Dealing with the Security conundrum – Security Singapore

Security Singapore

Security Singapore: These days you either innovate, improve or you become outdated.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at this article. Basically, it’s about how Certis Cisco rolled out a new framework to tap on technology and process innovation to augment its manpower needs.

Certis Cisco BPRO

The Business Process Re-engineering Operations (BPRO) is based on Certis Cisco’s operating philosophy of more than 10 years – Man, Machine, Method, and provides end-to-end solutions for its clients.

Wait, doesn’t the 3 Ms sound a little familiar? Labour Chief Chan Chun Sing mentioned the same phrase earlier this year in his blogpost. At a recent  learning journey to the Certis Cisco’s BPRO Command Centre which was attended by Chan and some union officials, Chan again added another ‘M’ to the game-play – Mindset.

ION Orchard Facade

According to Certis Cisco, the BPRO, which it has rolled out for a start at 3 malls belonging to CapitaLand Mall Asia, is able to reduce outsourced security manpower by about 20% without compromising on the level of security.

Meeting manpower needs

Indeed, the security industry in Singapore is in need of such innovation in order to cope with the supposed shortage of between 10,000 to 20,000 security officers, when there exists some 40,000 active security officers at the moment.

At the learning journey, the Union of Security Employees’ (USE) Executive Secretary Steve Tan shared with participants on the status of the security industry today and how it intends to push for the industry to be improved.

One way is for security equipment/technology and manpower to be procured together.

In order for this to happen, one thing needs to happen as Chan said.

“In order for changes to happen, we need the four Ms, namely, Man, Machine, Method and Mindset.”

He added that Mindset is “the root of everything, and will influence the other three Ms.”.

Integrating and streamlining

For many years, the procurement of security services has never been integrated. But as Mr Steve Tan shared, property owners would purchase equipment and technology first before hiring security officers as required.

He gave the example of how a service buyer reduced a proposed number of officers to a bare minimum due to cost. And how a security officer was tasked to sit in front of 5 CCTV screens for a 12 hour shift.

During a recent Security Tripartite Learning Journey to Sweden, participants learnt that the Nordic country has population of 9 million and only have 20,000 security officers. Contrastingly, Singapore’s 5.6 million population has 43,000 security officers and we still find ourselves lacking.


This is the reason why Certis Cisco developed the BPRO, to allow for a more integrated way of carrying things out. Right from the start where the company looks at the plans and numbers of the customer, to the preparation,then customisation, and the fine-tuning of processes that leads to the desired outcome.

To increase productivity, Certis streamlined processes and incorporated technology into its operations there by reducing on its reliance of manpower by about 20% at CapitaLand malls.

The BPRO Command Centre is the nerve centre in the whole new framework where officers stationed there play a critical role in the command and control of the daily security operations in an efficient manner.

With technology, Certis’ officers deployed at CapitaLand malls are more effective and take on higher valued roles.

Creating better and higher value jobs

Chan said that by creating higher valued and higher quality roles, it allows security officers to be paid better and at the same time, “the jobs are more meaningful”.

“Now when you redesign the whole process; you redesign the whole workflow, you also redesign the job prospects of the entire industry,” said Chan.

Moving forward, he hopes that buyers of security services can understand two points:

  • If they really want to save costs, look at the long term. Integrate the design of the buildings, operations and the security right upfront. i.e, look at it as an integrated process and you will save money and create better jobs for the workers.
  • Don’t tender for a one-year contract with service providers. It is too short a time for both parties to work together to develop a long-term plan, implement it and review it.

USE’s Steve Tan agreed with both points.

In an interview, he said that if more service buyers move away from yearly contracts to longer ones, then there would be incentives for security agencies to invest in technology and training.

In a presentation during the learning journey to Certis Cisco, he walked participants through how current security services are tendered for and what the ideal framework should be; one that is integrated right from the get-go.

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