Placement Student Opportunities: Research Assistants

Date Posted: 16 days ago

Job Description

Reference number



£300 £300 per week.


Administrative Officer NCA Grade 6

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

52 weeks (1 year) starting July/August 2022

Type of role

Administration / Corporate Support
Operational Research

Working pattern


Number of posts



Bristol, St Neots

About the job


Placement students are available in NCA’s National Investigative Capabilities (NIC) which provides all UK police investigations access to niche expertise or national functions which are otherwise not available within force. The placement students – Research Assistants – will conduct a variety of office-based tasks in support of the operational delivery of the following teams:

The Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS) provides operational support to major crime investigations, the majority of which are serious sexual offences committed by strangers. Their aim is to identify serial offending and persons of interest in support of investigations into some of the most serious sexual crimes committed across the country.

The UK Missing Persons Unit (MPU) is the UK national and international point of contact for all missing persons and unidentified bodies cases. The unit is the centre for information exchange and expertise on missing person issues, and is a public-facing team with its own website and social media presence.

The Behavioural Investigative Advisers (BIAs), more commonly known as ‘offender profilers’, provide specialist advice to major crime investigations in order to help them understand the behaviour of an unknown offender and to assist them with developing lines of inquiry that will identify potential suspects. They are part of the Major Crime Investigative Support (MCIS) function.

The SCAS and MPU students will be based in their offices in Bristol.
The BIA student will be based in the MCIS offices in St Neots, near Bedford.

***All NCA officers must hold SC Enhanced upon entry as a minimum. To meet the National Security Vetting requirements for this role you will need to have resided in the UK for a minimum of 3 out of the past 5 years. For more information please see the Candidate information Pack***

Job description

The Research Assistant is an integral member of the BIA, MPU and SCAS teams and needs to be able to adapt to the changing demands of the role with energy and enthusiasm.

The role requires an understanding of the principles of good research. You will therefore need to be able to demonstrate your knowledge of research methods, including the use of statistical packages for data analysis, e.g., SPSS, and behavioural science oriented research search engines.

It is essential that candidates have successfully completed the first two years of an undergraduate behavioural science degree and have their university’s support to undertake a one year work placement as the third year of study.


As Research Assistants in these busy operational teams, there is no such thing as a typical day. As part of your duties, you will be required to review and update the teams on newly published research, conduct small-scale research projects, respond to ad-hoc requests for information and help with some administrative tasks.

You may also have the opportunity to be directly involved in tactical case meetings, attend conferences with internationally renowned speakers, and work alongside the UK’s leading practitioners in a variety of specialist and complex fields.


The following qualifications/skills are essential to the role and proof will be required at interview:

  • You will currently be enrolled on a behavioural science undergraduate degree (a degree concerned with understanding human behaviour, e.g. Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Behavioural
Economics, etc). You will have successfully completed the first two years of study and with your university’s full support for conducting a placement year.
  • Applicants for the BIA Research Assistant role must be undertaking a BPS accredited Psychology degree.

Please ensure the dates of any accreditations you are relying on are entered on to the CV.

Should you progress to the assessment stage of the process, you will be required to provide a copy of the original certificate.

Failure to provide evidence at interview may result in your application not progressing to the next stage.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Communicating and Influencing

We only ask for evidence of these behaviours on your application form:

  • Making Effective Decisions

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • You will have a good knowledge of research methods and principles, including the use of statistical packages


If you are an active police pension member immediately prior to joining the NCA, you can continue your membership throughout your employment with us as if you were a serving police officer. If you do remain an active member and subsequently return to a police force, you should be able to continue your membership there too.

All officers in the NCA are members of the UK Civil Service. You will be eligible for:
  • Civil Service pension scheme
  • 26 days annual leave rising to 31 on completion of 5 years continuous service
  • Training and development opportunities
  • Cycle2work scheme

We take the welfare of NCA officers very seriously. All staff have access to Occupational Health services and there are a number of staff representative groups. We also have a range of sporting and other activities on offer.

We can provide flexible working arrangements if the role in question is suitable. These include flexi-time, job sharing and compressed hours (working contracted hours over a shorter period).

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