SINGAPORE - The harsher punishments imposed on errant security officers this year are to deter unprofessional behaviour such as sleeping or consuming alcohol on the job, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling on Monday (Jan 14).
But these punishments are not part of a "punitive regime", added Ms Sun, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for National Development.
Since Jan 1, security officers who sleep on the job, come to work drunk or display other errant behaviour face a fine of up to $2,000, a maximum jail term of three months, or both.
The offences may also be compounded by a fine, in lieu of prosecution, said Ms Sun, replying to Workers' Party chairman Sylvia Lim (Aljunied GRC).
She also said that first-time offenders will generally get a warning, as has been the practice before.
For repeat offenders, the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department can impose a "composition fine" instead of suspending or revoking the security officer's licence.
"Only in the most severe or recalcitrant cases would penalties such as licence suspension or revocation, and prosecution be considered," she added.
Before this move, those who did not do their job properly faced a range of punishments, including a verbal warning, suspension or the sack.
Ms Lim then asked if shift hours for security officers would be shortened from 12 to eight hours.
Replying, Ms Sun said the committee tasked to transform the security industry encourages security agencies to move towards shorter working hours, where possible. The committee is co-chaired by the Home Affairs Ministry, Singapore National Employers Federation and the labour movement.