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Be A Guardian: More Than Just Investigations

INSP Sarah is on the case! She shares with us what it takes to be an Investigation Officer.
GRAPHIC: Phylicia Poon

Be A Guardian showcases fulfilling career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

Bedok Police Division is one of the seven land divisions of the Singapore Police Force (SPF). The Division oversees criminal investigations within its jurisdiction, ensuring the safety and security of residents in the east. We spoke to Inspector (INSP) Sarah Habibah, an Investigation Officer based in Bedok Police Headquarters to find out more about her work.

Why did you join the Home Team?
When I was younger, I was inspired by the experiences of my parents, who were both Police officers. I’ve always thought of Policing as a cool and interesting job.

It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started thinking more seriously about a career in SPF. I felt that there will be opportunities to expand my skills, gain memorable experiences and help others.

INSP Sarah (right) discussing a case with her colleagues. PHOTO: Ashley Tuen

What’s a typical workday for you?
As Investigation Officers, we do a 12-hour shift and are on call for all the cases that happen during this period. Our Ground Response Force officers will brief us on the facts of a case that they’ve encountered while on duty, and then we’ll launch our investigations.

To better understand what has happened on the ground, we’ll access information related to a case via an online system called TRIAGE, which retrieves relevant case reports and calls from the public. We also review CCTV footage and meet witnesses and defendants for statements, as well as make the occasional trip to hospitals to speak with injured persons.

What is it about your work that makes it more than just conducting investigations?
Our duties don’t end after office hours. Sometimes, people will call us for updates on their case, and for advice. Often, victims need someone to listen to them after what they’ve been through. I have to be very understanding and patient in analysing their problems and providing advice. The Police are usually a person’s last resort when he or she don't know who else to turn to. As Investigation Officers, we always ensure that their concerns are heard and attended to.

PHOTO: Ashley Tuen

What’s one thing you'd like to share about the work of an Investigation Officer that the public may not know?
What the public thinks an Investigation Officer does is probably based on what they see in popular culture, but in reality, there's a whole community of officers working tirelessly behind the scenes to solve a case. There are lots of moving parts and long hours, just to get the smallest of leads. However, our efforts pay off when we're able to identify, trace and apprehend the suspects.

Can you share three qualities that are important for Investigation Officers to have?
Discipline – Investigation Officers have to be ready to respond at any time, and that comes with the responsibility of proper time management. When there’s a high volume of cases to handle, it’s important to pace yourself in order to avoid burnout.

Patience – It’s not a matter of how quickly you can work but how you keep your momentum going. You’ll eventually develop patience as you learn the ropes.

Grit – You have to be resilient as Investigation Officers handle many cases and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Your team will always have your back and be there to lend you a helping hand.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in the Home Team?
Don’t be daunted by the working hours. Being an Investigation Officer may seem like a huge responsibility, but you’ll build up your skills and endurance over time and learn to cope when things become intense. Having patience, courage and a can-do attitude will allow you to go far.

Be A Guardian of Our Home
A recipient of the Local Merit Scholarship, INSP Sarah Habibah holds a Degree in Business Administration from Nanyang Technological University and is currently an Investigation Officer based at Bedok Police Division.

Keen to become a Home Team Guardian? Visit the MHA Careers Webpage to find out more about Sponsorship and Scholarship opportunities.

Written by

Phylicia Poon


28 January 2020

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