March 2024 Issue: Co-operator Newsletter Quarterly March 2024

“I get satisfaction from helping people,” says 65-yo Anttonete Joseph of Premier Security Co-op

“I get satisfaction from helping people,” says 65-yo Anttonete Joseph of Premier Security Co-op
Caption: “I get satisfaction from helping people,” says 65-yo Anttonete Joseph of Premier Security Co-op

On most mornings before work starts, I would get my morning coffee from a nondescript canteen located in the building from across the street. It’s a routine I’ve familiarised myself with for the past three years – and one that only completes with one, a morning joe in hand; and two, when Ms Anttonete Joseph, 65, one of the building’s security officers, drops me a smile.

In her petite frame, Ms Joseph wields a profound seriousness about her duty, defying any preconceived notions one might have about age. Sometimes, she is stationed at the reception, helping visitors visiting the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) sort their administrative works. Other times, she is seen screening staff and visitors with a metal detector by the lifts or reviewing their bags and carryalls behind the X-ray machine.

Anttonette Joseph Premier Security Co-operative

Often, a warm, genuine smile graces her lips, offering a friendly respite amidst the strictness demanded by her profession. She greets the folks. And they greet back.

“It’s been nine years since I started working (as a security officer),” she tells me one morning, recounting her career trajectory. The sexagenarian had previously dabbled in the hospitality industry before pivoting to her current role at Premier Security Co-operative Limited, a co-operative that doles out security services, in 2015 at the recommendation of her sister-in-law. “I decided I wanted to do something different.”     

Interestingly, the security services provider co-operative was founded by two leading co-operatives—the Singapore Government Staff Credit Co-operative Limited and the Singapore Police Co-operative Society Limited—in 1984. It was also the brainchild of Mr Goh Yong Hong, then the Commissioner of Police of the Singapore Police Force, and who had thought to tap on the expertise and experience of retired police officers.

Over the years, Premier Security has also begun providing jobs for more, including retired police officers, retired staff from the armed forces, and folks, like Ms Jospeh.

Anttonette Joseph Premier Security Co-operative

“We are focused on safeguarding and securing (the building),” she says. The co-operative has provided her the training such as crowd control, to develop her capabilities as a security officer. Today, she and her team are licensed security officers. “To put simply, my team and I make sure everything goes well.”

A pivotal moment in her career switch, Ms Joseph still remembers how she felt on her first week stationed at the ministry. “It was my first time walking into this ministry, and it did scared me a bit because of the tight security required for the role,” she recalls. Despite the initial unease, Ms Joseph found solace in the knowledge that she wasn't alone in this endeavour.

The support of her colleagues and the camaraderie within the security team gradually helped her navigate the complexities of her new role, transforming that first week's trepidations into a foundation of resilience.

Distress cases—the likes of attempted force entries to buildings or passerby accidents—are part and parcel of the lives of any security officers. It can get overwhelming at times, Ms Joseph, who has been involved in a few undisclosable incidents, says. “It is crucial to approach these cases in a calm and collected manner.”   

Anttonette Joseph Premier Security Co-operative

Yet, of all the incidents she has handled, the memory of her helping a 14-year-old escape her stepfather who had allegedly been abusive, would be forever etched in her mind. According to Ms Joseph, the teenager was “sitting outside the building in her uniform” in the day which piqued her curiosity. The teenager eventually approached Ms Joseph, who rang up a hotline for further assistance. “I don’t know how she found the place,” Ms Joseph muses.

For the uninformed, employees under Premier Security are not always security officers and the services provide are not limited to the provision of security officers too. Employees can run the gamut from security officers to consultants, while services may include security audits, cash in transit services, goods escort or patrol car services, and more. Today, there about 200 employees working under the co-operative.

When asked what gets her going at the co-operative, Ms Jospeh did not hesitate to answer. “I get satisfaction from helping people. They do come to us for help sometimes,” she says. “And I just love helping them.”

Faces of Co-operator is a seasonal column featuring the stories behind co-operative employees and members. Here, we featured Ms Anttonete Joseph of Premier Security Co-operative. 

Words and Photos by Sng Ler Jun

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