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Speech at Security Officers Day Awards 2019

Minister of State for Manpower Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Temasek Polytechnic

Mr Zainal Sapari, Assistant Secretary-General of National Trades Union Congress,

Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, President of Security Association (Singapore),

Mr Ardi Bin Amir, President of Union of Security Employees,

Friends and colleagues from the security industry,

  1. Good morning. I am pleased to join you at this year’s Security Officers Day Awards ceremony.

    Progress in security industry
  2. Security officers play a crucial role in keeping Singapore safe and secure “24/7”. Day in, day out, they work tirelessly to protect our homes, offices and public spaces. With the threat of terrorism and emergence of more buildings and infrastructure, the demand for security services will continue to grow. To meet this demand, we need to attract people to join the industry and ensure that our security officers have the competencies to perform their roles. On this front, the tripartite partners have been working closely on various efforts to uplift and transform the security industry.
  3. Since the introduction of the Progressive Wage Model five years ago in the security industry, the wages of security officers have risen significantly. Between 2013 and 2018, the real median gross wages of full-time resident security officers rose by 31%[1].
  4. The work of the tripartite partners did not stop there. The Security Tripartite Cluster has since enhanced the PWM wages each year for the next six years starting from 2019. The Tripartite Cluster has also refined the PWM training and emplacement requirements to strengthen the focus on skills and competencies, and provide greater clarity and flexibility to security agencies and their officers. These enhancements will benefit the 35,500 active resident security officers, and help retain them in the industry.
  5. The PWM does not only raise wages. It also uplifts the industry by providing a clear incentive and pathway for security officers to upskill and progress in their careers. Security agencies and service buyers also benefit from higher productivity, and better service standards of a more motivated and professional workforce.
  6. Beyond PWM, tripartite partners have also come together to drive industry transformation. The Security Industry Transformation Map provides a roadmap to transform the industry from one that is manpower-reliant, to one that leverages technology and enhances skills to deliver high-quality security solutions.
  7. But for transformation to take place, security officers, security agencies and service buyers all have a part to play.

    Security officers to adapt to greater use of technology
  8. Security risks and service needs are becoming increasingly complex, but new technologies have helped us better manage risks and protect our people and properties.
  9. Security officers have to undergo continuous training and upskilling so that they are equipped with relevant skills to keep pace with the adoption of new technologies.
  10. As a recipient of the Job Redesign Award this year, Security Supervisor Ahmad Bin Basri has embraced technology with a positive attitude and willingness to learn. Ahmad started his career as a Security Officer at the age of 64 and has been with Bulls-Eye Security for four years. Two years ago, he took on the challenge of joining the agency’s new Command Centre as a Command Centre Controller. His positive attitude enabled him to learn on the job and adapt well to his new role. Today, he is a Security Supervisor stationed at the Command Centre, where he uses technology to fulfil his daily roles such as attendance reporting, patrol and incident management and supervision, and remote surveillance and monitoring.
  11. For example, previously Ahmad had to call individual deployment sites one by one and ensure that the handover of duties has been completed. With the use of a HR Reporting Tool, a task that used to take two hours can now be completed within 30 minutes. This is equivalent to time savings of 75%. Ahmad can also view the 4G live stream from body-worn cameras of officers on the ground, and provide advice when needed. Together with remote surveillance and monitoring technologies available via the Command Centre, the company is able to reduce its reliance on the manpower required onsite, resulting in greater savings.
  12. Similarly, using a mobile-enabled patrol and incident management system that he picked up in a short period of time, Security Supervisor Tan Yong An from Empire Security is now able to submit, retrieve and consolidate reports in a more efficient and timely manner. Yong An has also gone above and beyond, demonstrating initiative to guide his colleagues in using the system, so that together they can maximise the effectiveness of the system.
  13. These are but two examples of exemplary officers present at the Awards today. On this note, I would like to congratulate all 169 award recipients. You are all outstanding security officers who have excelled in your duties. Some of you have also shown your ability to adapt to changing times by using technology in your work. You are all role models for other officers, and I hope that more will follow your good example.

    Security agencies to transform to become more manpower-lean
  14. Security agencies too need to adapt to become more manpower-lean. In November 2017, the Security Tripartite Cluster recommended the removal of overtime exemption to improve the working conditions of security officers. Fatigue can affect the health and safety of workers, and the removal of overtime exemption will enable security officers to get more rest. This will take effect from January 2021, to allow time for security agencies to adopt technology to raise productivity and make adjustments to their work processes, while still meeting service buyers’ needs.
  15. Data on applications to the Ministry of Manpower for overtime exemptions shows that the industry has made some progress. The number of security agencies that have applied for overtime exemptions decreased by almost a quarter between 2017 and 2018[2].
  16. It is less than two years till the removal of overtime exemption in January 2021. I strongly urge more agencies to join those that have made the transition with technology to eliminate their reliance on overtime hours. This includes tapping on the Government’s grant schemes, such as the Enterprise Development Grant or Productivity Solutions Grant. 
  17. There are also success stories to learn from. The inaugural Singapore Security Industry Awards will be held in October this year, in conjunction with the Security Industry Annual Gala. This event is a collaborative effort of Security Association (Singapore), Security Systems Association of Singapore, ASIS International (Singapore Chapter), and the Security Industry Institute. It is intended to provide recognition to the best practices of security agencies in areas such as Industry Digital Plan Solutions and Job Redesign[3]. I commend them on initiating this event to recognise progressive security agencies, and encourage all to learn from the best-in-class in the industry.

    Need for service buyers to collaborate with security agencies
  18. Besides promoting technology adoption and improving capabilities of the workforce, it also important to bring about change in the way security services are purchased. More headcount does not necessarily mean better security. Service buyers need to move away from defining service requirements based on headcount, towards outcome-based contracting. This gives security agencies the scope to propose holistic and innovative security solutions that integrate manpower and technology effectively, to meet their service needs.
  19. Raising the adoption of outcome-based contracting is a key priority under the industry transformation efforts and notable progress has been made to promote best sourcing. In consultation with industry stakeholders, the Ministry of Home Affairs has published a guide to provide practical help to service buyers in scoping outcome-based security contracts. There are also courses to train procurement officers in this area.
  20. The Government has also gone one step further to demonstrate our commitment to adopt outcome-based contracting. Government Procurement Entities (GPEs) will progressively transit to outcome-based contracting for new security contracts.

  21. The efforts of industry stakeholders and close partnerships among tripartite partners have enabled us to bring the security industry to where it is today. With skills upgrading, technology adoption and best sourcing, we can work towards transforming the security industry into one that is vibrant and technologically advanced.
  22. Let us continue to work together for the safety and security of Singapore. Thank you.


  1. Source: Occupational Wage Survey, Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM.
  2. The number of licensed security agencies (SAs) that applied for OTE decreased from 174 to 134 between 2017 and 2018 (23% reduction).
  3. Awards include Security Agency of the Year; Excellence in Video Analytics Implementation; Excellence in Industry Digital Plan Solutions; Excellence in Skills Upgrading; Excellence in Job Redesign.