Singapore

New guidelines for private security agencies to identify radicalised individuals

The best way for private security agencies to identify potentially radicalised individuals is through whistleblowers, said security associations.

The Security Association of Singapore (SAS) yesterday announced its plans to introduce new guidelines to identify and manage potential cases of radicalised individuals.

The guidelines will be confirmed after consulting the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Singapore Police Force.

The move follows the arrests of two Aetos auxiliary police officers last month under the Internal Security Act.

SAS has 142 members among the private security agencies here. Its president, Mr Raj Joshua Thomas, told The New Paper that it wanted to restore public confidence in private security agencies and personnel.

He said: "This is the first time there will be guidelines to identify radicalised individuals in the private security industry."

Whistle-blowing procedures will be drawn up to educate security officers on how to report potential cases of radicalisation to their immediate supervisors.

The new guidelines will also draw on existing indicators under the SG Secure movement to help agencies identify tell-tale signs of radicalised individuals.

Mr Thomas added: "It is unrealistic to try to vet security officers for potential radicalisation during recruitment."

VETTING

He echoed Minister of Law and Home Affairs K. Shanmugam'sstatement that no vetting process could have detected Muhammad Khairul Mohamed's radical beliefs when he signed on with Aetos in 2015.

Mr Weers Terry Nicholas, vice-president of the Association of Certified Security Agencies (ACSA), also supported the whistle-blowing approach.

He said: "Whistle-blowing helps to keep everyone alert and it also raises awareness among employees."

The ACSA represents 119 security agencies such as Aetos and Certis Cisco.

Four security firms also told TNP that whistleblowing is the way to go.

Mr Thomas, who said the SAS is hoping to release its guidelines by next month, said: "The procedures must be rolled out in a way that does not prejudice or target any creed or race. The focus must be on the radicalised officer's intention to commit harm, not on his religion."

A Singapore Police Force spokesman told TNP that while security personnel applicants are subject to screenings and checks, it is "neither always easy nor possible for authorities to detect signs of radicalisation in every case".

He added: "Relatives, colleagues, friends and the community are best placed to notice these signs.

"Early reporting can help the individual receive proper guidance and counselling, and protect Singapore and Singaporeans from the threat of terrorism."

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