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Guardians of Our Home: At Work with a Crime Scene Specialist
From combing a crime scene to dusting for fingerprints in a lab, HTX Crime Scene Specialists support Police investigations through the application of S&T.

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PHOTOS: Soo Jun Xiang

Guardians of Our Home is a series that features civilian careers in the Home Team. Check out the MHA Merit Scholarship to learn how you can pursue a fulfilling career and jumpstart your leadership journey in Science and Technology. 

HARITH SHAH BIN ROSLAN
Crime Scene Specialist, Crime Scene Squad, Crime Scene Forensics Team, Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX)
In a laboratory illuminated only by windows along one wall, we watch as HTX Crime Scene Specialist Harith straps on a pair of latex gloves and picks up a nondescript drink can in one hand, and a brush in the other. 

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As a UV light is shone at the drink can, Harith dabs his brush in a dish of green powder and begins “painting” the can gently.

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Green specks of dust begin darting about in the air, but not all the powder is sent flying; some of it remains on the can. As the strokes add up, a shape begins to form. Harith nods, content with what he sees – a fingerprint, and potentially, a lead in finding a suspect.

This is just another day at work for Harith, for whom being a member of the HTX Crime Scene Forensics Team is a dream come true. 

A Passion for Investigation
The Crime Scene Forensics Team plays a crucial role in supporting investigations by the Singapore Police Force (SPF). As a Crime Scene Specialist, Harith, 29, processes and analyses crime scenes, unearthing evidence to find investigative leads. 

“When suspects are apprehended based on forensic leads that our team has processed, I feel a great sense of accomplishment,” he shared. “It’s good to know that our work directly contributes to SPF’s crimefighting efforts and to strengthening the public’s trust in the Home Team.”

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On the ground: Harith works at crime scenes to identify and retrieve items of evidence for processing, a critical stage in the investigative chain.

Recently, Harith and his fellow Forensics officers responded to a case at an MRT station. “It was the rush hour, and it was paramount that we identify the suspect quickly,” recalled Harith. 

The pressure was on, with the team analysing the crime scene under the curious eyes of the public. Fingerprints were retrieved from the exhibits, leading to the swift arrest of the suspect. Harith attributes the operation’s success to the regular evidence-collection exercises that his team undergoes. “That’s why we can remain calm and composed while working against the clock,” he said.
 
A Passion, Nurtured from Young
Harith has known, right from his secondary school days, that a career in Forensics as a civilian officer was what he wanted. “My first encounter with the world of Forensics was through TV shows,” he shared. “It was cool how Forensics specialists could derive critical information from almost any piece of evidence. This spurred my interest in applying Science and Technology to solving crimes.”

This led Harith to join the Home Team in 2015. “My studies taught me the Science behind Forensics,” he said, “while on-the-job training with HTX has equipped me with the skills to process and analyse crime scenes.” 
 
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Practise makes perfect: Simulated crime scenes help Harith and his fellow Forensics officers sharpen their skills.

Harith remembers the first homicide case that he worked on. “I was a fairly new officer, and what I saw at the scene was a swift reality check,” he recalled. “While we’re trained to work on such cases, the real deal threw a curve at me.” 

As Harith focused on his duties – ensuring that evidence was correctly identified, collected and transported to the lab – he counted on the words of encouragement from his fellow officers to keep him grounded. “I felt proud of myself for pulling through,” he said, “and even more proud to be part of an inspiring team.”

A Passion, Fuelled by Teamwork
Harith attributes his passion for the Home Team to the close-knit relationship he shares with his fellow officers. “Due to the methodical, problem-solving nature of our work, it helps to have a different perspective whenever we encounter roadblocks,” he said. “That’s when having a second pair of eyes can do wonders.”

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Team chemistry: Harith gets a helping hand from a fellow officer.

Asked what are the qualities that Crime Scene Specialists need to have, Harith had this to share: “An interest in Science and Technology; an inquisitive mind and eye for detail; the ability to work under intense pressure; and strong interpersonal skills. These traits have a way of bouncing off each other, and help to create a very productive work environment!”

As part of his duties, Harith also serves as a mentor to new officers during their on-the-job training phase. “I support them in assimilating into our work culture,” he said. “And when we’re at a crime scene, I provide supervision and advice, in the same way that I was guided through my early cases.”

As for what words of advice he has for those considering a career in the Home Team, Harith said, “It’s normal to go through a learning curve when we first start work, but the great team spirit at HTX will help you to grow in confidence and knowledge. If you’re looking for a fulfilling career in Science and Technology, the Home Team is for you!”


Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Merit Scholarship
The MHA Merit Scholarship is awarded to outstanding individuals who are passionate about strengthening Singapore’s security and public safety. 

Recipients of the MHA Merit Scholarship may choose from a variety of exciting and rewarding Home Team careers according to their interests and aspirations. This civilian scholarship offers six career tracks: a generalist track as a Home Affairs Senior Executive and five specialist tracks in Intelligence; Psychology; Commercial Affairs; Science and Technology; and Internal Security. 

Applications now open! Click here to learn more about the MHA Merit Scholarship.

Guardians of Our Home
- Home Affairs Senior Executive career track: An Eye on the Future 
- Intelligence career track: A Police Analyst at Work
- Commercial Affairs career track: Taking a Global View of Fighting Crime
- Psychology career track: Busting Myths About Being a Home Team Psychologist
- Science and Technology career track: Recovering Digital Evidence to Fight Crime
- Internal Security career track: Internal Security, from the Inside
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Shafiq Guee
  2. 29 January 2021
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