Clarify role and duties of security officers

Now that harsher punishment will be meted out to errant security officers on the job, it is important that security officers are hired only for tasks where they are most needed (Errant private security officers face stiffer penalties; Dec 24, 2018).

Often, security staff end up doing non-security tasks like watering the plants, collecting mail and receiving deliveries.

For example, the two scenarios mentioned by Mr Teo Kok Seah can easily be performed by non-security staff (Security staff can play a role in escalator safety; Dec 28, 2018).

In Japan, women in uniform are positioned at escalators and lifts at major shopping malls to assist shoppers in giving priority to parents with strollers and address unsafe behaviour.

I suspect security staff end up doing many unrelated services as part of their job because the actual security services take up less than 10 per cent of their time.

Perhaps this leads to service buyers thinking that the other 90 per cent of a security employee's time needs to be filled with non-security work.

Clarifying the role and duties expected of security officers as well as identifying those that can be done by non-security staff are also important in the implementation of technology to reduce the dependence on manpower.

Many clients of security companies often cite the need for security staff to check that lights are switched off and doors are locked at the end of a work day.

These tasks can be carried out using switch timers and access control locks.

Other often-cited administrative services include photo identity verification, checking bags to ensure that there is no unauthorised removal of company assets and handling deliveries from courier companies.

These can all be performed by non-security staff.

Hence, there is a need to better educate the public and security services buyers on the role of security personnel so as to raise the level of service quality and professionalism of the security industry in Singapore.

Liu Fook Thim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'Clarify role and duties of security officers'. Print Edition | Subscribe