We refer to recent forum letters on the changes to the code of conduct for private security officers (Penalty regime for security officers overly harsh, Jan 23; Do more to find out plight of security officers and Revise all industry standards for security officers, both Jan 22).
Changes to the security code of conduct must be seen in context.
The Private Security Industry (Conduct) Regulations was first introduced in 2009. The list of offences, such as sleeping at deployment sites, has been there since then. Previously, the regulations provided for a verbal warning or a suspension of the security officer's licence, which would be devastating for the officer. With the latest amendments, the authorities can now consider a range of other actions.
The Union of Security Employees (USE) was consulted in 2017 for our views. We, too, were initially concerned, especially since this is a low-wage industry.
We received assurance that only the police had the power to investigate any allegations of breaches, and that it would be conducted thoroughly before any actions are taken.
Union members can turn to USE for mediation should they have any workplace grievances.
The majority of the 47,000 private security officers have never been prosecuted under the regulations. The union is aware that there were some officers taken to task, but these were particularly egregious cases, and done after careful investigations by the police.
The recent changes must also be seen in the context of other efforts to transform the industry.
But more needs to be done, especially on the part of buyers. Efforts by the tripartite partners to improve procurement practices have been ongoing, such as sharing of best practices and the publishing of an outcome-based contracting guide for buyers.
Union of Security Employees