Many netizens were appalled by a recent online video that showed a condo resident verbally abusing a security officer who was on duty.
It’s not only verbal abuse that security officers might suffer from. They also face the threat of physical abuse.
Another video that circulated back in April this year showed a Caucasian man tripping and sucker-punching an elderly officer who was just trying to direct the man out of the Roxy Square Shopping Centre carpark.
In that same month, the Union of Security Employees (USE) did a quick poll of 52 security officers on the topic of abuse while on the line of duty.
A whopping 73 per cent of the respondents reported having suffered from either verbal or physical abuse while at work.
This number would undoubtedly be larger if we include the officers who don’t want to report the abuse out of fear of losing their livelihoods.
Additionally, these officers might not even know the recourse available to them and because of that, keep quiet about the abuse and simply pretend as if nothing had happened.
Security officers are often stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea.
On the one hand, they might incur the wrath of the public when they try to enforce rules and regulations issued by the managing agent or site representatives. On the other hand, they or their employer might face financial penalties if they fail to enforce these rules.
Helpline to Report Abuse
Is there a helpline where security officers can report cases of verbal and physical abuse? The short answer is yes.
The Security Industry Council (SIC) has launched a one-stop email helpline for abused private security officers to report their cases.
Security officers can simply write to email@example.com to report any form of abuse they encounter while on duty.
These cases will then be routed to USE’s mediation service at its Customer Service Centre for assessment and follow-up.
Depending on the case, the officers will get assistance such as mediation, legal advice, medical leave application, medical claims or even the changing of work location or roles.
The union said that it will also help in escalating cases to the Police Licensing and Regulatory Department, or in making police reports.
The SIC also said that it will continue to advocate against abuse by distributing its “Hormat Security” posters for display at all sites to serve as a reminder to treat security officers with respect.
Security officers work to earn a living just like all of us. Like us, they have dreams, hopes and aspirations.
As fellow human beings, it’s our civic duty to make sure those who keep us safe and secure are themselves in a position that is safe and secure.