If you have been waiting for the minutes taken during the Behavioral Science Centre (BSC) career talk. Here it is!
Home Team Behavioural Sciences Centre (HTBSC)
- What is the Home Team?
- Ministry of Home Affairs is its parent organization
- Set base in Home Team Academy
- How do Psychologists support HT operations?
- 3 ‘O’ concept:
– Operation: Investigation (interviewing, risk assessment), Major deployment/Crisis (crowd psychology, civil disobedience, morale management).
– Organisation: Selection & Assessment, Development (coaching & training).
– Officers: Resilience initiatives (e.g. if there’s a crisis, can the community rebound and cope with it?), Counseling services, Crisis intervention.
- 3 ‘O’ concept:
- What is the HTBSC?
- A research & training hub, a young department which started in 2005
- Report directly to Permanent Secretary MHA
- Research, training, operational support. To enhance officers’ operations at work
- Overseas visits for conferences, working trips or study visits
- Training and operational studies
- Difference between psychologist and researcher?
- Psychologist – permanent staff, develops expertise in one to two key areas but also expected to do a bit of everything
- Researchers – primarily focused on one key area of research/training, contract-based
- Crime Investigation & Forensic Psychologist
– Crime research like sex/violent crimes
– Organized crime research like unlicensed money lending (UML) – eg, factors that push them to start doing it, motivations, business models and structure in which they operate
– Drug offence research like drug mules (transporters/carriers/middlemen)
– Immigration related crime research like how deception takes place at checkpoints (issue of illegal immigrants)
– Detection of deception research
- Research Infrastructure
– Laboratory for forensic psychology research (e.g. non-verbal deception cues)
- Operations & Leadership Psychologist
– Command Leadership Research
– Leadership assessment development etc. e.g. look for behavioural indicators
– 360 feedback for HT leaders,
- – How best to train the officers (methodology)
- Resilience, Safety & Security Psychologist
– Levels of resilience research (e.g. individual, organizational, community, national levels of resilience), etc.
- Training for officers and leaders
- HTBSC Research Structure
- Researcher-driven research, e.g. terrorism
- International Visiting Research Programme (IVRP) e.g. Crime Linkages, eye-witness testimonials
- Psychologist-driven research e.g. youth crimes, command leadership
- Internship Programmes
- Checks & Balances
- Supervision by bosses
- Consultation with partners, HT officers – get their opinions
- Training courses, international conferences (e.g. SPCP, SIOP)
- Opportunities for postgraduate education like Masters. Advantage is that you can choose which field to specialize in, after the working experience for a few years. Disadvantage is relatively long waiting time.
- HTBSC Ops Support
- Electonic Focus Groups, facilitate discussions to see what went well/wrong after major ops
- Ops Research specifically for operations, e.g. situation awareness in command posts – observe how communication flow and what factors affect the situation
- HTBSC Products
- E.g. Research reports
Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities as a Psychologist
- Review papers – major & minor concept so that nobody is over-specialised; breadth is maintained to stay relevant
- Empirical Research Project, e.g. interviews with senior leaders, ground officers etc., detailed interviews with inmates
- Command & Crisis Leadership – situation awareness, crisis decision making, facilitate tactical games/case studies
- Behavioural Analysis – sex & violence, facilitate profiling exercises/case studies
- Ops Support
- Electronic Focus Groups, e.g. Singapore Youth Olympic Games, pre-ops sensing & post-ops review
- Ops Research Studies, e.g. situation awareness in command posts etc.
- Morale Sensing for major operations
- Counseling for HT officers
- Incident debriefing – breaking of bad news, supporting next-of-kin
- Leadership Work
- Train assessors, design exercises (role-play)
- Design 360 feedback, write reports
- Project management – write review papers, analysis of incidents
- A lot of meetings – write & vet minutes, updates on key projects, propose solutions
- Event management – venue/logistics/catering/manpower
- Financial procedures – liaise with vendors
- Why is this job enjoyable?
- Exposure to different fields of psychology
- Real-life application
- Interaction with a lot of people
- Opportunities for learning & self-development
- Most importantly, supportive & fun working environment
- Steep learning curve – need to be resourceful and take initiative
- Must be flexible as not everything has a clear structure
- Tight deadlines – must have good time management
- Preparedness, to be on standby all the time
- Stressful – must have own work-life balance
- Relatively lower pay as compared to similar premium organisations; must be clear of personal motivations
- Takes considerable time to climb up career ladder
Career in HTBSC
- Psychologist – minimum 2nd Upper Honours (Researchers in HTBSC – min 3rd class honours), although there are exceptions
- Interest in Psychology with willingness to learn, good interpersonal skills etc.
- Career Prospects
- HT Specialist Scheme
- studies/advancement in career
- 5-day work week, 18 days of leave
- Alternatively, join as a Behavioural Sciences Research Analyst
- 3 periods
– Feb to Apr (Full/Part-time) – Project-based.
– May to July (Full-time) – 12 to 14 weeks
– Dec (Full-time) – 5 weeks
- 3 periods
Apply: HTBSC Intern Manager Ms Stephanie Chan Stephanie_chan@mha.gov.sg
Next up: Ministry of Education! Stay tune!
NUS Psychology Society