Angry man with mask on with fists up

Pandemic rage in the security industry

We’ve all experienced some form of anxiety from the pandemic. Some maybe from health, finances or loneliness. We missed one. Pandemic rage is on the rise in the security industry.

The rise in verbal and physical abuse cases

One in every twenty officers was physically assaulted, found in a 2020 survey. This was up from one in every 30 before the circuit breaker or partial lockdown last April and May.  It was likely that he/she would be a senior security officer. 

The culprits’ frustrations came from the daily restrictions of movement, set by law during the lockdown or different phases. While wages increased for those vulnerable to abuse, there was no improvement in respect and recognition.

The culprits

Four in ten of those doing the abuse involved the public. This is followed by visitors (22.7 per cent), and then residents in the apartments where the officers work (15.7 per cent).  Survey’s done in other low wage industry’s like transport, cleaning, retail, and food-and-beverages, found similar abuse. More people work from home and security officers were called in to settle pandemic rage between neighbours. The heightened tensions of pandemic rage were evident.

In another survey this year,  42.3 per cent of security officers had encountered some form of abuse. Surprisingly, the biggest jump in reported abuse came from the officers’ employers — the security agencies. This jumped to 13.4 per cent from 3 per cent in the previous survey.

Industry solutions for pandemic rage

Besides pandemic rage, rest area’s were non-existent for outsourced workers. Building owners and service buyers were given a WorkCare grant to build or upgrade rest areas for outsourced workers.  A Nominated MP said that the situation in private condominiums was “appalling”. Uptake has been low among those who employ outsourced low-wage workers. This includes cleaners, security officers and landscape workers.

There’s always a need for human connection. We believe redeployment is the answer. Especially for long, arduous, repetitive and dangerous tasks for security guards. Redeployment with the use of robots can create opportunities.  Meaning upgrading education, job creation and use of human connection in areas needed at work.

Research has shown security robots can work 24/7, they are never late, they can minimize the act of bribery and even record it. They can also minimize the possibility of risking humans’ lives when it comes to pandemic rage.

Fighting the labour crunch

The O-R3 autonomous security robot patrolling.

Recently, management overseeing the employment of security, have been making tough and sometimes bad choices. A store manager from Takashimaya shopping centre received S$121,000 in bribes.  This was from a director of a security firm, White Knights Security Service,  to cover up a shortage in security guards.

Singapore faces a labour crunch, but we don’t see the need for robots to replace humans. Rather to fill in for the labour gap and prevent company violations.

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