We thank Mr Seah Yam Meng (Revise all industry standards for security officers; Jan 22), Mr Kwan Jin Yao (Do more to find out plight of security officers; Jan 22) and Mr Sean Lim Wei Xin (Penalty regime for security officers overly harsh; Jan 23) for their feedback.
On Jan 1, the Ministry of Home Affairs introduced several changes to the code of conduct for private security officers, with the aim of better calibrating the range of penalties to be commensurate with varying degrees of misconduct.
We must take such misconduct seriously because they could lead to security lapses that compromise lives, and not only properties.
First-time offenders will generally be given only warnings, as was the practice previously.
However, with the changes, the police now have the option of imposing a composition fine if a security officer repeatedly or in egregious fashion breaches the code of conduct.
Before the changes, the police had only the options of suspending or revoking a security officer's licence. This would have been a worse outcome for the security officer. Penalties such as licence suspension or revocation, or even prosecution, are considered only for the most severe or recalcitrant cases.
We recognise that greater professional expectations for the security industry must be complemented with better pay and working conditions, and upgraded skills.
This was why MHA worked with tripartite partners to develop the Security Industry Transformation Map and the Progressive Wage Model for the industry.
In particular, to address the long working hours of security officers, the overtime exemption for the security industry will be removed from January 2021, and wages for security officers will increase by at least 3 per cent per year, up to 2024.
We will continue to find ways to strengthen the security industry and uplift our security officers.
Goh Chour Thong
Community Partnership and Communications Group
Ministry of Home Affairs