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LC: Speech by S for S in moving the Resolution under Security and Guarding Services Ordinance Revision of Criteria for Issuing a Security Personnel Permit

     Following is the speech (English translation) by the Secretary for Security, Mr Lai Tung-kwok, in moving the Resolution under Security and Guarding Services Ordinance Revision of Criteria for Issuing a Security Personnel Permit in the Legislative Council today (June 10):


     I move that the motion, as printed on the Agenda, on the resolution which revises the criteria for issuing a Security Personnel Permit (SPP), be passed.

     Section 6(1)(b)(i) of the Security and Guarding Services Ordinance (the Ordinance) stipulates that the Security and Guarding Services Industry Authority (the Authority) may specify, by notice in the Gazette, the criteria that must be satisfied by a person before the Commissioner of Police may issue a permit to that person. Pursuant to section 6(3) of the Ordinance, the notice shall not be published in the Gazette unless and until it has been laid before and approved by this Council.

     Security service is one of the few industries in Hong Kong with a statutory age limit. Most of the practitioners are engaged in Category B security work which is general guarding work not requiring the carrying of arms and ammunition for various types of premises. According to the existing criteria, the upper age limit of Category B security work is 65.

     In recent years, there have been suggestions from the trade that the upper age limit for Category B security work should be relaxed.  Employers believe that such relaxation would help ease recruitment difficulties, while labour groups consider that the measure would provide more job opportunities for senior citizens who are still physically fit.

     The upper age limit was set twenty years ago.  Since then, Hong Kong has undergone major demographic changes with life expectancy increased and general health condition improved. In the public consultation on Population Policy, the public expressed broad support for the extension of working life.

     The Policy Agenda published in January 2015 announced a number of initiatives to promote a longer working life and unleash the potential of the local labour force. One of them is to suitably relax the upper age limit for Category B security work.

     Having considered the Population Policy objectives and the regulatory requirement of the trade, the Authority supported the following proposals: first, the upper age limit for Category B SPP should be revised from 65 to 70; and second, Category B SPP applicants and holders aged 65 or above are required to undergo a medical check every two years. This arrangement is on par with the existing requirement for Category A SPP.

     The Authority believes that a five-year extension of the age limit, coupled with a biennial medical check requirement, will strike an appropriate balance between the Population Policy objectives on the one hand, and the need to maintain the quality of security services, and public confidence therein, on the other.

     The extension of the age limit from 65 to 70 for Category B SPP and the imposition of a medical check requirement on Category B SPP applicants aged 65 or above require revisions to the permit issuing criteria as specified by the Authority under section 6(1)(b)(i) of the Ordinance. The revised criteria have to be approved by this Council in accordance with section 6(3) of the Ordinance before gazetting and implementation. Since the Hong Kong Police Force is preparing for the implementation of the proposals, including upgrading its computer systems, the exact date of gazetting and implementation will be fixed later. We expect the proposals to be implemented by the end of this year.

     Mr President, having taken into account the views of the trade and labour groups, and the need for trade regulation, the Authority believes that the proposed revisions would receive wide support, as they would not only benefit businesses and the community, but also maintain the service quality of the security industry.  I invite Members to approve the revised criteria.

     Thank you, Mr President.

Ends/Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Issued at HKT 15:47


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