Intelligence-Led Policing in Practice: Reflections From Intelligence Analysts

Published date01 June 2019
Date01 June 2019
Subject MatterArticles
Policing in Practice:
Reflections From
Intelligence Analysts
Morgan Burcher
and Chad Whelan
Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is a managerial law enforcement model that seeks to
place crime intelligence at the forefront of decision-making. This model has been
widely adopted, at least notionally, in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada,
and Australia. Drawing on interviews with intelligence analysts from two Australian
state law enforcement agencies, this article contributes to the relatively small body of
literature that has examined ILP in practice. The article identifies three relational
themes that inhibit the successful implementation of ILP: analysts and data, analysts
and tools, and analysts and decision makers. Furthermore, it calls attention to the
need to better understand the structure and operations within law enforcement
agencies, including the similarities and differences among organizational units, in
order to better understand how these nuances shape the practice of ILP.
intelligence-led policing, crime intelligence, intelligence analysts, law enforcement
Intelligence-led policing (ILP) seeks to move from a “reactive” or “prosecution-
directed mode” of policing to a more “proactive” style of crime prevention
School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Corresponding Author:
Morgan Burcher, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, 75 Pigdons Road, Waurn
Ponds, Geelong, Victoria, 3216, Australia.
Police Quarterly
2019, Vol. 22(2) 139–160
!The Author(s) 2018
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/1098611118796890
(Innes, Fielding, & Cope, 2005, p. 41; Innes & Sheptycki, 2004, p. 1). This
involves a shift away from responding to individual incidents and “threats” in
isolation to one that is future orientated and strategic in nature (J. G. Carter,
2013; Ratcliffe, 2016). ILP seeks to achieve this by placing what is often referred
to as “crime intelligence” at the forefront of decisions concerning the prevention
and control of crime (Guidette & Martinelli, 2009, p. 132; Ratcliffe, 2016,
p. 89).
Under this model, crime intelligence should guide operations “rather
than operations dictating intelligence-gathering priorities” (Ratcliffe, 2016, p. 6).
While gaining momentum for some years prior to this point, ILP was widely
adopted throughout the United Kingdom following the adoption of the
National Intelligence Model (NIM) by the U.K.’s Association of Chief Police
Off‌icers in 2000. The NIM, in short, is a “business model” that takes an
“intelligence-led approach to policing” (Belur & Johnson, 2016; James, 2013;
National Centre for Police Excellence, 2005, p. 8) and in 2004, the U.K.
Government legislated that all police forces in England and Wales were to
have fully implemented the NIM by the following year. ILP has since been
widely adopted in many countries including the United States, Canada,
Australia, and New Zealand (J. G. Carter, 2013; Gul, 2009; Ratcliffe, 2016).
Crime intelligence or the intelligence process, more broadly, is often concep-
tualized in terms of ideal models. The most well-known of such models is the
“intelligence cycle.” There are numerous versions of the intelligence cycle; how-
ever, they broadly follow the same six stages: planning, collection, collation and
evaluation, analysis, dissemination, and feedback (Gill & Phythian, 2013;
Warner, 2013). The most common criticism of the intelligence cycle is that the
practice of intelligence is much more f‌luid than as it is depicted in the model.
A further criticism is how it views intelligence in isolation, paying no consider-
ation to the broader law enforcement environment in which it sits, including a
failure to articulate how intelligence analysis is linked to decision-making. In
contrast, Ratcliffe’s (2016) 3-I model seeks to clearly illustrate the role of intel-
ligence within policing. The 3-I model is not necessarily a representation of how
intelligence functions within law enforcement currently, but a depiction of how
law enforcement organizations should function if they are to be truly
intelligence-led. The 3-I model consists of three components (crime intelligence
analysis, decision makers, and criminal environment) and three processes con-
necting these components (interpret, inf‌luence, and impact), creating a triangle
(Gul, 2009). There are two main differences between the intelligence cycle and
the 3-I model, and they primarily relate to the latter two “Is.” The f‌irst is the
signif‌icance placed on crime intelligence analysts having an inf‌luence over deci-
sion makers. The second, in turn, is for decision makers to actually implement
various initiates who do have an impact on crime. This is perhaps the most
contentious component of this model and is a key difference from other
models that often see the creation of an intelligence product and its dissemina-
tion as the conclusion of this process (Coyne & Bell, 2011; Ratcliffe, 2016).
140 Police Quarterly 22(2)

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT