SINGAPORE – Singapore is rapidly stepping up its use of technology to keep its security industry relevant in the face of heightened security threats, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development Sun Xueling on Wednesday (Oct 2).

New initiatives to make the security industry more tech-savvy and to reduce its reliance on manpower come as agencies are starting to find it difficult to fill vacancies for security officers.

Half of the Republic’s current pool of security officers are over 55 years old as Singapore contends with an ageing workforce.

“We need to urgently transform the way security services are provided as this over-reliance on manpower is not sustainable. Technology offers us an opportunity to do so,” said Ms Sun, who was at the Security Industry Conference at Marina Bay Sands.

“When technology is integrated with manpower to provide a security solution, security agencies can move away from a purely manpower-reliant model, while achieving same or better security outcomes, at potentially lower cost. Such technologies are already available in the market,” she said.

Mr Andy Tan, director of the Singapore Police Force’s Centre for Protective Security, said that what this new focus on tech-based security will do is keep Singapore safe and secure by hiring and training more competent and professional security officers.

“Security officers work alongside the Home Team to keep Singapore safe and secure. It is our common interest to build a more competent and professional security industry, where security officers are equipped with the necessary skill sets to discharge their important security roles effectively,” he said.

“Beyond minimum standards, we will want to enhance proficiency of our security officers, leveraging technology to enhance security outcomes for all,” he added.

A few measures will therefore be put in place. For one thing, all government agencies will, starting from May 1, 2020, adopt “outcome-based contracts”, where it is specified in the contract what the agency hopes to achieve – integrating technology and manpower – rather than simply stating the number of security personnel the agency requires.

Singapore is also working towards having the systems used for video analytics across Singapore standardised, and made more “intelligent”.

Ms Sun said that security officers will soon be able to get accredited with new qualifications, under training procedures with a focus on new technology put in place to make security officers more capable and competent.

This framework will be developed under a memorandum of understanding signed on Wednesday by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Association of Certified Security Agencies, and the Security Association of Singapore.