Armed with determination and passion, ASP Saba’aton guides investigators to uncover the truth and deliver justice.
By: Leow Su Ling
Did you know that even the sharpest investigators had to learn their craft in “school”? For our Investigation Officers (IOs), that school is the Home Team School of Criminal Investigation (HTSCI).
The HTSCI was established in 2011 as a specialist unit under the Singapore Police Force (SPF) to serve the investigation training needs of the Police and Home Team. The HTSCI provides IOs and forensics officers with the broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies required for criminal investigations. We find out more from Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Saba’aton Abas, a veteran Trainer who guides new IOs as they embark on their learning journey.
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve been in the Force for over 30 years and have been a member of the investigation fraternity for the past 26 years. I’m currently a Senior Specialist in Criminal Investigation and a Training Manager at the HTSCI.
I joined the HTSCI in 2020 because I found it meaningful to be part of the team that delivers quality training to our IOs. Being a Trainer allows me to develop the knowledge of trainees and bolster their morale by tapping on my own experiences as an IO. I love teaching and I’m very happy when I see former trainees doing well.
What does your work involve?
As an HTSCI Trainer, my main responsibility is to provide criminal investigation and forensic training by putting together an effective programme to equip officers with the necessary skills, expertise and knowledge to carry out investigation work. I also teach modules such as Ethics in Investigation and Traffic Investigation.
IOs go through different tiers of training at the HTSCI. Firstly, they must complete the milestone Home Team Basic Investigation Course, which teaches the key principles of conducting investigations. This is followed by the Home Team Intermediate Investigation Course and the Home Team Advanced Investigation Course.
Besides these milestone courses, the HTSCI also conducts specialised courses for subjects such as commercial crime, sexual crime and post-blast investigations. We also conduct courses for supervisors such as the Investigation Manager Course for Officers-in-Charge and the Senior Investigation Manager Course.
Last but not least, the HTSCI runs courses on technical subjects such as forensic accounting and cybercrime investigations. We also conduct regular assessments of IOs. Together, these efforts equip our IOs with a range of investigative knowledge, skills and competencies.
How has the training for our IOs changed over time?
We regularly review our training methods to incorporate the latest teaching methodologies and technology. For example, we now offer e-courseware and e-learning materials for self-paced online learning by trainees. Our classroom sessions are also designed to provide trainees with a deeper understanding of subjects through reflective discussions, scenario-based lessons, case studies and individual and team presentations. Trainees are also required to demonstrate critical thinking, collaboration, teamwork and communication skills in problem-solving.
Together, these lessons enhance the formation of higher-order thinking abilities and the necessary expertise by our trainees.
What’s your greatest satisfaction as an HTSCI Trainer?
My greatest satisfaction comes from knowing I’ve played a part in shaping and developing our trainees’ knowledge and bolstering their motivation to become even better IOs. I feel great when my trainees tell me they’re doing well, because I feel that I’ve played my part.
What words of advice do you share with new IOs?
IOs need to possess good analytical skills and conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. They must also balance passion, determination and compassion, all while maintaining unimpeachable integrity. It’s challenging work, but very rewarding to uncover the truth and help to deliver justice!