Yup, you read it right.
Someone in the HardwareZone forum actually compared Security Officers in Singapore to dogs.
Check out some of the atrocious and outright demeaning comments hurled at these poor guys who are trying to earn a decent living to support their families but don’t get the basic respect they deserve.
Are security guards really useless?
We spoke to 70-year-old Andrew Pang who moved up the ranks over eight years from being a security officer to a security executive (equivalent of a senior security supervisor).
He recalled a tale of how a tattooed man tried to force his way into the CPF, Central Provident Fund, building after office hours (closed for visitors) and demanded to be let in.
When Pang tried to stop him, the man threatened to hit him with a pole.
“After that, we just let him cool down and told him there was no point hitting us.
We explained that he could come back the next morning and the CPF officers can solve his problems.
After that he cooled down…lucky two of my security officers were around and he didn’t dare do anything…we have backup for such situations.
When he came back the next day, we were already on alert. I informed my officers that he is supposed to come back the next morning so they are more prepared.”
Turns out, the man with tattoos just got out from prison.
Pang’s colleague who is currently an operations manager and previously a superintendent in the prison, recognizes old-time inmates.
Pang continues to share his experience.
“Some of them come out from prison, they don’t have a home…they don’t have IC (identification card)…they want to do Singpass.
Without IC, cannot do Singpass so they bang the tables…such things happen often.”
Can they handle terrorism?
As mentioned by PM Lee, it is a matter of time before terrorism reaches the shores of Singapore and what will be more important is how we react as a nation towards the aftermath of terrorism attacks.
Unionised security firm, Soverus, has not let their guard down and has been sending its security officers for counterterrorism courses.
Pang who also attended the course, said, “There is security watchgroup in Shenton Way and recently, there was a terrorism exercise with the police. A parcel was found in another building and apparently, the officers in that building went to open up the parcel…which is wrong. You are supposed to search for the bomb and cordon off the area.”
Kelvin Goh, General Manager of Soverus, strongly believes in training.
“A lot of times, a lot of people assume that guards know everything. But if they’re not trained, they won’t know.
Sometimes common sense is not that common so training is really important.”
According to Kelvin, Soverus is the only company that sends all of their officers for counterterrorism course and they are paid even while being away for training.
“I am taking care of them. I am making sure they become more skilled, in the hope that they’ll be able to do more while they’re on the job. It’s really to take care of the premises at the end of the day.”
How can security industry in Singapore be professionalized?
In Sweden, private security officers earn an average monthly basic salary of S$3,095, almost 3 times more compared to security officers in Singapore.
Security officers in Singapore should now earn a basic pay of at least S$1,100 a month since the Progressive Wage Model for the security industry has kicked in on 1 September this year.
Zainal Sapari, General and Chairman of the Security Tripartite Cluster, has some suggestions on how to further uplift the security industry in Singapore:
- Start learning about security management at ITE
- Offer internships to gain experience in security industry
- Review the amount of capital needed to set up a security agency
- Private security agencies to work with Home Team and other stat boards
- Tender process should include compulsory security risk assessment
- Have guidelines to ensure fair practices in the industry
Progressive Wage Model is a step in the right direction but certainly more can be done for our workers and security of our nation.