The Association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA) has issued a public statement yesterday to condemn the untoward behaviour of a condo resident towards a security officer shown in a viral video and applauds the calm, composed and professional conduct of the security officer in which was described as a “tense situation”.
The letter that is signed off by ACSA’s president, Robert Wiener, states that the association does not tolerate the abuse of security officers whilst they are discharging their duties.
The viral video – which ACSA is referring to – captures an exchange between a condo resident and a Senior Security Supervisor of Eight Riversuites.
The supervisor wrote,
“The resident was visibly unhappy, aggressive and hurling vulgarities towards the whole incident and commented that he paid $1.5 million for his unit and not staying in a HDB unit and it was nonsense for him to pay 10 dollars for the overnight parking charges. Told him that we are just enforcing the rule He threatens to park the car at the main entrance driveway and walk into the condominium and told us that we can contact the Police if we wanted to. In order not to create a scene and aggravate the matter I decided to allow the driver in without paying the overnight charges and informed the resident that we will get the condominium management to contact him I am lodging this report for record purposes.”
Calls for deterrent sentence and security guards to be covered under POHA
The association which has 120 members under its care, also voiced its request for the Attorney General’s Office to press for a deterrent sentence and for authorities to cover security officers as public service workers under the Protection from Harassment Act (POHA).
In an earlier statement, Security Association Singapore (SAS) and ACSA, as well as training provider Leacov School of Security, made call for the law to provide for heavier penalties against those who abuse private security officers as they pledged to look into “all ways” to ensure security officers are able to keep themselves safe.
“To underscore the authority of our officers and the respect that is due to their work, and also to keep them safe, it would be very useful to provide for heavier penalties for abusers and stronger protection in law,”
Under POHA, only officers working in public places are recognised as “public service workers” and given extra protection, while those in non-public sites are only given “ordinary protection”.
The Penal Code also sets out harsher punishment for voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from their duties, carrying a maximum punishment of seven years’ jail and fine and caning while the offence of voluntarily causing hurt to a non-public servant carries a maximum sentence of two years’ jail and a $5,000 fine.
The statement added: “Currently, although our officers play an important role in Singapore’s security, they are not accorded a status in law that sufficiently recognises their importance.”
The group also noted that private security officers are not protected from litigation or prosecution in the discharge of their duties, and in the heat of the moment, officers may leave themselves open to legal liability.
“To protect them from retaliatory litigation, security officers are trained not to make any physical or violent moves themselves, but to ensure that their actions are witnessed or recorded, and to escalate the case where necessary,” said the statement.