Intelligence Policing and Challenges It Faces Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

police adopted intelligence-Led policing? What are the problems associated with its implementations?

Over time, policing methods have advanced, with the most recent strategy in improving response time of police being intelligence-led policing (or ILP). ILP is still in its initial developmental stages, is still not wholly understood, and has not yet been adopted by all agencies (Taylor, Kowalyk and Boba 2007). Studying police managers' views and attitudes can help recognize obstacles. Depending on findings of research, when initiating this strategy, top police officers obtain the information required for foreseeing problems and understanding supervisors' mind-set. Strategy transformations spring from shifts in objectives. For instance, London's Metropolitan police was organized by Sir Robert Peel for focusing not on response, but on prevention of crime (Johnson 1988). Improvements were generated through technological advances like automobiles and telephones. These improvements served to lessen response time, as well as expand an officer's patrol coverage (Phillips 2012).

Intelligence-driven methods have their roots in financial limitations, which are modern policing's reality. New public control of policing via financial audits (Crawford 1997) and growth in information demands from the society at risk (Ericson and Haggerty 1997) have produced a wealth of statistical information, which enables external agencies to check police performance. A large contribution to this intelligence-led policing tactic traces back to two influential reports of UK, which dealt with value-for-money strategies and financial management (Ratcliff 2002).

Policing is an affair that revolves around adequate, accurate knowledge. In the last 15 years, people have voiced their opinions in moving from a reactive, intuition-driven, traditional policing approach to one, which is intelligence-driven, pre-emptive, and proactive (Collier 2006). The latter promotes use of evidence-based, accurate data and evaluations for providing direction to management and guiding the actions of police at every level of a policing facility. The aim is complementing intuition-driven actions with knowledge obtained from assessments on amassed operational data, like criminal characteristics and crime figures (Collier et al., 2004; Viaene et al. 2009).

Notably, ILP brought to mind the significance of supporting decision-making in policing with improved information at every level of the organization. This plays the role of a framework in developing process and technology integration essential for gathering, analyzing, and providing relevant facts to the police in their attempts to curb crime and safeguard the public. It also serves as the ideal facilitator of an operationalized business intelligence approach with enterprise aims (Viaene et al. 2009).

ILP avoids the detailed parameters such a milieu's practical aspects. Thus, the Amsterdam-Amstelland Police Department (AAPD) has centered itself upon a more advanced framework, namely CompStat, to drive their efforts. CompStat was begun in 1994 by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) (Weisburd et al., 2004). This process is strategic and goal-oriented, and makes use of operational strategy, information technology (IT) and managerial accountability for guiding police actions (Walsh and Vito, 2004). It aims at instantiating ILP in U.S. policing, by setting an example to other, international police departments (Viaene et al. 2009).

Implementation of intelligence-led policing

Beginning from the mid-80s, declines in cost of digital information storage and computing power, accompanied by digital operating system streamlining have together enabled extensive diffusion of numerous new technologies that facilitate fighting crime. With computerized police records, which allow better managerial and statistical operation of police departments, a realization came about that these very records could have potential use in intelligence and crime investigations, and crime mapping, in some instances. Interest of law enforcement officials in adopting geographic information systems for mapping crime incidence transpired in tandem with research which recognized criminal behavior and crime patterns in the developing environmental criminology field (Ratcliff 2004a).

With initiation of ILP, better IT was viewed as a solution to manage the expected surge of intelligence and information anticipated as an outcome of a modification in the new approach. The import of an efficient IT intelligence system was recognized by the police as well as by the businesses that are rapidly filling this niche market of intelligence. Intelligence systems have replaced conventional collator cards, as the former can stock and sort large data quantities; subsequently data requirements also have grown. However, several issues exist with regards to police databases; these must be addressed (Ratcliff 2002).

It might be possible for policing to benefit from ILP approaches, which are IT-driven. However, many researchers have come forth with alternative justifications for bureaucrats' enthusiasm to gather information. They have indicated that key changes to society at the turn of twentieth century have been a factor in the rising public demand for information. Communities' growing fragmentation, growth of risk society, insecurity and fear, has given rise to an enormous need for enhanced knowledge and security (Maguire 2000). Currently, private sector firms are filling up this market; its growth is evident through the development of private security companies, like insurance companies, burglar alarm manufacturers and shopping-mall security guards. The public sector should also fulfill its need for enhanced information, and police forces are now viewed as the custodians of most of the knowledge pertaining to crime (Ratcliff 2002).

ILP is a cutting-edge approach to furthering efforts in prevention of crimes. It is a targeted, strategic, and future-oriented strategy which concentrates on the recognition, assessment and control of existing and emerging risks and issues (de Lint 2006). ILP does not deal with amassing of crime information; rather, it integrates data into police's strategic mission, including curbing of numerous terrorist and criminal activities (Carter and Carter 2009). The strategy shares many features with other approaches of policing. Still in the embryonic stage, ILP is yet to mature adequately for appropriate examination to ascertain its success. Thus, agencies may be led to pause until growth of ILP in other police organizations transpires. Despite its potential barriers, ILP will become an extensively-adopted strategy in future (Phillips 2012).

Currently, the National Intelligence Model (NCIS 2000) offers an operational framework for organizing policing-related intelligence. Simply put, this model can be described as supporting an organized procedure of collecting, storing and examining intelligence for backing a tasking conference that analyses issues and accordingly assigns police resources. The model endorses a specialized meeting structure for developing quick time, as well as long-term solutions to issues. It also defines numerous analytical products, which must be produced for supporting the process of tasking. The model bases itself on a well-defined distinction between crime which shows local effect and can be handled by a simple command unit (level 1); cross-border offenses which impact two or more command units (level 2); and national and global-level crimes (level 3) (Cope 2004).

Street level local police are vital sources of primary data (Manning and Hawkins 1989) which is crucial to crime analysis development. However, the authority linked with holding back or getting into information resources represents a key barrier manifested all through the 'necessity to understand culture', which surrounds intelligence work. The analysts' role as translators of information, in this regard serves as a potential challenge to the power of officials; it is noted by Chan (2001: 146) that: As information represents a fountainhead of power, IT can result in power struggles. IT can hamper street level police's autonomy and discretion, while concurrently enhancing IT specialists' status. The potential value of primary data may justify why it is seldom shared (Cope 2004).

Why it has been adopted by the police

The significance of understanding and managing risk in modern-day societies has shaped crime-control systems (Maguire 2000). ILP typifies concerns with recognizing, prioritizing and interceding to reduce risk. Intelligence may be defined in the form of information developed for guiding police operations. Five stages are central to the ILP process; these are: Acquisition; it highlights the necessity of an information framework for assisting police forces so that they have the means for gathering, storing and cataloguing information meant for being cross-examined. Analysis; it transforms raw data into actionable information by looking for crime data patterns, linking criminal activities or creating comprehensive suspect profiles. Review; this stage offers the means for prioritizing intelligence such that the risks and crimes that are most critical can be first acted upon. Lastly comes evaluation of action by way of analysis. Research, however, proved that it is rare to carry out this stage as analysts often lack the capability of conducting evaluations. Also, limited feedback can be obtained from operational officials regarding the action taken by them. This process may be linear, i.e., information passes through individual stages for development for police action, or on the basis of feedback at every stage, thereby forming a cycle of intelligence (Cope et al. 2001; Cope 2004).

Investigation of crime is critical for ILP to function effectively, as it attempts to provide appropriate data to appropriate individuals at appropriate times. (Fletcher 2000: 114). This investigation integrates information gathering and review into practicable summaries (e.g., networks charts or crime maps) for easier interpretation. When police can better comprehend criminal issues' nature, recommendations for police action logically ensue. All through research, the idea of analysts offering recommendations concerning police tasking sparked substantial debate among…

Sources Used in Document:


Anderson, R 1994, "Intelligence-led policing: A British perspective," in A Smith(ed) Intelligence-led policing: International perspective on policing in the 21st Century, Lawrenceville, NJ: International Association of Law Enforcement intelligence Analyst.

Anderson, R 1997, "Intelligence-led policing: A British Perspective," In Intelligence-led policing: International Perspective on policing in the 21st Century: Lawrenceville, NJ: International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analyst.

Bennett, T 1994, 'Community policing on the ground: developments in Britain,' in D.P. Rosenbaum(ed) The challenge of community policing: Testing the promises, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage.

Carter, DL and Carter, JG 2009, "Intelligence-Led Policing: Conceptual and Functional Considerations for Public Policy," Criminal Justice Policy Review 20, no. 3: 310-325

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