Intelligence-Led Policing

Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is a practice that over the years has been integrated in security systems of various nations. It is considered a model that assesses and manages various risks and crimes within societies (Jerry, 2012). This paper looks at various aspects of intelligence-led policing. The paper begins by giving an overview of what constitutes the intelligence-led policing where it explores various definitions of intelligence-led policing. A historical perspective is then given where its origin is enumerated and it is found that its roots are in the US and the UK where it started taking shape in the early 1990’s due to various wide spread calls for its implementations (Thomas, 2008).

The paper then gives various distinctive aspects of intelligence-led policing and enumerates its various elements which are found to be four in number. These four elements are the targeting of criminals, managing of crime and prevalence areas, investigation of crime and its related activities, and application of various preventive measures to curb it. The paper then gives a pictorial representation of the intelligence-led policing model and distinguishes its three structures and processes giving their flows. The manner in which the model works is then elaborated in terms of stages which are also identified to be three.

The paper looks at the manner in which the process or model of intelligence-led policy and information gathered influence the decisions made by the people charged with responsibility of making decisions. Its impacts on the identified environment where there is a possibility of crime occurring or where crime has actually occurred are discussed into details. The study then outlines various threats that the intelligence-led policing model of crime assessment and management face from different quarters such as general public, political class and its effect on other security organs, too in terms of perception and operations.

Various implications of this model of crime evaluation and management are also given, with the most notable being the enumeration of their impact on the structure and management processes and procedures within various security agencies. The study then ends by giving an evaluation of the model and highlighting the rising issues in its application.


Intelligence-Led Policing

It is considered to be a policing model that has cropped up in the recent years due to many challenges faced in the police departments. It is based on the development of strategies that enable the assessment and proper management of crime situations. This model is considered to be of strategic nature to the security departments as it provides a future-oriented approach towards control and containment of crime (Jerry, 2012).  Its focus has been mainly on the identification, analysis and management of persistent crimes, other developing problems and risks within identifiable regions, otherwise known as crime environments.

Different studies have traced their origin to the early 1990’s when there were wide spread calls in the United State and United Kingdom for application of crime reduction tactics or methods that could concentrate on effective enforcing and preventing the occurrence of crime through the use of information gathering on a strict and confidential basis (Thomas, 2008). It was to employ other tactics, such as interviewing criminals, analyzing the available records on various criminal activities, ensuring that suspected criminals are under surveillance and also gathering information from general public. Intelligence-led policing is argued to have evolved over the years and become a management philosophy that places greater emphasis on the sharing of information and collaborating with other agencies to develop strategic solutions to crime menace (U.S Government Publication, 2011).

Distinctive Features

There are various features that distinguish the intelligence-led policing model of management from other forms, such as community policing, as discussed below.

  1. There has been an increase in the usage of intelligence when it comes to the application of intelligence-led policing to combat crime.
  2. The usage of surveillance has also been employed in this model where criminal activities are continuously monitored so as to keep them in check.
  3. The suspected criminals and those who have already been identified as criminals are usually kept under surveillance to monitor their movements thus limiting their chances of committing criminal activities that might be harmful to the general public.
  4. Unlike other policing methods, the intelligence-led policing usually flows to the top most decisions making organs of any security agency.
  5. It has endeavored to put more emphasis on the top-down ranking process with the law enforcing agencies where the low ranked officers bear the greatest responsibility of execution while the top most officers are only charged with the responsibility of decision making.
  6. It differs significantly with the method of community policing as the community policing is characterized with the process of putting a lot of emphasis on the general needs and desires of the community in which it is applied. Intelligence-led policing, on the other hand, puts a lot of emphasis on the strategies and priorities that are determined by use of a more objective analytical technique applied towards analysis of environment in which potential criminal activities exist (Steven, 2011).

The model of intelligence-led policing has four distinctive elements characterized with it as highlighted below:

  1. The element of targeting criminals through processes such as the overt and covert methodologies of crime detection.
  2. The next element involves the management of crime and criminal activities by identifying and safe guarding potential crime hot spots.
  3. It has the element of investigation where various crimes are analyzed with their related incidences.
  4. The final element is that of application of preventive measures that are used to curtail crime.

Model of the Intelligence-Led Policing

The model works in the following manner:

The model begins with the process of interpreting various criminal environments that have been identified. The identification is done by intelligence authorities who then analyze the already identified environment. Information on the identified environment is usually gathered from significantly credible sources that are highly confidential.

The second stage of the structure is identification of influences the intelligence information will have on the decision-makers. It is argued that the decision-makers must practice at most care when doing identification of crime environment. Their analysis of the environment will influence the kind of decision they will eventually make regarding the crime reduction strategy that they might want to implement in the process of curbing the identified crime within the known environment.

The final stage is that which requires decisions to be made. This stage demands that decision-makers develop an enthusiastic urge and portray the necessary skills that enable them to explore various ways in which the identified crime will be reduced or terminated in totality thus impacting positively on the environment in which it happed (Thomas, 2008).

Influence on Decision-Makers

Research studies have found out that this model has greatly influenced the decisions made due to various factors related to it. The process of intelligence acquisition can sometimes fail due to factors like the informants failing to give factual information that can be used to analyze any environment of crime or criminal activities. Decision-makers might also fail to see through into the very importance of information value as it is provided. Intelligences do compete considerably with other forces within the decision-makers mind (Steven, 2011). Situations might arise where the police, which is charged with responsibility of implementing the decision made, have intelligence information that is objective in nature and recommends that a particular group should be targeted. Such an objective might face a challenge where there are competing factors, such as the probable occurrence of an adverse reaction by the community, media scrutiny and pressure or unavailability of financial resources to be employed in the implementation of recommendations. The intelligence authorities do not exist within the police system. Such scenarios call for application of comprehensive intelligence system that will recognize and influence a range of broad based internal and external decisions of the decision-makers.

Impact on Criminal Environment

Intelligence-led policing has several impacts on the environment it is applied in and it must influence the general environment through reduction of crime. It has to continuously focus on tactics that, if employed, will lead to the achievement of the intended benefits like spontaneous police patrols and operational efficiencies in police responses to outbreaks of crime. It must also reduce the levels of fears of crime within the environment it is employed.

Threats to Intelligence-Led Policing

The model has strived to ensure a high level of efficiency in the process of policing but it has also faced several challenges such as measurement of efficiency which has greatly conflicted with the intelligence-led policing, such as performance culture. The performance culture in different security services tends to measure the possibility of certain things to take place. Such situations of micromanagement lead to disappearance of the intended benefits of intelligence-led policing (Jerry, 2012). This makes the police deviate their attention from hard-to-measure areas, such as crime prevention, community policing and concentrating on measurable areas making them become reactive rather than be proactive. When priority is given to the high profile crime at the expense of petty crimes which are wide spread, the public’s confidence in the police erodes.

Implications of Intelligence-Led Policing

This model has had several implications as highlighted below:

  1. It has ensured that supportive and well-informed command structures are established within the police force.
  2. The model has been entrenched within the police structures and other security systems’ structures.
  3. It has led to integration of analysis when assessing crime thus ensuring that it is effectively managed.
  4. It has also led to more focus being put on both minor and major crimes with routine investigations and screen out programs being developed.
  5. Analytical and executive programs that are crime preventive have been developed leading to provision of sufficient database that is reliable and supports the process of decision-making.
  6. It has enabled the usage of appropriate preventive and disruptive measures that are enforced to avert crime.


Scholars argue that the process is still in its early stages and therefore lacks the concept of universal framework in its application. Difficulties are also faced when it comes to its implementation as it requires only police managers to be involved. It erodes the essence of other national security organs and is faced with the risk of interference from political leaders who might want to misuse or abuse their powers.

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