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The Straits Times
February 17, 2022
A security officer signalled for the driver of a large sports utility vehicle (SUV) to stop when he drove into a barricaded lane at a drop-off point at United Square in Novena.
But the driver of the BMW X5 stormed out of the car and allegedly shoved the officer to the ground, causing the 56-year-old man to fracture his palm and injure his lower back.
The Union of Security Employees (USE) shared details of the incident on Wednesday (Feb 16) on its Facebook page to highlight the physical and verbal abuse security guards endure at work.
The police said they are investigating the incident, which occurred at around noon on Nov 6 last year.
The union, which is assisting the security officer and has provided him with quick relief funds, said the man is still on medical leave as a result of the alleged assault.
It did not reveal the security officer's name or his employer's details but gave The Straits Times a redacted copy of the police report he made.
The injured man wrote that he had worked as a senior security officer at United Square for about five years before the incident, when he was deployed to control traffic at the drop-off point at the mall.
In the report, he claimed the SUV driver almost knocked him over while moving into a restricted lane.
The driver was told to stop before he stepped out and allegedly assaulted the officer.
The incident adds to a list of cases of alleged abuse against security officers at their place of work.
On Jan 11 this year, the driver of a Bentley was arrested after purportedly threatening to run down a 62-year-old security officer with his car outside Red Swastika School in Bedok.
In another incident on Dec 17 last year, security officer Santhosh Chokkalingam was yelled at by a man when he intervened after the man became angry with safe distancing ambassadors for asking him to move away from a restricted zone of a foodcourt in Hillion Mall.
Such cases of abuse have become an almost daily occurrence for some officers, the results of the latest USE survey on the welfare, wages and job prospects of security officers showed.
In the survey of 1,000 security officers, conducted between July and September last year, about two in five said they had experienced verbal or physical abuse while on duty.
Older officers faced more abuse than their younger peers.
The survey results, announced on Dec 27 last year, also showed that members of the public were responsible for more than 40 per cent of abuse security officers experienced on the job.
USE, in its Facebook post, said there are heavier penalties for offences against security officers since the Private Security Industry Act was amended in 2021.
The changes, which are set to come into force later this year, will see those who voluntarily cause hurt to an officer on duty face a maximum of five years' jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
The union said it has placed notices around Singapore where security officers are deployed to remind the public to respect officers.
It also launched a mobile app last December for officers facing abuse to seek help and make reports more efficiently.
The union said: "USE will continue to protect our officers, including taking legal action against perpetrators."