Why should we care that we are getting security officers from Taiwan?

A lot of Singaporeans are up in arms about a report that at least two private security firms in Singapore are looking to Taiwan to fill auxiliary police officer (APO) positions in Singapore. Economy is bad, people are looking for jobs. Why are we giving jobs to foreigners? If we need more APOs, why don’t we just recruit in Singapore?

Wait. Before you get upset too, consider this. Certis Cisco are looking to hire university graduates from Taiwan. The starting salary is S$2,500. With a S$2,000 joining bonus and a $2,000 bonus at the end of the contract. Compare that to what Certis Cisco are offering Singapore. The starting salary for Singaporean APO with a minimum of 3 credits in N-lvel is S$2,500. The joining bonus is $15,000.

That’s right. The terms offered for Singaporeans are far better than what’s offered to Taiwanese. Yet, it seems that the private security firms are finding it difficult to get the necessary manpower. I mean… ask yourself. Can you think of anyone around you who wants to be an APO? Or anyone who would lose the opportunity to be an APO because these two private security companies are recruiting from Taiwan? I bet you can’t.

If that’s the case, then why get so worked up? What harm to Singaporeans does this move cause? If none, then why are we getting so worked up?

Then there’s another group of people who are saying that this shows that there are not enough people to keep Singapore safe. They cite the figure that there are only about 170 police officers per 100,000 population in Singapore. So few! How can they keep us all safe? And the difficulty in recruiting APOs and police officers just shows how that this problem will only get worse!

Those people confuse input with outcome. Yes. Singapore can indeed do with more police officers and well-trained APOs and security officers. Especially given the threat of terrorism, we definitely need to beef up our security forces. But. That doesn’t meant that Singapore isn’t a safe city. In fact, according to the Economic Intelligence Unit, Singapore is the second safest city in the world, just behind Tokyo.

What gives? Maybe it’s not that the police is that good at what they do. But more that Singaporeans are a law-abiding lot. Be that as it may, it still means that the number of police officers that we have are up today’s challenges. Isn’t that good? That we can achieve so much with so little. We should be happy, right? Quality is more important that quantity, no?

If we are so good, then why do we need to get Taiwanese as APOs now? Well… because of the threat of terrorism. Then why can’t get from Singapore? Because we need more police officers. Huh? What’s the link? Because police officers HAVE to be Singaporeans. And they are way better paid (joining bonus for sergeants alone is $30,000!!!). If we need to have more police officers AND more APOs, you think we can find so many Singaporeans to fill all those roles? Stop dreaming.

So can you now understand why we need to recruit APOs from outside Singapore?

[Image from Certis Cisco]


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