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Union of Security Employees Assists Third Security Officer Abuse Case in April

The union reiterated its strong stand against abuse acts.
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By Nicolette Yeo 21 Apr 2023
Model ID: 79e9c6b6-bc8e-45b1-96c4-b29bc9e71056 Sitecore Context Id: 79e9c6b6-bc8e-45b1-96c4-b29bc9e71056;

The Union of Security Employees (USE) is attending to another case of a security officer being abused at his work site, the third in April this year.


According to the union’s Facebook post on 21 April 2023, security officer Arumugam witnessed on 13 April 2023 an altercation between a male Chinese resident and a taxi driver near the guardhouse of the Potong Pasir condominium, where he works.


When Mr Arumugam went to see what happened, the resident approached him aggressively and began shouting before repeatedly physically assaulting him.


As a result, the 74-year-old SO sustained injuries. He managed to call the police and is now on medical leave.


Condemning the act, USE said: “No one goes to work expecting to be assaulted. Our officers are merely doing their jobs, performing duties given to them.”


The union has helped to file a police report on this incident.


USE reiterated that the Private Security Industry Act was enhanced from May last year to offer security officers more protection against abuse.


The stiffer penalties for abusers who intentionally cause harassment, alarm or distress are a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment up to 12 months.


There are also steeper punishments for abusers who assault or use criminal force, including a fine of up to $7,500 and/or imprisonment of up to two years.


“We stand firmly against any acts of abuse on our officers, and will work closely with the authorities to ensure that acts of abuse are attended to.


“We will also offer our officers our fullest support to tide them over,” USE emphasised.


The union’s General Secretary Raymond Chin and Mediation Services Supervisor Murugason visited Mr Arumugam at his home on 19 April 2023 and passed him some quick relief vouchers.

Earlier Cases

The union highlighted an earlier case of officer abuse on 14 April 2023.


According to its Facebook post, security officer Michael Chia was instructed by the complex manager of WCEGA Plaza on 4 April 2023 to wheel clamp two vehicles that were blocking the fire escape route.


A tenant approached the complex manager and demanded in an aggressive manner that the vehicles be released.


The tenant attempted to snatch away Mr Chia’s phone when he tried to record the incident.


Mr Chin and fellow USE colleagues President Ardi Amir, Executive Secretary Steve Tan and Industrial Relations Officer Andy Lee as well as Mr Chia’s operations colleagues paid the security officer a visit and presented him with a nourishment pack and some relief vouchers.


“We are glad that Brother Michael was not physically hurt or injured. USE strongly condemns any act of violence or abuse of our security officers.


“Our officers perform their tasks as provided for by the Private Security Industry Act. They must not be abused when performing these tasks,” said the union.


This incident follows another case on 3 April 2023, where two security officers were abused at their Thomson Grand condominium work site in Sin Ming Walk.


The union first brought attention to this case in its Facebook post on 11 April 2023, which has since been widely reported in the media.


According to the media, a tenant abused Senior Security Supervisor Lydia and operations manager Derrick Foo on 3 April 2023 as he was upset that his vehicle had been wheel clamped for illegal parking.


The union saw the bodycam footage which showed the tenant banging the glass panel of the guardhouse and insulting the officers by calling them “poor”.


The union assisted the officers with making a police report and the outcome is pending.


“Senior Security Supervisor Lydia and operations manager Derrick were merely executing their tasks, which included enforcing the by-laws with respect to illegal parking.


“What the abuser did was unwarranted, and the personal insults were hurtful and shocking,” said the union.


The union condemned the acts in both cases and stressed that officers should not be abused for carrying out their duties.


Union’s Ongoing Efforts

These recent cases reflect the upward trend of security officer abuse rates cited in a survey conducted with over 1,000 security officers between April to July 2022.


The survey indicated that 41.1 per cent of officers reported experiencing some form of abuse, up from 32.4 per cent reported from January to February 2020.

It also highlighted that older officers were often the target, with those aged 51 to 70 forming nearly 62 per cent of all victims.


Male officers were also more likely to be abused – 78.8 per cent versus 21.2 per cent of female officers.


The perpetrators were also likely to be members of the public and visitors, making up 64 per cent of the abuser profile.


The survey is the fourth wave of a longitudinal study conducted by the union and Singapore University of Social Sciences to gain insights into the challenges security officers face and find ways to enhance their wages, welfare and work prospects.


In a separate interview with NTUC, USE Executive Secretary Steve Tan revealed that the survey raises awareness of the issue and tracks cases.

It is part of the union’s ramped up approach to tackle officer abuse.


USE also issues decals to tripartite partners such as the Ministry of Home Affairs as well as officers’ work sites to warn against officer abuse.


It has also developed an app for officers to file abuse incidents and other issues.

The union has received 208 reports to date, 16 of which are abuse cases.