+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com


CILO 1 Evaluate intelligence-related research questions: Performance Standards.
Unsatisfactory Baseline
Developing Good
No elements of
Explain one Explain
…that are
given problem
element of a multiple
discussed in
elements of a possible
the light of
MOI remit.
No sources cited.
One source
…and used lessons
high-quality to support
learnt and
sources cited evaluation
of research
CILO 2 Present results: Performance Standards.
Criteria Unsatisfacto Baseline
No data
Gather one
data set.
multiple data
sets into a
No results
Results presented.
Create one
…and apply
…and discuss
how issues with
ess and quality
may affect
presentation that
labelling and enhances clarity
of message.
CILO 3 Recommend strategies: Performance Standards.
Unsatisfactory Baseline Developing
No plan
plan with
[1.3.4] 50
plan with
discuss how
lead to less
Offers no
evidence to
[2.3.2] 50% support strategy
quality of
to produce
Offers one
piece of
pieces of
evidence to
to support
support for
the strategy
CILO 4 Write reports in conformance with industry standards: Performance Standards.
Unsatisfactory Baseline
Developing Good
No apparent
One link
…and frame
organization of between
among ideas provide
ideas is
within the
clear and
explanation context of a
easy to
and support broader
to the
No apparent
…and skilful
observance observance
demonstrated adaptation to
Template observance of
of a limited of all
attention to
range of
4.3 Style
[4.1.1] 20
No apparent
observance of
conventions of
formal written
of the most
obvious and
of formal
of most
of formal
written style
…with word
to the
and fluency.
How to write an Intelligence Briefing
What is an intelligence briefing?
An intelligence briefing delivers information on a particular subject. Intelligence
briefings are short and to the point. Your intelligence briefing should cover a
topic related to policing/crime/intelligence in Saudi Arabia. [CILO 1: Evaluate
Intelligence-Related Research Question].
How to write an intelligence briefing
Your assignment should be organised as follows:
Summary, or Key Findings (Bullet Points).
Introduction (Short).
Main Points.
Conclusion (Short).
1 Some Help
Write the intelligence briefing as if you were writing a report on
policing/crime/ intelligence in Saudi Arabia for a superior. [CILO 4:
Write Reports],
Cadets should suggest some method of dealing with the crime they
are talking about. [CILO 3: Recommend Strategies]
Cadets must use some type of graph or diagram or chart or statistical
data in the briefing. [CILO 2: Present Results]
The briefing must be referenced properly.
Copying or sharing will be treated as plagiarism and penalties will be
Intelligence-Led Policing
Intelligence-Led Policing
Jerry H. Ratcliffe
Published by
Willan Publishing
Culmcott House
Mill Street, Uffculme
Cullompton, Devon
EX15 3AT, UK
Tel: +44(0)1884 840337
Fax: +44(0)1884 840251
e-mail: info@willanpublishing.co.uk
website: www.willanpublishing.co.uk
Published simultaneously in the USA and Canada by
Willan Publishing
c/o ISBS, 920 NE 58th Ave, Suite 300
Portland, Oregon 97213-3786, USA
Tel: +001(0)503 287 3093
Fax: +001(0)503 280 8832
e-mail: info@isbs.com
website: www.isbs.com
© Jerry H. Ratcliffe 2008
The rights of Jerry H. Ratcliffe to be identified as the author of this book have been asserted
by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988.
All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Publishers or a licence
permitting copying in the UK issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, Saffron
House, 6–10 Kirby Street, London EC1N 8TS.
First published 2008
978-1-84392-339-8 paperback
978-1-84392-340-4 hardback
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Project managed by Deer Park Productions, Tavistock, Devon
Typeset by GCS, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire
Printed and bound by T.J. International Ltd, Padstow, Cornwall
To Philippa
List of acronyms
Preface and acknowledgements
Reimagining policing
What is intelligence-led policing?
What makes intelligence-led policing unique?
A holistic approach to crime control
Case study: Operation Nine Connect
The structure of this book
Origins of intelligence-led policing
Drivers for change
Complexity in policing and the performance culture
Managing risk
The demand gap
Limitations of the standard model of policing
Organised and transnational crime
Changes in technology
The US policing landscape
Fragmented and uncoordinated
Viewpoint: Fragmented policing and the role of fusion centers
Demonising intelligence
The community policing era
Slow emergence of problem-oriented policing
Rapid emergence of Compstat
9/11 and homeland security
The British policing landscape
New public managerialism and oversight
Sporadic emergence of problem-oriented policing in the UK
Helping with enquiries and policing with intelligence
The National Intelligence Model
Intelligence-Led Policing
The magnitude of the crime challenge
The crime funnel
How much crime gets reported?
Case study: Calls for service in America’s most dangerous city
Crime-prone places
Completing the crime funnel
The offender problem
Individual offending and recidivism
Predicting prolific offenders
Can the police identify prolific offenders?
Organised crime
Viewpoint: Threat measurement techniques for organised crime
Defining intelligence-led policing
Related policing frameworks
Community policing
Problem-oriented policing
Conceptual confusion
Viewpoint: Policing conceptual frameworks from the analyst’s
â•… perspective
Intelligence-led policing defined
Original tenets
Revising the original model
Intelligence-led policing components
Analytical frameworks
Awash with terminology
What is criminal intelligence?
What is crime analysis?
Data, information and knowledge?
DIKI continuum
From knowledge to intelligence
Levels of crime intelligence
NIM levels
Viewpoint: A practitioner’s perspective on the National
â•… Intelligence Model
Conceptualising analysis
NIM business model
The 3-i model
Can models reflect reality?
Interpreting the criminal environment
Target selection
Recording crime details
Threat assessments
Objective targeting and offender self-selection
Playing well with others
Viewpoint: Information sharing at the national level
Information collation
Improving information sharing
A role for liaison officers?
Confidential informants
Analytical tehcniques
Strategic thinking
Influencing decision-makers
Who are decision-makers?
Front-line officers
Police leadership
Non-law enforcement
The general public
Security networks
Viewpoint: The responsibilities of intelligence-led police
â•… leadership
Understanding the client’s environment
Working with the audience
Maximising influence
Embracing networks
Recommending action
Having an impact on crime
Revisiting the crime funnel
Estimating prevention benefits
Reduction, disruption and prevention
The changing leadership role
Viewpoint: The leadership role in intelligence-led policing
Steering the rowers in the right direction
The police impact on crime
Does police targeting prevent crime?
Does increasing arrests reduce crime?
Intelligence-led crime reduction
Intelligence-Led Policing
Evaluating intelligence-led policing
Evaluation concepts and practice
What are we evaluating?
Types of evaluations
Operation Vendas and Operation Safe Streets
Evaluation skills
Pure evaluations and realistic evaluations
Case study: Operation Anchorage
Viewpoint: Refining strategy after Operation Anchorage
Measuring success in different ways
The cost-benefit of surveillance and confidential informants
Measuring disruption
Measuring success in changing business practice
Measuring success in performance indicators
10 Challenges for the future
The challenges of covert activity
The risks of greater informant use in covert activities
Principle of proportionality
Storing private information
Human rights and surveillance
Viewpoint: Intelligence-led policing and public trust
The widening security agenda
Greater strategic application
Merging criminal intelligence and national security
An agenda for the future
Conceptual training for analysts and executives
Disseminating success
Looking beyond the tactical imperatives
Engage the next cohort of police leaders
Ten yardsticks for intelligence-led policing
List of acronyms
Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence
Australian Crime Commission
ACPO Association of Chief Police Officers (UK)
British Crime Survey
Criminal Intelligence Service Canada
Drug Enforcement Administration (US)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (US)
HIDTA High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (US)
International Association of Crime Analysts
International Association of Chiefs of Police
IALEIA International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence
â•… Analysts
intelligence-led policing
joint terrorism task force
National Criminal Intelligence Service (UK)
NCPE National Centre for Policing Excellence (UK)
NCVS National Crime Victimization Survey (US)
National Intelligence Model (UK)
New Jersey State Police (US)
National Policing Improvement Agency (UK)
NYPD New York City Police Department (US)
problem-oriented policing
RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police
SOCA Serious Organised Crime Agency (UK)
ViCAP Violent Criminal Apprehension Program
Preface and acknowledgements
The central aim of this book is to bring the concepts and processes of
intelligence-led policing into better focus, so that students, practitioners
and scholars of policing, criminal intelligence and crime analysis can better
understand the evolving dynamics of this new paradigm in policing. The
main audience is professionals within the law enforcement environment;
senior officers, middle management, analysts and operational staff. With
this in mind, each chapter contains a ‘Viewpoint’ from a professional in the
field. These expert views are drawn from specialists from around the globe,
and I am indebted to the authors for agreeing to share their insight.
The book also aims to be a resource for the growing number of
academics and students interested in intelligence-led policing. To enable
readers to make more effective use of this book as a learning resource, a
series of PowerPoint slides is available on the publisher’s website at www.
willanpublishing.co.uk and mirrored at the author’s website (www.jratcliffe.
net). These slides reproduce many of the tables and graphics found in the
book. The websites also contain suggestions for further reading and some
related links.
I’m immensely grateful to John Eck, R. Mark Evans, Tim John, Eric
McCord, Deborah Osborne, Philippa Ratcliffe, Nick Tilley, Jennifer Wood
and John Cohen, for providing valuable and insightful comments on early
drafts or sections of this book; Peter Gill and Toni Makkai for permission
to reproduce some of the figures found within; John Goldkamp and Ralph
Taylor for picking up much of the slack and helping me find the time
for this project; my graduate students for tolerating a slower-than-normal
turnaround in their work; Kip and George at Philadelphia’s Southwark
bar and restaurant for providing the ideal haunt to de-stress; Jerry and
Alia and the staff at Philadelphia Java Company, where half the book
was written; and Brian Willan for encouraging this whole thing from the
start. Furthermore I would particularly like to thank the authors of the
viewpoints: R. Mark Evans, Robert Fahlman, Rick Fuentes, Ray Guidetti,
Corey Heldon, Deborah Osborne, Lisa Palmieri, Russ Porter and Peter
Stelfox. Further thanks are necessary to Roger Gaspar, Frank Rodgers, and
Intelligence-Led Policing
Tim Connors from the Manhattan Institute, for being such strong supporters
of intelligence-led policing.
All these fine people are far too busy to have helped as much as
they did; however, the book is much better for it. It should go without
saying that the opinions expressed in the rest of the book are solely those
of the author, and my opinions are not necessarily shared by the many
government bodies or police departments that I have worked with over
the years (though they should be!).
What is intelligence-led policing? Who came up with the idea? Where
did it come from? How does it relate to other policing paradigms? What
distinguishes an intelligence-led approach to crime reduction? How is it
designed to have an impact on crime? Does it prevent crime? What is
crime disruption? Is intelligence-led policing just for the police? These are
questions asked by many police professionals, including senior officers,
analysts and operational staff. Similar questions are also posed by students
of policing who have witnessed the rapid emergence of intelligence-led
policing from its British origins to worldwide movement. These questions
are also relevant to crime prevention practitioners and policymakers seeking
long-term crime benefits. The answers to these questions are the subject of
this book.
Questions of how the police should respond to crime have plagued
scholars and practitioners of policing for decades. It is still a constant source
of discussion and is perhaps debated more so now than at any time in
the history of law enforcement. When the first officers of a modern police
service walked out on to London’s streets in September 1829, one of their
first commissioners stressed that the primary role of the police was the
prevention of crime (Mayne 1829), and the job of the police officer remained
– at least until the 1960s – a relatively simple one. In these halcyon days,
the constable or patrol officer (often on foot) had to avoid getting into
trouble with the sergeant, and then take care of two constituent groups;
local offenders and potential victims. His (all early police officers were
male) job was to inhibit the former and reassure the latter (Flood 2004).
This required the officer to develop community contacts, act to prevent
crime, reassure local people, and catch offenders when crime occurred.
The police officer was the epitome of the Hobbesian ideal, the thin
blue line that represented societal order and governmental legitimacy in
the face of crime and anarchy (Wood and Shearing 2007). However, since
the 1960s, many aspects of the policing world have changed. Society
transformed rapidly, criminals developed new ways to commit crime,

Intelligence-Led Policing
public expectations changed, and the police adjusted in response. Radiodirected rapid response, criminal investigations and crime fighting became
the dominant model of law enforcement. Public attitudes to the police
changed, as did their attitude to the role of the police. With rising crime
rates and greater information availability regarding police performance, the
job of a police chief became one of managing risk, trying to keep the public
happy, and responding instantly to crime threats once they emerged. Crime
fighting and making arrests came to define the role of the police, while
crime prevention was relegated to an occasional hobby. To put this gulf
in perspective, one survey of UK police forces found that, while 40 per
cent of personnel were assigned to investigation, only 1 per cent addressed
crime prevention (Audit Commission 1993: 14).
Reactive, investigative policing became the order of the day and, at least
in the US, this is still the dominant model of policing (Weisburd and Eck
2004). This strategy is founded on the assumption that more detections will
reduce the number of offenders and act as a deterrent to the criminal still
at large; thus having a preventative role. To the public and many within
policing it seems a simple argument: increased crime detection will lead to
increased crime prevention, and therefore increasing the number of arrests
will prevent crime. Unfortunately, the police do not arrest at a rate even
close to making this a reality. If they did, the jails would overflow and the
criminal justice system would grind to a standstill.
Clearance rates have stayed steady over the last few years in both the
US and the UK, with rates hovering between 20 and 26 per cent, leaving
the vast majority of crime unsolved. If police were to increase arrests, the
criminal justice system would certainly need more resources and funding.
We would need more courts and jails, more probation staff and more parole
boards. Police stations would need to be larger and the police would need
more staff.
Irrespective of the almost perpetual law and order debate that sees
politicians and the media exploiting public fears on a regular basis
(Weatherburn 2004), recent trends suggest that taxpayers are unwilling
to fund the substantially greater numbers of police that are necessary to
reduce crime simply through a universal increase in incarceration. For
while police strength in England and Wales increased 50 per cent from
1970 to 2004, recorded indictable offences increased by over 250 per cent
in the same period.
This explosion in criminality did not affect the UK alone. From the
1970s, in both the US and the UK, crime rates soared and public confidence
in the police was eroded as a result. With the crime problem outstripping
the available resources, many in policing began to recognise that the
traditional role of reactive, investigative policing was not a satisfactory
response. There is a common saying within law enforcement that ‘you
can’t arrest your way out of a problem’. If not, then what options are left
to the police?

Reimagining policing
The first attempt to ‘reimagine policing’ (Wood and Shearing 2007) took
law enforcement back to a mythical age of cheerful beat cops chatting with
store owners and clipping misbehaving kids around the ear. Community
policing initially appeared to hold the promise of reconnecting the police
with the public, and through this increased contact would flow greater
information about crime problems, a re-engagement of neighbourhood
issues by police, and an improvement in police legitimacy. In the UK,
progressive officers such as then Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall,
John Alderson, not only moved their forces toward a more communityoriented organisational structure, but were also highly vocal advocates for
community policing, engaging in considerable public debate about styles
of policing. By the 1980s, most police agencies in the UK claimed to be
committed to community policing (Morgan and Newburn 1997). In the
US, the breakdown in the relationship between many communities and the
police in the 1960s and 1970s drove American police – with considerable
support from the federal government – to embrace the community policing
ethos to a far greater extent.
With the primary aim of restoring police legitimacy, community policing
is a partnership philosophy that increases collaboration (or at least
consultation) between the community and the police, decentralises police
organisational hierarchy, gives greater discretion to lower ranks, places
greater influence in the hands of the community in determining police
priorities, and promotes a social service ethos (see, for example, Bennett
1994; CPC 1994; Trojanowicz 1994; Cordner 1995; Skogan and Hartnett
1997; Edwards 1999; Skogan 2006b). While many police departments have
more or less subscribed to this philosophy, research evidence suggests that
police departments that have moved to a general community policing ethos
have not been successful in converting that strategy into measurable crime
reduction (Sherman et al. 1998).
Police chiefs, while retaining the rhetoric of community policing, are
now exploring different managerial styles and strategies. New strategies
have been made possible through a broad movement in policing that has
discovered the benefit of using data to influence decisions and drive crime
control strategy. This movement has produced problem-oriented policing,
Compstat, and now intelligence-led policing.
The problem-oriented policing approach recommends that police
identify clusters of repeat crime incidents and use these as indications of
underlying problems within the community (see the Center for ProblemOriented Policing at www.popcenter.org). Police – armed with the results
of a thorough analysis of the crime problem – target the specific cause of
the problem, often (though not always) with the help of the community
both to identify problems and figure out solutions (Goldstein 1990; Leigh
et al. 1996). Problem-oriented policing has been instrumental in educating a

Intelligence-Led Policing
generation of police leaders in the importance of analysis as a foundation
for decision-making (see Chapter 4).
Originating in the New York City Police Department in early 1994,
Compstat is an accountability process that seeks to empower mid-level
commanders to seek a rapid response to emerging crime problems and
hotspots. The central medium is crime mapping, where recent crime data
are mapped, viewed and discussed by police commanders. After a muchpublicised drop in crime in New York City, interest in Compstat spread
around the world (again, see Chapter 4).
Most recently, intelligence-led policing has become the latest wave in
modern policing: ‘intelligence-led policing does not re-imagine the police
role so much as it re-imagines how the police can be “smarter” in the
exercise of their unique authority and capacities’ (Wood and Shearing
2007: 55). Intelligence-led policing has a lineage that can be traced back
to many of the same key drivers that influenced the development of
problem-oriented policing and Compstat. Originally formulated as a law
enforcement operational strategy that emphasised the use of criminal
intelligence when planning police tactics, in the last few years it has come
to take on a broader definition and scope. While still stressing that police
should avoid getting fixated on reactive case investigations, intelligence-led
policing has evolved into a management philosophy and movement.
Intelligence-led policing holds out the promise of a more objective basis
for deciding priorities and resource allocation, and many in policing are
beginning to see the benefits of using an analysis-driven approach to
decision-making. As one of the latest analysis-driven models, intelligenceled policing has commonalities with problem-oriented policing and targeted,
proactive policing. These strategies attempt to be ‘strategic, future oriented
and targeted’ in their approach to crime control and are more than just
catchy phrases; they are representative of a significant and widespread
change in the business of policing (Maguire 2000: 315–317).
Intelligence-led policing has become a significant movement in policing
in the twenty-first century. In the UK, the concept is enshrined in
legislation that demanded all forces adopt the National Intelligence Model
by April 2004; by 2003, every police service in Australia, including the
Australian Crime Commission, had reference to intelligence-led policing
on their websites (Ratcliffe 2003); the New Zealand Police were committed
to intelligence-based policing by 2002 (NZP 2002); and in the US, a 2002
summit of over 120 criminal intelligence experts brought together by the
International Association of Chiefs of Police called for a national policing
plan to promote intelligence-led policing (IACP 2002).
Intelligence-led policing has emerged at a time when crime threats
have become less parochial. The growth of international organised crime
continues to defy any attempts by national and locally organised police
bodies to contain its pervasive tentacles. Organised crime groups now

dominate the illegal arms, drug and people smuggling industries and
provide significant challenges to containment, let alone suppression:
‘Locally based policing, although it has a role in tackling organised crime
… is not structured to combat transnational and global-scale criminality’
(Harfield 2000: 109–110). And international organised crime is not the only
significant new challenge to policing.
Since 11 September 2001, the task of terrorism prevention has challenged
all aspects of the criminal justice system, creating a post-9/11 homeland
security era where the focus continually threatens to shift from everyday
crime to terrorism, and where information needs are deemed to be realtime. Information and intelligence sharing has emerged as a key element
in law enforcement strategies to prevent terrorist incidents and control
organised crime. The growth of regional information-sharing partnerships
and the recent development of ‘fusion centers’ in the US suggest the
promise of real-time data sharing and access in the near future, with realtime intelligence linkages expected to play a key role in preventing future
terrorist incidents. These intelligence linkages rely on agencies sharing
information among themselves, yet a key shortcoming recognised by the
9/11 Commission was the failure of agencies to share vital information.
They identified not only the technological barriers to information sharing,
but, perhaps more importantly, also the organisational and cultural barriers.
Their recommendations spoke of ‘unifying strategic intelligence’ (p. 399),
yet the barriers to be overcome are sizable.
Current security requirements nurture overclassification and excessive
compartmentalization of information among agencies. Each agency’s
incentive structure opposes sharing … [and] few reward for sharing
information. No one has to pay the long-term costs of over-classifying
information, though these costs – even in literal financial terms – are
substantial. There are no punishments for not sharing information.
Agencies uphold a ‘need-to-know’ culture of information protection
rather than promoting a ‘need-to-share’ culture of integration. (9/11
Commission 2004: 417)
The 9/11 Commission could easily have been discussing the wider field of
criminal intelligence and the way that many police services currently handle
information. The 9/11 Commission’s concerns led them to propose that
‘information be shared horizontally, across new networks that transcend
individual agencies’ (p. 418). The structure of law enforcement in most
places militates against horizontal information sharing, both between
agencies and within. The challenges for information sharing, arguably
a component of a strategic, intelligence-led crime control strategy, are
therefore substantial; but (contrary to the views of some in US federal law
enforcement) intelligence-led policing is not just about better information

Intelligence-Led Policing
sharing or information collection. It is also about better resource allocation,
priorities and crime reduction decisions.
Law enforcement is being asked to tackle a range of threats and risks
that were never an issue when the current crop of police leaders entered
the police service. These managers are having to adapt rapidly to the new
policing environment. It is certainly a challenging time to be in policing.
What is intelligence-led policing?
When first proposed, intelligence-led policing was an operational tactic
that would reduce crime through proactive policing targeted by criminal
intelligence. Kent Police (UK), under the leadership of Sir David Phillips,
moved resources from reactive, crime investigation departments to proactive
units, began tactical operations that were directed by criminal intelligence
analysis, and promoted greater intelligence gathering. As a whole
department, they were among the first to practise ‘genuine’ intelligence-led
policing (John and Maguire 2003). This information-based strategy focused
heavily on active and prolific offenders.
Some began to see that the business model required to manage crime
analysis and criminal intelligence would also work as a broader management
model for policing in general. From these early UK developments in
intelligence-led policing grew the National Intelligence Model, which has
evolved into a business and management model for resource decisions
affecting a wide range of police activities. As a result, the interpretation
of intelligence-led policing appears to be broadening in scope, and has
evolved into a management philosophy that places greater emphasis
on information sharing and collaborative, strategic solutions to policing
problems at the local and regional level.
While it now appears clear that intelligence-led policing is evolving
into a framework to encompass most operational police activity, police
departments are at varying stages of development. Furthermore, the
paradigm of intelligence-led policing is being interpreted differently in
some places. While there is certainly a lineage that can be traced, a single
unifying definition may prove elusive under these circumstances. In case
the reader is seeking a quick answer, I will endeavour in this book to
argue that intelligence-led policing is a business model and managerial
philosophy where data analysis and crime intelligence are pivotal to an
objective, decision-making framework that facilitates crime and problem
reduction, disruption and prevention through both strategic management
and effective enforcement strategies that target prolific and serious offenders.
This definition (explained and expanded on in Chapter 4) recognises the
evolution from whack-a-mole policing that arrests offenders with no
overarching strategy, to one that places significant emphasis on data and

intelligence analysis as the central component of police strategic thinking.
This requires a wider interpretation of the information resources that police
can draw upon. In this book, ‘crime intelligence’ is used as a collective
term to describe the result of the analysis of not only covert information
from surveillance, offender interviews and confidential human sources
(informants), but also crime patterns and police data sources as well as
socio-demographic data and other non-police data. It also centralises the
role of the crime intelligence analyst (or police analyst) at the core of police
What makes intelligence-led policing unique?
The next chapters go into greater depth in attempting to clarify what
intelligence-led policing is, and how it compares with other crime-control
strategies. However, at this point, it is necessary to state what it is not.
This book is about intelligence-led policing. It is not about intelligenceled police. The police are a specific institution common across the world,
whereas ‘policing’ is a term that suggests a set of processes within society
that fulfil specific social functions related to regulation and control (Reiner
1997). As such, it is theoretically possible to conduct intelligence-led
policing without involving the traditional public police force. Policing is
now being widely offered by institutions other than the state, including
private companies and community volunteers (Bayley and Shearing 1996).
To understand the role of analysis in this expanding security field, it may be
necessary to pay as much attention to ‘knowledge and power, information
and action’ (Ransom 1980: 148) as to the formal structures of the policing
Some of the perceived problems with intelligence-led policing lie with
the name. Some people have a tendency to see the word intelligence and
assume it has negative connotations, suggesting activity that is secretive,
subversive and possibly illegal. There is an implication of dubious and
immoral activity used to protect a police state. When the word is used
in conjunction with the police, they fear the worst. However, intelligenceled policing actually develops data and information analysis into
crime intelligence processes to the point where, ‘as opposed to being a
marginalised, subordinate activity, mythologically and furtively pursued by
a caucus of officers, the collection and analysis of intelligence has become
central to contemporary policing’ (Christopher 2004: 117). When practised
properly, intelligence-led policing provides an objective mechanism to
formulate strategic policing priorities. The difficulty is that few outside law
enforcement are aware of this broader interpretation of the term. As Grieve
notes, ‘The word intelligence needs to be reclaimed from the secret world,
made less threatening to communities and used in their service’ (2004: 26).
Within the conceptual framework of intelligence-led policing, intelligence

Intelligence-Led Policing
has a meaning more similar to competitive or business intelligence as
commonly used in the business world.
For most of the history of policing, criminal intelligence was used to
support individual, reactive investigations. Informants penetrated the
organisational structure of criminal groups, and wiretaps and other forms
of surveillance were employed against known, recidivist offenders. The aim
was always to gather evidence to support a criminal prosecution. This is
not the model of intelligence-led policing. Although achieving a prosecution
against a serious repeat offender is rarely discounted, intelligence-led
policing seeks to use crime intelligence for more than just individual cases.
Intelligence-led policing uses crime intelligence for strategic planning and
resource allocation, so that investigative action is used to target the right
offenders and predict emerging areas of criminality. One of the unique
aspects of intelligence-led policing is this use of crime intelligence – what
was once a case-specific and myopic tool of crime control – as a strategic
resource for better targeting and managerial decisions. In an intelligence-led
policing model, crime intelligence drives operations rather than operations
dictating intelligence-gathering priorities. This move from investigationled intelligence to intelligence-led policing is revolutionary for modern
The development from an investigative ethos to a strategic ‘business
model’ (John and Maguire 2003: 38) to address a wide variety of policing
problems provides police and analysts with a real opportunity to have a
greater impact on crime. Instead of tackling crime one laborious investigation
at a time, never truly having an impact on the more expansive criminal
opportunity structure, the capacity to step back and place threats and
risks into a holistic perspective that assesses the social harm of criminality
may allow policing to prevent crime across a wide area rather than solve
a single event that has already occurred. A further intriguing aspect of
intelligence-led policing is the concentration on prolific and persistent
offenders. This focus stems from the realisation that a relatively small
percentage of the population is responsible for a significant percentage
of crime (see Chapter 3). Intelligence-led policing is also a realisation of
the need to better integrate the information systems available to police so
that a wider array of data and information sources can be brought to bear
when creating a picture of the criminal environment. As Osborne (2006)
points out, some of the information analysts require is inaccessible not just
because of technological failures or lack of computer literacy but also as
a result of interjurisdictional rivalries or a simple lack of understanding
by police management and analysts. While we are now operating in an
information-rich environment, it is not necessarily easier to translate that
information into action; we are, in effect, information-rich but knowledgepoor.

Intelligence-led policing is quite different from the meaning of intelligence
common in a military or national security context. Unlike in the military,
law enforcement analysts are rarely a recognised feature of the managerial
sphere, and across policing there is a lack of understanding of the role and
applicability of crime intelligence analysis to strategy. Crime intelligence
techniques and applications are seldom institutionalised, even with the
supposed introduction of intelligence-led policing to some jurisdictions.
There is so little research in the area of crime analysis that even an agreed
establishment of analysts to population ratio, sworn officer count, or crime
rate does not exist. For example, Cope (2003) found that the ratio of analysts
in different UK police forces varied considerably. In the US, while about
three-quarters of police departments with more than 100 sworn personnel
employ at least one person in a crime analysis function, only 23 per cent of
smaller departments have a dedicated crime analysis person (O’Shea and
Nicholls 2002). The large departments (100 or more sworn officers) range
from employing no crime analysts to one department that makes use of
over 10 per 100 sworn officers (O’Shea and Nicholls 2002: 13).
A holistic approach to crime control
Crime control has been the central tenet of most police models in recent
times. Some have questioned the wisdom of the police returning to crime
control or administration of justice as their dominant function, suggesting
that the community or social components of policing remain the central
focus. Tim Newburn and Rod Morgan have argued that a significant policy
shift away from other activities that police perform towards crime-fighting
as a way to prevent crime is a ‘dangerous illusion’ (Morgan and Newburn
1997: 9), and they advocate a balance between police functions:
We do not doubt the value of ‘intelligence-led policing’. On the
contrary, we also think there is a powerful case for concentrating a good
many police resources on identifying and bringing to book persistent
offenders. However, we do not think this is a policing panacea. And
the key question is: how many police resources are to be devoted
to this as opposed to other, in our opinion, equally important police
objectives? (Morgan and Newburn 1997: 203, emphasis in original)
Embracing the crime-fighting image may indeed threaten the legitimacy of
the police, and it may see the police move away from what is perceived to
be a more traditional service ethos. Yet, this crime-fighting role is precisely
what police expect to do and why officers usually join the police, at least
initially. Importantly, it is also the role that the public usually ascribe to
them. If criminal intelligence really is, according to John Abbott – former

Intelligence-Led Policing
Director General of the National Criminal Intelligence Service – ‘the future
of policing’ (Johnstone 2004: 409), then ‘By effective use of analysed
intelligence the traditional dichotomy between crime fighting and problem
solving may be resolved to the benefit of the community’ (Amey et al. 1996:
32-33). One potential solution, proposed elsewhere and in this book, is to
move to a strategic social harm approach that integrates the benefits of
objective analysis with a greater appreciation for risk as perceived by the
community. A strategic social harm approach works to ‘establish priorities
for strategic criminal intelligence gathering and subsequent analysis based
on notions of the social harm caused by different sorts of criminal activity’
(Sheptycki and Ratcliffe 2004: 204).
While a number of police departments are experimenting with
intelligence-led policing, some claims to be intelligence-led are rather
dubious and often just based on the police department making arrests in a
big case rather than demonstrating any proof that the case was a priority
resulting from managerial decisions based on a strategic assessment of the
criminal environment. Unfortunately, many such approaches tend to stress
the intelligence aspect of intelligence-led policing rather than emphasising
policing; in doing so, they relegate the value of crime intelligence to a
sideshow rather than as central to forming organisational goals (Ratcliffe
in press).
This book does not present the concepts of intelligence-led policing as a
fait accompli. As Brian Flood explains, ‘It has been a journey of adaptation:
from the lingering, attractive certainties of the pre- and post-war years
to the uncertain, information rich, intelligence-led, 21st century world of
multi-agency law enforcement’ (Flood 2004: 37). That process of adaptation
continues today.
Are police leaders ready to be more flexible in their view of both the
criminal environment and their own working environment? Are analysts
able to conceptualise the organised crime world with a view to prevention?
Are managers ready to allow civilian crime intelligence analysts to sit at
the big table? How much are decision-makers prepared to allow risks
identified in strategic documents to trump their personal biases, pressure
from the media, and expectations from the rank and file? The answers to
these questions may predict the future of intelligence-led policing.
Case study
Operation Nine Connect
To demonstrate how intelligence-led policing differs from traditional
investigative approaches to crime control, consider the following case.
A 2004 survey of law enforcement agencies in the US state of New
Jersey found there were an estimated 148 gangs in the state, and nearly
30 gangs that had over 100 members (NJSP n.d.). Police leadership
in the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) recognised that they did not
possess sufficient resources to tackle all of these threats to public
safety, so they triaged gangs by focusing on the most violent,
entrenched and pervasive groups (NJSP 2005). In order to prepare a
strategic assessment of the situation, NJSP analysts drew on a variety
of data and information sources, including information from 300
intelligence reports, data from 177 municipal police departments, over
50 media articles, and covert information gathered from nearly 100
confidential informants. The resultant strategic assessment informed
the leadership of the NJSP that, of all gangs in the state, the Bloods
street gang were the major threat to public safety. More importantly,
a subset of the Bloods, called the Nine Trey Gangsters, was identified
as an emerging threat. Not only were they actively recruiting but,
under the leadership of David ‘Duke’ Allen from his cell in Trenton
State Prison, were attempting to coordinate Bloods’ activities and
crime across different counties and police jurisdictions. The strategic
assessment therefore possessed many of the characteristics of an
intelligence-led policing ethos. It was strategic, future oriented and
targeted; it aimed to influence decision-makers; by focusing on violent
gangs in the triage process it had a strategic social harm component;
and the targets were prolific and serious offenders.
â•… The strategic assessment quickly resulted in a large police operation
(Operation Nine Connect) that aimed to disrupt gang activities
through enforcement action. Operation Nine Connect resulted in
the arrest of some 60 members of the gang on 25 July 2006, with at
least 30 others being arrested subsequently (NJSP 2006b; Ratcliffe and
Guidetti 2008). While much of the work conducted after the strategic
decision to target the Nine Trey Gangsters was traditional investigative
policing, the strategic targeting and resource decision – based on a
social harm criterion and utilising a range of information sources to
create an objective, future-oriented and targeted analysis product that
influenced policy – was the key intelligence-led policing component.
Intelligence-Led Policing
The structure of this book
The chapters are laid out in the following manner. The first topic addressed
is the level of confusion regarding the origins of intelligence-led policing.
The rise to prominence of intelligence-led policing in post-9/11 America
has left a residual belief that intelligence-led policing emerged as a
result of a 2002 Criminal Intelligence Sharing Summit organised by the
International Association of Chiefs of Police (Carter 2005). Readers from
Kent Constabulary (the first practical application site of the intelligence-led
policing model) might dispute the view that, ‘traditionally, ILP has been
viewed as a specialized police function targeted primarily at terrorism and
homeland security’ (McGarrell et al. 2007: 143). As Chapter 2 (‘Origins of
intelligence-led policing’) will show, intelligence-led policing originated
as a force-wide strategy to combat local and organised crime; the first
arguments for this more proactive style of policing used the mundane
examples of burglary (Audit Commission 1993) and stolen cars (NCIS
2000). Chapter 2 explains that the ideas and language of intelligence-led
policing stretch back much farther than the recent fixation with counterterrorism; intelligence-led policing has its origins in changing ideas about
fiscal accountability and public sector management that predate 9/11.
To establish the need for intelligence-led policing, Chapter 3 (‘The
magnitude of the crime challenge’) outlines the challenge facing the police
and the criminal justice system. This is necessary in order to appreciate the
aims of intelligence-led policing to tackle persistent, recidivist offenders and
move away from a reactive model of crime control. How many crimes get
reported to police? How many of these are detected and cleared by police?
How many offenders arrested by police actually get a court appearance,
and how many of those end up with a custodial sentence? The answers to
these questions can be found in Chapter 3 with a quantification of what is
called the crime funnel, a useful way to conceptualise the criminal justice
system that will be returned to later in the book.
Wardlaw and Boughton (2006: 134) argue that ‘the concept of
intelligence-led policing is now widely espoused by police services as
a fundamental part of the way they do business. But for such a widely
talked about concept, there is remarkably little clarity about its definition
and fundamental concepts.’ Chapter 4 (‘Defining intelligence-led policing’)
addresses this lack of clarity. This chapter compares intelligence-led
policing with existing conceptual models of policing, explaining where
intelligence-led policing is distinct from these other models, and showing
where intelligence-led policing can work in a complementary manner with
some of them (especially problem-oriented policing).
Establishing a definition of intelligence-led policing is not the same
thing as seeing how it works in practice. This enters the realm of the
relationship between crime intelligence analysts, the criminal environment,
and decision-makers in the criminal justice system. Chapter 5 (‘Analytical
frameworks’) explores some of the conceptual analytical models of policing:
the intelligence cycle, SARA, and the British National Intelligence Model.
These conceptual models are vital to understanding the business processes
of analysis in the policing world. The chapter concludes with an outline of
the 3-i model as a conceptual model for intelligence-led policing.
The 3-i model forms the basis for the three chapters that follow. Chapter
6 (‘Interpreting the criminal environment’) unpacks the role of the analyst
in target selection. As Gill points out in regard to targeting processes,
‘This is the mechanism by which law enforcement seeks to bridge the
gulf between the large number of crime-like incidents or patterns to
which it could theoretically respond and the much smaller number for
which it is realistically resourced’ (Gill 2000: 261). In an information-rich
but knowledge-poor environment, analysts are increasingly influential in
dictating the targets of police interdiction. To determine from the myriad
crime problems which crime threats will be tackled carries a significant
responsibility. As Gill continues, ‘It is the enormity of this gulf that provides
law enforcement with such extensive discretion and the potential for
discrimination or unfairness if targeting practices go unchecked’. Chapter
6 also examines the subjects of information gathering and collation, and
concludes with a look at analytical techniques and the importance of
strategic analysis within intelligence-led policing.
Chapter 7 (‘Influencing decision-makers’) continues the 3-i model thread
by looking at the vital interface between analysts and decision-makers. It
first asks the rarely addressed question of who are the most appropriate
decision-makers in the modern criminal justice system. Chapter 7 also
explores how analysts can better understand the environment that various
decision-makers work within and how to use that knowledge to maximise
the analyst’s influence.
Chapter 8 (‘Having an impact on crime’) completes the 3-i model by
revisiting the crime funnel to make a case for crime prevention. It also
looks at ‘disruption’, part of the lexicon of intelligence-led policing in many
police organisations, a word that is ambiguous and not clearly defined by
most agencies. Agencies designed to combat organised crime are growing
to realise that traditional investigative policing is inefficient in controlling
serious organised crime. As a result, ‘disruption’ has become a favoured
term. Sheptycki argues that the perceived threat of transnational organised
crime has ‘provided a range of transnational platforms of governance…
with tools to influence the development of national policing systems
which are being progressively re-engineered around the “intelligence-led
policing” paradigm’ (Sheptycki 2005: 3). In better understanding this reengineering, the chapter views the crime situation through the lens of a
decision-maker’s perspective.
While there have not been many quantitative or qualitative studies of
Intelligence-Led Policing
intelligence-led policing as a crime-control strategy, there have been some.
The penultimate chapter (‘Evaluating intelligence-led policing’) examines
these studies by drawing together research from across the globe. In
particular, Chapter 9 outlines Operation Anchorage, a burglary reduction
operation that had all of the ingredients of an intelligence-led operation:
informants and surveillance used to target recidivist offenders, and
managerial decision-making used to direct resources and select targets.
The last chapter explores some of the challenges that intelligenceled policing may face in the future. Recent interest in intelligence-led
policing, both from the community and from within policing, has provided
opportunities and challenges. While there has been an increase in funding
and enthusiasm for crime intelligence across the police and security field,
this has also brought ‘greater expectations of what can be delivered, as well
as much greater scrutiny and accountability in relation to the performance
of the intelligence community’ (Keelty 2004: 1). The ethical and legal
challenges of covert activity are discussed. Chapter 10 also explores the
potential for intelligence-led policing to be the binding agent used to link
local crime concerns with the widening security agenda at the national
level. The chapter, and the book, concludes with a modest agenda for
the future as a preliminary road map to consider where intelligence-led
policing is now, and where it could be in the future.
Origins of intelligence-led policing
Origins of intelligence-led policing
While there has been a flurry of interest in intelligence-driven approaches to
crime control over the last few years, the origins of intelligence-led policing
stretch back considerably further, and are a little indistinct (Gill 2000).
This chapter begins by reviewing the environmental shifts and managerial
changes within law enforcement that have created a landscape conducive
to intelligence-led policing, and then explores the specific conditions in the
UK and the US as illustrative of the influence that the local environment
can have on police strategy.
Both universal and local influences have left one informed commentator
to claim that law enforcement policy is attempting to return to a preventative
model of policing through intelligence-led policing (Flood 2004). That
remains to be seen; however, before getting to that point, it is worth
remembering that public policing originally prioritised crime prevention. As
the first officers of a modern police force walked out of (the old) Scotland
Yard in September 1829, one of their first police commissioners wrote, ‘The
primary object of an efficient police is the prevention of crime: the next
that of detection and punishment of offenders if crime is committed. To
these ends all the efforts of police must be directed’ (Mayne 1829). While
preventative patrol remained a focus, the spotlight soon fell on Mayne’s
secondary objective, detection and punishment of offenders. In the early
1840s, the Metropolitan Police hired a number of plain-clothed ‘intelligent
men’ to investigate and recover stolen jewellery from a robbery (Ross 2005).
Within 30 years, there were formal detective divisions, and the emphasis
began to slip away from crime prevention to crime detection.
Detectives did not have to wear a uniform, investigated the most
serious crimes, made more arrests than the average copper on the street,
and gained considerable influence within the police force. They knew all
the local villains, were well connected, and seemed to be an autonomous
clique within the police department. Not being answerable to the crime
rate enabled detectives to thrive in a situation where the worse the crime,
Intelligence-Led Policing
the better for a high-profile arrest. It is perhaps no wonder that crime
prevention became a less attractive option, and young officers were often
drawn to a career as a crime-fighting detective.
The introduction of police cars and the universal adoption of modern
communication devices such as the telephone and the police radio advanced
the crime-fighting model of policing and pushed prevention even further
to the periphery. Now the public could call the police station, and with
the miracle of the radio, patrolling officers could be contacted to rush to
the scene of the crime within minutes. Dedicated emergency numbers
like 911 (in the US) and 999 (in the UK) began to drive the day-to-day
work of police officers, who were now more crime responders than crime
This reactive model of police work, where police respond to crime
information from the public and investigate each offence, is still a popular
one today, and has been termed the standard model of policing (Weisburd and
Eck 2004). Although pervasive, the standard model has long been vulnerable
to criticism resulting from internal and external drivers for change, drivers
that have had significant impacts on the operational environment of many
police departments.
Drivers for change
Policing has been traditionally perceived to be resistant to change; however,
the modern policing situation is one of almost constant adaptation to
pressures both internal and external. These pressures include complexity
in policing and the performance culture, managing internal risk, the
demand gap, limitations of the standard model of policing, organised and
transnational crime, and changes in technology. These pressures and how
they have driven a move towards intelligence-led policing are examined
Complexity in policing and the performance culture
The law enforcement world has grown increasingly complex, and this has
been a driver for a better level of organisation of knowledge within policing.
Increasing ability to use information to inform or evaluate decisions has
driven a greater managerialism culture, a culture that has increased the
bureaucratic load. Ericson and Haggerty’s (1997) extensive study identified
four ways that the paperwork burden alone has increased:
• Police administrators demand greater internal accountability.
• In the ‘knowledge is power’ culture, police overproduce information to
retain in case it might be useful.
Origins of intelligence-led policing
• An
obsession with reporting drives internal audits and monitoring
• Redundancy in retaining paper and electronic records creates duplication
and drains resources.
Ironically, much of the crime-related knowledge and information that
police departments create is rarely used internally but ‘is disseminated to
other institutions (for example, those concerned with health, insurance,
public welfare, financial matters, and education) for their risk management
needs, rather than used for criminal prosecution and punishment’ (Ericson
and Haggerty 1997: 5). Other agencies are now aware that police collect a
mountain of criminal justice data, and expect the police not only to use this
data to influence operational tactics, but also to make this data available
to them. While these changes have occurred across most of policing, given
the predominance of the detective in early policing, it is surprising that
investigations is one area that has remained resistant to change, leading the
authors of a major review of the investigative function to conclude:
In many fundamental respects, the investigation process, though
showing some advances, seems to have been relatively uninfluenced
by significant changes in policing, the crime problem and technological
advances made in the past thirty years. In the main, it is our view
that progress in police criminal investigative efforts remains largely
isolated from broader police efforts to respond more effectively,
more efficiently and more resolutely to the crime problem in general.
(Horvath et al. 2001: 9)
The development of intelligence-led policing is recognition that police
executives require some form of process or methodology to devise more
objectively priorities and strategies, to manage better the information
that they now have at their fingertips, and to use this information for
operational strategy decisions. The performance culture that has swept
across many police services and is in part enabled by the increased
reporting and digitisation of police activity has required greater analytical
ability to make sense of this new (and often unwelcome) oversight. Since
the inception of key performance measures for the British police services in
the early 1990s (Davidoff 1996), what sought to achieve greater efficiency
from the police has developed into an industry apparently fixated with
the continual collection and monitoring of every aspect of police activity.
The impact of this performance culture on policing is significant, and is a
subject of discussion in Chapter 9.
The drive for greater efficiency is founded on the hope that with a
strategic decision-making process in place, police strategies can be more
easily articulated and justified internally and externally. This ability to
Intelligence-Led Policing
communicate objective decisions helps address a second force for change,
the increasing need to manage risk within law enforcement.
Managing risk
With greater access to information, police chiefs and executives in policing
are now under far more scrutiny than before; as a result, their professional
judgements and decisions are tempered by risk management (Flood 2004).
This need to manage risk may be one of the most significant changes
in law enforcement in recent years (Ericson and Haggerty 1997). Police
departments now publish annual reports, address neighbourhood watch
meetings, attend Safer Cities Initiative events, speak to the media far more
than before, and address political bodies. The decisions made in a police
department are now rarely confidential. This can be seen in the wealth
of documents that were once for police use only, but that can now be
examined in court or used in litigation against the department. As Brian
Flood accurately (though a little cynically) surmises, ‘In the face of an
established social trend that seems to disallow honest mistakes, apportions
blame and makes sure that someone “pays” whenever misfortune strikes,
it is nothing more than common sense to ensure that police actions should
be based, wherever possible, on rigorously evaluated intelligence of known
provenance rather than on intuition, even where the latter may have its
roots in long experience’ (Flood 2004: 43). The difficulty with intuition, or
‘the copper’s instinct’, is that not everyone in law enforcement has the
same intuition or instincts, and given a set of similar crime problems,
officers often respond in different ways.
The demand gap
A further problem faced by practitioners of the reactive, crime-fighting
model of policing is the demand gap (Flood 2004). For much of the history
of policing, the numbers of police were able to maintain a rough parity
with the crime rate. However, the 1960s and 1970s saw an inexorable rise
in crime. Factors for this increase in reported crime included greater levels
of unemployment, increases in relative deprivation, and, more recently,
the explosion in the availability of consumer items that are attractive,
portable and easy to steal. For much of this period, the police were not
held responsible for this increase in crime; people blamed the influence of
social forces beyond the control of the police. The problem with arguing
that police are neutral agents in the control of crime is that it is difficult
to articulate for more resources. It is therefore a position that sits uneasily
with the police. While many in law enforcement privately subscribe to the
hypothesis that the police have little control over the larger social drivers
that are believed to generate criminality within the general population,

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Origins of intelligence-led policing
Figure 2.1â•… Change in UK police strength and recorded crime since 1970 (index year)
showing the demand gap in resource availablity

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they publicly echo calls for more resources and officers when crime rates
increase. Either way, increases in personnel did not match the explosion in
crime rates that occurred in many industrialised countries during the 1970s
and 1980s.
Figure 2.1 shows that increases in police strength in England and Wales
since 1970 (the index year for the chart) were unable to keep pace with
the rapid increase in recorded indictable offences over the same period.
While these figures have to be interpreted with caution (police recording
practices have changed many times over the years), the gap between the
lines (the demand gap) is broadly indicative of an increasing workload for
the police that was not matched by increases in resources. While police
strength increased by about 50 per cent, recorded crime increased by 250
per cent. In the US, the demand gap problems started in the late 1950s
Figure 2.2╇ Change in US police strength and recorded index crime since 1960 (index
year) showing the demand gap in resource availability
Intelligence-Led Policing
and early 1960s, and though accurate figures for this period are difficult to
establish, Figure 2.2 shows a similar trend with an index year of 1960.1
The demand gap had direct consequences for operational policing.
As a young police officer on H district in the East End of London in
the 1980s, I recall coming on duty and, before my work day had even
started, being handed a list of half a dozen burglaries I was required to
attend and on which to write reports. Before my boots had hit the streets,
any time for preventative patrol had been eroded by public demands for
service. Preventative patrol – long thought to be the backbone of the police
crime prevention function – needs police officers to have time that is not
committed to other policing tasks. Yet, over time, as the gap between the
numbers of police and the demands on the police increased, uncommitted
time for preventative patrol became a scarcity for most officers.
As the paperwork mountain caused by more crime increased, police
found themselves spending more and more time engaged in report-writing,
counting crime, and creating statistical returns of crime that they did not use
themselves but that were created for other agencies (Ericson and Haggerty
1997). By the 1980s, police in the UK, US and elsewhere found themselves
in a situation where the increase in crime and demand for police services
significantly outpaced any increases in the resources available to the police.
The traditional tools of criminal investigation and preventative patrol that
had pacified the public for many years were ineffective in containing rising
Limitations of the standard model of policing
Since 1829, modern policing functioned in the belief that there are some
policing truisms whose worth it would be considered heretical even to
question. Included in this list are activities that have collectively become
known as the standard model of policing: random patrol across the entire
geographic area of responsibility, rapid response, deployment of officers to
crime investigation, and reliance on law enforcement and the legal system
to suppress criminal activity (Weisburd and Eck 2004). These tactics are
overwhelmingly reactive in nature, and are often uniformly applied by
police departments irrespective of their size, the crime problems that they
have to combat, and the nature of the area that they have to police. Tilley
(2003a: 313) calls this ‘fire brigade’ policing, where once ‘the fire is put
out, the case is dealt with and then the police withdraw to await the next
incident that requires attention. There is nothing strategic about response
policing. There are no long term objectives. There is no purpose beyond
coping with the here and now.’
Since the beginning of policing, there has been a universal acceptance
of the preventative role that patrol policing fulfills. Everyone knew that
offenders would be inhibited from committing crime because of the
Origins of intelligence-led policing
perceived threat of arrest from watchful officers. This view was more often
than not shared by the public and the police alike, but a groundbreaking
study changed all this. From October 1972 through 1973, the Kansas City
Police Department varied their patrol strategy to test the hypothesis that
differences in the number of police patrolling an area affect the crime rate.
In five beats, the police only responded to crime (the ‘reactive’ beats) but
kept out of the beat for the rest of the time. In another five beats (the
‘proactive’ beats), the police increased the number of patrolling officers by
two or three times, and in five further beats, the police maintained the
usual level of policing (the ‘control’ beats, usually one patrol car per beat)
(Kelling et al. 1974). When the research team from the Police Foundation
evaluated the levels of crime, traffic accidents and public perception of the
police, they found some surprising results.
The different levels of patrol had no effect on burglaries, vehicle crime,
robberies or vandalism; citizen fear of crime did not increase in the
‘reactive’ beats; the experiment had no impact on citizen perception of the
police or police response times; and traffic accidents did not apparently
increase in the areas with fewer police (Kelling et al. 1974: 2-3). Overall,
it was clear that police patrol did not have the preventative effect that
everyone thought it did. With the benefit of hindsight, there appear to
be ways that police can perform more targeted patrols and affect crime
levels (Sherman and Weisburd 1995), but the Kansas City preventative
patrol experiment was important for two reasons; it dispelled the myth
of random preventative patrol and it highlighted the value of research to
improve policing practice.
Once the research door was opened, a plethora of policing strategies
was studied. For example, Spelman and Brown (1981) discovered, through
interviews with over 4,000 members of the public, that delays in citizen
reporting time had a huge influence on the likelihood of making an onscene arrest. When the public delay in calling the police, attempts to reduce
response time have no impact on reducing overall crime rates. What is clear
from this research period is the lack of evidence to support the standard
policing strategies long held to be the backbone of effective policing. As
David Weisburd and John Eck summarise:
While [the standard method of policing] remains in many police
agencies the dominant model for combating crime and disorder, we
find little empirical evidence for the position that generally applied
tactics that are based primarily on the law enforcement powers of the
police are effective. Whether the strategy examined was generalized
preventive patrol, efforts to reduce response time to citizen calls,
increases in numbers of police officers, or the introduction of
generalized follow-up investigations or undifferentiated intensive
enforcement activities, studies fail to show consistent or meaningful
Intelligence-Led Policing
crime or disorder prevention benefits or evidence of reductions in
citizen fear of crime. (Weisburd and Eck 2004: 57)
Organised and transnational crime
We have had organised crime since the days of high seas piracy (Hobbs
1997); however, the recent expansion in the number of organised and
coordinated groups of criminals poses a particular challenge for law
enforcement. These challenges are significant in two categories: organised
crime and transnational crime. First, within a nation’s borders, groups
of offenders bond together for mutual support and mutual protection,
and their tentacles spread across different types of criminal endeavour.
Activities associated with organised crime groups include racketeering,
political corruption, drug trafficking, and black market commodity
transportation. Many groups are organised along racial or national lines.
For example, the emergence since the 1970s of organised gangs from poor
and socially disorganised neighbourhoods has been a particular problem
in the US, where small, homogeneous neighbourhood groups have grown
into nationwide organisations that commit a range of criminal activities
and employ networks that are not necessarily severed when gang members
are imprisoned. For example, recent estimates of gang membership in US
correctional facilities range from just over 11 per cent of inmates of federal
prisons to over 15 per cent in local jails (BJA 2005). Penetration of these
groups by law enforcement is particularly challenging.
A second problem for police is caused by the growth of criminal
opportunities resulting from globalisation. While organised crime has been
discussed and perceived as a problem since the 1920s, the explosion in drug
and people trafficking has propelled transnational organised crime into a
problem that has been taken seriously only since the 1990s (Gill 2000). It
has long been known that offenders take advantage of the administrative
boundaries of police departments. In nineteenth-century London, offenders
deliberately preyed on victims close to the borders between the two new
police departments, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police
(Mayhew 1862). However, the breakdown of national boundaries in the last
century, coupled with the added complications of the end of the Cold War,
has accelerated changes on an international level, with a corresponding
increase in transnational crime. Sheptycki (2005), citing research by Bayley
and others, notes that the threat of transnational organised crime was a
driving force in the internationalisation of US law enforcement in the 1990s,
and continues to be a significant driver for globalised policing in Europe.
Sheptycki goes on to note that the threat of transnational organised crime
was the primary motivating force behind attempts to enhance transnational
policing, at least until the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Federal intelligence agencies now have desks specifically to address
Origins of intelligence-led policing
groups such as South-East Asian organised crime and the Russian mafia,
and there is a range of federal and national agencies that have mandates to
interdict transnational organised crime organisations and to link domestic
and international intelligence on these groups. In the US, agencies with an
interest in organised and transnational crime, such as the Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the
myriad other agencies under the Department of Homeland Security, are
mirrored elsewhere by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) in the
UK, the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), and the Australian
Crime Commission (ACC). The Australian Federal Police have established
liaison officers across the globe representing Australian interests in the
fight against transnational crime, from international connections such as
the UK and the US to regional interests such as Vanuatu and Myanmar.
They have established Transnational Crime Units in places such as Papua
New Guinea and Tonga, and set up the Pacific Transnational Crime Coordination Center in Fiji (Keelty 2006).
The recent change in the complexity of modern criminality has had
local implications. Local police are now unable to isolate themselves and
fixate on local issues. As offenders learn and adapt, and as their mobility
increases and they cross jurisdictional boundaries to a greater extent now
than at any time in history, the policing environment has become more
complex and challenging.
Changes in technology
Traditional intelligence systems were not sophisticated. At many police
stations, a room was dedicated to wall-to-wall card drawers filled with
folders and card files related to local offenders. In the US, this file system
was sometimes called the ‘dossier system’ (Carter 2004). The file system
(it would be too generous to call it a real intelligence system by today’s
standards) was maintained by an officer known as the collator. Better
collators would take an active interest in the upkeep of the files, crossreference files for improved intelligence use, and provide information
for briefings; however, the job of the collator (or, more recently, the local
intelligence officer) did not traditionally attract the best candidates. The
post was more commonly associated with people considered unfit for more
important duty – ‘the lame and the walking dead’ (Maguire and John 1995:
19). As a result, the information in most collators’ files was collated but
never used in any meaningful manner.2
Since the 1980s, the rapid digitalisation of the rest of the world has
not gone unnoticed within the sphere of policing, though adoption has
been somewhat slower (for an exception to this, see Weisburd and Lum
(2005) on the rapid adoption of crime-mapping technology). Computerised
intelligence databases are now able to cross-reference information across
Intelligence-Led Policing
numerous databases, search by name or keywords, and perform fuzzy
searches of partial information, and new software can disseminate the
results in a range of output formats such as link diagrams and maps.
This has dramatically changed the nature of police intelligence practice
by raising the volume of what can be accessed and integrated into an
intelligence package.
Collectively, all of these drivers for change in the way that policing
operates are relatively international. In other words, police services and
departments around the world have all been affected to a greater or
lesser degree by an environment that is more complex and accountability
oriented, where demand outpaces resource availability, and where emerging
threats to community safety present challenges for the traditional order of
policing. However, there are also drivers for change that are specific to
certain situations and nations. The next sections identify key drivers in the
US and UK policing domains.
The US policing landscape
In the US, there are some facets of the law enforcement environment
that help to explain further the growth of various new policing models.
These include the fragmentation and overlap of police organisations in the
country, a historical mistrust of any involvement of police with activities
labelled with the word ‘intelligence’, and the growth of policing paradigms
that were a response to problems not necessarily shared with the same
vigour in other countries.
Fragmented and uncoordinated
Law enforcement in the US, given its historical and political origins,
is fragmented and lacks both vertical and horizontal coordination, a
management issue documented since the President’s Commission on Law
Enforcement and Administration of Justice in 1967. To get some scale
of the fragmentation issue, consider the following. In October 2006, the
Table 2.1╇ US non-federal police agencies and officer totals, 2004
Type of agency
Local police
Special jurisdiction
Number of agencies
Number of full-time sworn officers
Origins of intelligence-led policing
US population hit 300 million. At the same time the UK population was
stable at about 60 million. The UK has 52 geographic police services (39
in England, four in Wales, one in Northern Ireland and eight in Scotland).
If the US had the same ratio of agencies as the UK (using population as
the denominator) it should have 260 police departments; however, in 2004,
the US had 17,786 state and local police departments.3 As Table 2.1 shows,
the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the majority of non-federal
departments and sworn officers are employed in local municipal police
departments. With an additional 104,884 officers employed in federal law
enforcement, the US sworn officer community exceeds 800,000.
In this environment, sharing regional intelligence on crime patterns
and offender activity is essential, because criminal endeavours and
opportunities spanning local policing domains are particularly well suited
to take advantage of weaknesses in a policing model dominated by local
control and minimal regional cooperation (Sheptycki 2002). In terms of
fighting the increasing complexity of the criminal world, the US system of
local government and independence of law enforcement control actively
militates against an organised response.
In response, the 1973 National Advisory Commission on Criminal Justice
Standards and Goals argued that every law enforcement agency and state
police should establish a capacity to gather and disseminate information
on offenders, and that every state should provide a centralised clearing
system. Furthermore, they argued that every police agency with 75 or more
sworn employees should have an intelligence capability. In their nearly 70
recommendations and standards, they also called for additional planning
at the metropolitan and regional levels (LEAA 1973).
A resultant development was the Regional Information Sharing Systems
(RISS) network, used as the primary formal method of passing criminal
intelligence between agencies. The Criminal Intelligence System Operating
Policies (28 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) Part 23) – perceived by
many in the US as the main constraint on intelligence sharing – was written
to apply primarily to the RISS centers (Peterson 2005). Since 9/11, the
mantle of information-sharing hub appears to have been passed on. As the
following viewpoint from Ray Guidetti demonstrates, the fragmented and
uncoordinated nature of American policing creates particular challenges
for information sharing, challenges that are starting to be tackled with the
introduction across the US of fusion centers.
Intelligence-Led Policing
Fragmented policing and the role of fusion centers
Ray Guidetti
The dreadful attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent approach to
counterterrorism have drastically shaped the policies, strategies, and
operations of law enforcement agencies across the US, and have thrust
American policing into a new age. Practitioners have begun to view
policing from a new paradigm that has been called the Homeland
Security era. It is an age where conventional thinking expects intelli�
gence and information-sharing to carry the day. Yet even with the
imperative of growing terrorism and radical jihadism, organisational
structures, perceptions, traditions, and cultural divides still daunt this
mission. Police intelligence operations of the past, and the negative
connotations associated with such practices, continue to demonize the
tradecraft of criminal intelligence domestically. Moreover, lack of an
official doctrine regarding domestic intelligence at the national level
undermines our concerted efforts to adopt effective strategies.
â•… One particular US problem that is not shared by other countries
is the plethora of over 18,000 law enforcement agencies spread
across federal, state, and local governments. Structurally this makes
cooperation more challenging, and particularly so when police
administrators have yet to reward information and intelligence
sharing. Faced with these pitfalls, police professionals are turning to
fusion centers to spearhead efforts to produce intelligence that drives
policy, strategy, and operations at the state and local levels.
â•… The New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (NJ ROIC),
for example, sits between a mass of federal agencies, a few state
agencies, and over 550 local police departments. The role of our center
is to maintain state-wide situational awareness for response to current
and future security issues concerning New Jersey. By collecting and
analyzing information, the NJ ROIC seeks to craft finished intelligence
products designed to interpret the patterns and trends of the criminal
environment, and then provide predictive analysis to consumers.
Nonetheless, the job is difficult in the absence of clarity from the
federal government. ‘Building the plane as we’re flying it,’ is the
common mantra that echoes throughout this center.
â•… By their very nature, fusion centers are designed to blend information
from a variety of sources, an array of disciplines, and from every
level of government. The challenge is intimidating and necessitates
allied agencies to not only earmark liaison officers to carry out the
fusion center mission, but construct changes to their existing policies
Origins of intelligence-led policing
and procedures that in the past may have obstructed information and
intelligence sharing. Many of today’s fusion centers concentrate solely
on terrorism, while others adopt an ‘all crimes, all hazards, all threats’
approach. Regardless of their focus, each will have to confront the
obstacles inherent to change: the fusion center is the first attempt at
introducing the concepts of intelligence and intelligence-led policing
to an undeveloped network of potential information collectors and
intelligence producers and consumers.
â•… Despite present-day thinking that increasingly recognizes the value
of intelligence and intelligence-led policing, the acceptance among
mainstream practitioners continues to be disheartening. This is
particularly troubling in the wake of 9/11. It has, however, provided
an inimitable opportunity for fusion centers to become collaborative
information-sharing environments across Federal, state and local levels.
These centers have the prospect of molding the concepts of intelligence
into the operating domain, yet their success will undoubtedly rely on
the creativity, leadership, and ingenuity of those leading them.
Lieutenant Ray Guidetti, a 15-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police
and career intelligence officer, supervises the Analysis Element within New
Jersey’s fusion center.
Demonising intelligence
From the original ‘dossier system’ of the 1920s, police in the US had long
kept information on suspect persons such as bootleggers and high-profile
criminals. However, when the House Committee on Un-American Activities
(formed in 1937) resumed in the period immediately following World War
II, fuelled by the advocacy of Senator Joseph McCarthy, some US police
departments began to use dossiers to catalogue the activities of people
believed to be communists or communist sympathisers. These dossiers
were still in use during the growth of the civil rights movement and in the
protests surrounding US involvement in the Vietnam War (Carter 2004).
Serious questions began to emerge about the use of intelligence records
and the intelligence activity of police departments when evidence came to
light of the bugging by the FBI of Martin Luther King, Jr. When William
C. Sullivan, former Assistant Director of the FBI’s Domestic Intelligence
Division, testified in 1975 before the Senate Select Committee to Study
Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (the
findings of which are also referred to as the Senate Select Committee on
Intelligence Activities, or the Church Report), he explained that from 1963
to his assassination in 1968, Dr King had been ‘the target of an intensive
campaign by the FBI to neutralize him as an effective civil rights leader’ (DOJ
Intelligence-Led Policing
1977: 1). As revealed by the Church Report, the FBI’s counterintelligence
programme (COINTELPRO), which ran from 1956 to 1971, rapidly moved
from its original aims of targeting foreign intelligence agencies during the
Cold War to spying on American citizens and dissident political bodies
(Brodeur 1983). They even went as far as planting false information and
rumours about American political leaders (White 2004).
The lack of governance of police intelligence units had a corollary
outcome in a degree of abuse of the ethics of the intelligence process.
Intelligence files were kept on people who were not criminals but merely
politically active and vocal in their objections to government policy. As a
result, a number of police departments, either through political pressure,
voluntarily, or from court mandate, closed down their criminal intelligence
units (Peterson 2005).
Moving into the late 1960s and early 1970s, this movement of
lawsuits reached toward law enforcement intelligence units. It was
increasingly discovered that police agencies were keeping intelligence
files on people for whom there was no evidence of criminality. The
practice of keeping intelligence dossiers on a contingency basis
was found to be improper, serving no compelling state interest and
depriving those citizens of their constitutional rights. As a result, the
courts repeatedly ordered intelligence files to be purged from police
records and in many cases police agencies had to pay damage awards
to plaintiffs. The decisions also permitted citizens to gain access to
their own records. Many activists publicized their intelligence files as
a badge of honor, often to the embarrassment of the police (Carter
2004: 25).
Coupled with the Watergate scandal, the focus of US intelligence manage�
ment (both national security and criminal) became obsessed with the legality
of its practices resulting in a raft of legislation that limited intelligencegathering activities. In the minds of the public, police use of intelligence
became viewed with suspicion, while within law enforcement it became
seen as a liability that few were prepared to risk employing.
The repercussions of this phase in US law enforcement history are
still being felt today. The National Institute of Justice – the research,
development, and evaluation agency of the US Department of Justice – still
avoids the term ‘intelligence-led policing’ in preference for a broader but
less accurate term, ‘information-led policing’. And a recent survey of over
800 police departments in the US found that only about 40 per cent of
large departments (with more than 100 sworn officers) enter intelligence
records onto a computerised system (O’Shea and Nicholls 2002: 17).
Origins of intelligence-led policing
The community policing era
From the 1920s to the 1970s, American policing moved from being a political
tool to the professional model of policing favoured by August Vollmer
and articulated on a grand scale by Orlando Wilson. Focusing on serious
crime, Wilson and his reformist colleagues emphasised the importance of
bureaucratic autonomy, operational efficiency, and the use of command and
control systems to ensure internal accountability (Kelling and Wycoff 2002).
As in the UK, this standard model was dominated by rapid response, car
patrols and criminal investigations.
However, at the same time as this model was attaining dominance,
it was being undermined in the US by public concern regarding police
actions they were witnessing for the first time. Although the police were
not to blame for the social conditions that fuelled many of the urban riots
of the 1960s, it was the activities of police on the streets that appeared to
be the catalyst for many of the riots. The police response to often peaceful
protestors demonstrating against the Vietnam War and for the civil rights
movement brought unwanted attention to the doors of local police chiefs.
The graphic television images of police with dogs and water cannon
brought an unwelcome and unexpected reality into the homes of middleclass America.
President Lyndon Johnson’s Crime Commission on Law Enforcement
and the Administration of Justice, in operation after July 1965, produced
their report titled ‘The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society’ in 1967.
Like similar reports of the time, the commission noted the relationship
between social factors, such as racism, the moral failings of offenders,
social injustice and poverty, and the resultant violence and disorder. The
commission recommended that the police work especially hard in minority
communities, and that they make attempts to regain legitimacy and offset
the unpopularity of the police through community relations programmes.
In these early days, officers assigned to such programmes were
sometimes drawn from the ‘empty holster crowd’ – officers who were
assigned to limited duties because of drinking problems or other issues
that prevented their being issued with a firearm (Kelling and Wycoff 2002:
Ch. 3: 2). But this was at least a beginning, and the community policing
movement, although taking time to gain momentum, can trace its roots
back to these tumultuous times of the 1960s and 1970s. The community
policing industry, with its philosophical triumvirate of citizen involvement,
problem solving and decentralisation (Skogan 2006b), was attractive to
police managers rocked by falling public confidence, and political leaders
looking to improve the standing of the police department and control
public fear of crime.
The community policing era promoted the notion of public accountability
for their response to crime to some police chiefs for the first time.
Intelligence-Led Policing
Furthermore, through the broad conceptual framework of community
policing, problem-oriented policing was able to surface as a data-driven,
objective crime-reduction strategy – important characteristics for the
eventual emergence of intelligence-led policing.
Slow emergence of problem-oriented policing
Michael Scott, Director of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing and a
chronicler of the growth of problem-oriented policing, argues that problemoriented policing is still in its relative infancy (Scott 2000). But there is still
enough evidence from the last 25 years to trace the growth and development
of problem-oriented policing as both an idea and a policing movement.
Madison, Wisconsin, was the first police department to adopt formally
Herman Goldstein’s problem-oriented policing approach when they tackled
the problems of drunk driving and repeat sex offenders. Within a few
years of the publication of an early article on the topic (Goldstein 1979),
UK police services were also experimenting with problem-oriented policing
(Leigh et al. 1996), and in the US the police in Baltimore County (Maryland)
and Newport News (Virginia) were evaluating more formal experiments.
The nationwide accessibility of the report on problem-oriented policing in
the Newport News Police Department was hugely influential in spreading
the message and techniques to a large practitioner audience. John Eck
and William Spelman (1987) introduced the SARA methodology to a huge
audience of police officers looking for a way to have an impact on crime
problems in their communities, and the SARA approach of Scan, Analyse,
Respond and Assess, has become one of the best-known acronyms in
modern policing. Scott (2000) lists over 60 prominent police agencies now
associated with problem-oriented policing, looking, in the words of Herman
Goldstein, to draw ‘the police away from the traditional preoccupation with
creating an efficient organisation; from the heavy investment in standard,
generic operating procedures for responding to calls and preventing crime;
and from heavy dependence on criminal law as the primary means for
getting their job done’ (foreword in Scott 2000: vi).
Problem-oriented policing is important to the development of intelligenceled policing because it has opened the eyes of a whole generation of police
managers to the possibilities of using crime analysis to form operational
strategies and solve problems. Through the work of environmental
criminologists and the development of areas such as situational crime
prevention, new methods of strategic crime management that address longterm solutions to crime problems are increasingly possible.
Origins of intelligence-led policing
Rapid emergence of Compstat
Not only were the 1980s and 1990s a period of innovation for problem and
community-based crime control solutions, but they were also the period
that saw the rapid emergence of Compstat as a crime-fighting strategy.
The meaning of the word ‘Compstat’ is not very clear (Maple and Mitchell
1999). Most people claim that it is shorthand for ‘computerised statistics’
(Vito et al. 2005) or ‘computer comparison statistics’ (Walsh 2001), though
it has recently been claimed to represent ‘compare stats’, the name of an
original computer file used to store crime data (Silverman 2006). Either
way, Compstat began in the Crime Control Strategy meetings of the New
York City Police Department (NYPD) in January 1994. Police Commissioner
William Bratton, newly hired from the city’s Transit Police by Mayor
Rudy Giuliani, created Compstat with the primary aim of establishing
accountability among the city’s 76 police commanders (Magers 2004). The
much-publicised crime drop in New York around this time cemented the
popular view that Compstat was responsible for making the city safer:
major crime in the city fell by half from 1993 to 1998 (Walsh 2001).
In 1996, the prestigious Ford Foundation and John F. Kennedy School of
Government awarded Compstat the Innovations in American Government
Award, noting that although other police departments were using crimemapping technology, the innovative component in New York was the
organisational overhaul that brought commanders and managers together
(Ford Foundation 1996: 31). Other awards followed, notably from then
Vice President Al Gore, and considerable publicity propelled Compstat
into the national spotlight. The mayor of Baltimore even uses a variant of
Compstat (called CitiStat) as a management process for his city government
(Silverman 2006).
However, as numerous researchers have argued, there may have been
additional factors that explain the rapid spread of Compstat. David
Weisburd and colleagues (2003) note that the problem-oriented policing
movement had already demonstrated the benefit of a data-driven, decisionmaking platform to police managers; there was increased knowledge in
regard to the effectiveness of responses to crime; Compstat coincided with
the digital explosion that reduced computing costs; and, finally, police
leaders were becoming more comfortable with professional management
concepts. While limiting themselves to the effect of Compstat on homicide
rates, Eck and Maguire’s (2000) examination of various different strands of
evidence resulted in the conclusion that ‘there is little evidence to support
the assertion that Compstat caused the decline in homicides’ (p. 235).
Erroneous or not, the reputation had nevertheless been established, and
Compstat spread rapidly throughout the US and th…
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