying security services. This happens when they put the focus on manpower inputs as KPIs instead of looking at structuring a security service contract over a longer term to incentivise innovation, manpower savings and better outcomes.
Turning to “methods”, Chan said his pet peeve was seeing “two sets of security personnel patrolling two sides of the same fence in adjacent facilities.”
“Gated communities” is a concept with lesser manpower requirements that is practiced in some European countries. It makes use of walls and fences in residential areas coupled with technology such surveillance cameras, infrared sensors, motion detectors and security officers to segregate security measures.
According to this article by Vulcan Post, security officers work with the police to do a full security planning of gated communities, which minimise and more effectively use available manpower.
Chan also urged companies to pay more attention upfront to how they design their facilities and operations. Saying that these “will determine the jobs and wages of our security personnel for a long time to come.”
” If we seriously want to uplift the pay, image and professionalism of our security industry; if we really care for our lower wage workers; then we must start with the right mind-set and practice the right methods before we even invest in the right machines and right training.”