More changes need to be made in security industry

I support the strengthened penalties for errant behaviour by security officers as these will bring about better discipline, responsibility and professionalism in the security industry (Errant private security officers face stiffer penalties; Dec 24, 2018).

However, harsher punishment in itself will not make the security industry attractive.

To change the image of the security industry and entice better-educated, young Singaporeans, the industry should offer better salaries, perks and welfare, as well as shorter working hours.

I also agree with Mr Liu Fook Thim that security officers should be tasked with only security duties and should not be assigned additional non-related tasks such as watering plants, collecting mail and receiving deliveries (Clarify role and duties of security officers; Jan 1).

Such non-security tasks should be rightfully assigned to non-security staff.

The current practice of making security officers work a stretch of 12 hours, with eight hours of regular work and four hours of overtime work, is unrealistic.

To do their job well, security officers need to be mentally alert and physically fit.

After working for eight hours, security officers cannot be expected to be alert and productive enough to work for another four hours.

I have heard that security officers who opt for the eight-hour shifts earn much less too.

This is probably to discourage them from opting for the shorter shifts.

It is time for the security industry to implement a normal eight-hourly, three-shift system so as to make it more professional and attractive to more people.

Pavithran Vidyadharan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'More changes need to be made in security industry'. Print Edition | Subscribe