More security officers facing abuse on the job amid Covid: Poll
Survey finds two in five were exposed to some form of abuse in their course of work
The security officer at a shopping mall was trying to take the temperature of a visitor. He had to speak louder so the visitor could hear him through the mask.
But it sparked an ugly confrontation, with the man berating the guard in public because he thought he was being yelled at.
The incident last December was among several reports that Mr Francis Chng, a director of security company Horus I, received from the 200 or so security officers the company hires.
He added that many occurred when security officers tried to enforce safe management measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
His guards were not the only ones subjected to abuse. A recent survey of 1,002 security officers found that it has become increasingly common for them to be subjected to some form of abuse, with the Covid-19 pandemic being blamed for increased tensions.
Conducted between September and November last year, the survey found that two in five security officers were exposed to some form of abuse in their course of work.
A previous survey of 707 officers conducted between January and February last year found that about one in three was abused on the job.
Mr Chng noted that officers who work at condominiums or shopping malls, where they come into contact with more people, tend to be abused more than those who are deployed at warehouses.
"But we are lucky to have understanding clients who listen to both sides of the story and don't immediately blame the officers when there is a misunderstanding," he added.
Commenting on the survey results released yesterday, Union of Security Employees (USE) executive secretary Steve Tan said security officers were most commonly subjected to verbal abuse.
USE and the Singapore University of Social Sciences had conducted the two surveys to understand the working conditions, well-being and salary issues of security officers.
USE, an affiliate of the National Trades Union Congress, has 18,158 members.
In the latest study, 37.2 per cent of respondents indicated they were verbally abused, and 4.8 per cent said they were both verbally and physically abused.
The respondents said the most common source of abuse was from the public, followed by visitors and residents.
To help combat such incidents, USE will launch an app for officers to report abuse and work-related grievances to its mediation service. This will be done by the third quarter of this year.
But there was also an upside in the survey.
Eight out of 10 security officers said they were satisfied with their job, and two-thirds said they were confident they will not lose their job.