On 4 July 2022, 46-year-old security officer Sures Perimal was punched in the head outside Giant Hypermarket at Tampines Retail Park.
The assault left him with some bruises to his face.
A few weeks prior, on 17 June 2022, security officer Kavitha Sandresekeran, 45, alleged that a driver of a black Mercedes drove over her foot when she stood in front of the vehicle to prevent him from entering the condominium compound.
The act left her with a swollen right foot, which she said was still sore when she spoke to the media on 15 July 2022.
And on 11 January 2022, a Bentley driver inched his vehicle forward several times into 62-year-old security officer Neo Ah Whatt’s leg as he stood in front of the vehicle outside the Red Swastika School.
The incident left Mr Neo with a pain in right knee, and he was given three days medical leave as a result.
The only “crime” – for lack of a better word – that the three officers were guilty of at the time of the incidents was doing their jobs.
And for every abuse that gets reported, there are probably many more that fall under the radar.
In December 2021, a survey by the Union of Security Employees (USE) and the University of Social Sciences Singapore (SUSS) of 1,000 security officers found that almost four out of 10 of them have experienced some form of abuse while on the job.
Furthermore, the survey found that older security officers experienced more abuse than their younger counterparts.
Help Is Available
But all is not lost for our 40,000 and growing pool of security officers.
Following his attendance at the Security Association Singapore (SAS) Security Officers Day Awards on 21 July 2022, Senior Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad took to Facebook to reiterate the stiffer penalties made to the Private Security Industry Act – which has been in effect since 1 May 2022.
They include a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment of up to 12 months for intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress to security officers, as well as up to $7,500 fine and/or imprisonment of up to two years for assaulting or using criminal force on security officers.
“We cannot emphasise enough the seriousness of harassment and abuse of security officers,” wrote Mr Zaqy.
USE General Secretary Raymond Chin said that while security officers who have been physically abused can call the police for help, they can also “reach out to us [the union] first.”
As of last year, USE launched a mobile app that acts as a first-stop, one-stop application that allows security officers and security agencies to report any issues or work-related grievances.
Called the USE Mobile, the app is available for download both Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Alternatively, officers can also report cases of verbal and physical abuse to firstname.lastname@example.org.