SINGAPORE – Several proposals to improve the security industry and help it deal with the challenges ahead were outlined on Wednesday (Oct 2).

Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, president of the Security Association Singapore, told the annual Security Industry Conference at Marina Bay Sands that the sector is expected to come under pressure to adapt to new technologies and looming manpower constraints.

“There are 252 security agencies in the industry now, and I fully expect that many will close down in the next few years, succumbing to these pressures,” said Mr Thomas.

He called for targeted government support for the Progressive Wage Model sectors, including the security industry, where staff wages are increased through upgrading skills and improving productivity.

Mr Thomas suggested that such support could come in a Special Wage Credit Scheme – a government grant that co-funds wage increases – specifically catered for these sectors.

He also proposed that the scheme could be introduced next year and tapered off over the following three years to give time for technology to be introduced so firms could reduce their reliance on manpower and for client budgets to catch up.

“Our proposal is for this scheme to (have) conditions attached such that only companies that are able to show that they are taking up technology, building their capabilities to reduce reliance on manpower and upskilling their employees should be eligible,” Mr Thomas said.

He also proposed that a grant be introduced to subsidise buyers of security services who want to engage consultants with the requisite capabilities.

Mr Thomas added that there is no point having security agencies armed to the teeth with technology and other capabilities if there is no demand from buyers.

“(A grant) will encourage buyers to make the move from headcount-based contracts and manpower-heavy operations to technology-enabled solutions and contracts that are better, faster and cheaper,” he said.

The Security Association Singapore said it will also engage regulators on reviewing licensing conditions and support security agencies seeking to merge or be acquired as the market consolidates.

“The state of the industry looks uncertain and tough in the coming years. But we can and we will get through this together,” Mr Thomas said.