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The intelligence and definition of Led Policing

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Criminology
Wordcount: 2749 words Published: 2nd May 2017

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A lot has been discussed about Intelligence Led Policing (ILP), yet there is no standard definition of ILP (McGarrell, Freilich, Chermak, 2007). Ratcliffe (2003) said it is “the application of criminal intelligence analysis as objective decision making tool in order to facilitate crime reduction and crime prevention through effective policing strategies and external partnership projects drawn from an evidential base”. His notion found support from Sheptycki (2005) who defined Intelligence Led Policing as “The technological effort to manage information about threats and risks in order to strategically manage the policing mission. Lint (2006) differs slightly and says ILP is a policing model which is built around risk assessment and risk management. He also says ILP is “a strategic, future-oriented and targeted approach to crime control, focusing upon the identification, analysis and ‘management’ of persisting and developing ‘problems’ or ‘risks’. In the last several years, the definition of ILP has been expanded to include more integrated to tenets of Problem Oriented police solving. This has led to revision and a new definition of ILP as : Intelligence­led policing is a business model and managerial philosophy where data analysis andcrime intelligence are pivotal to an objective, decision­making framework that facilitates crime and problem reduction, disruption and prevention through both strategic management and effective enforcement strategies that target prolific and serious offenders. (Ratcliffe, 2008)

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The 3i Model

Ratcliffe (1993) was looking for a simple model to intelligence and crime analysts what their function in an intelligence-led policing environment should be. This was because most of them spent analysing crime on a micro environment while forgetting about the bigger picture. Ratcliffe along with an Australian Federal agent analysed the situation and came up with a 3i model to show or suggest to the crime analysts the purpose of crime analysis in the modern policing world. It is a more proactive model compared to the previous methodology of problem oriented policing.

Ratcliffe (2003) said that intelligence-driven crime reduction is a three-stage process, which requires that: law enforcement agencies interpret the criminal environment, influence decision-makers which may include people not sworn in as police officers like the general public, judiciary, the legislature, other organisations and the criminals themselves, and finally the decision-makers impact on the criminal environment. This 3i model (interpret, influence, impact) is used as the framework for an evaluation of the intelligence process.

In the 3i model (interpret, influence, impact) the analytical arm of the police department gathers data or intelligence, understands and analyses the criminal environment and determines or interprets things like who the main players are, and what are the significant and emerging threats. This is the intelligence part of the model. As the diagram shows the intelligence thus gathered is used to influence the decision makers whoever they are. The 3i model does not determine who the decision maker is. It depends from case to case and situation to situation. The Decision makers then decide the best course of action and implement it. This impacts the criminal environment.

ILP does not occur by just one or two functions, it needs all three to work together. The Intelligence needs to be collected and the analysts need to interpret the information and Influence the decision makers, the decision makers then need to act on the given information. If one of the steps is missed, ILP will collapse.

Importance of Interpretation

Out of the three I’s I personally feel that Intelligence gathering and interpretation function is the most critical of them all. If intelligence collected or gathered is incorrect or interpreted wrongly, then the remaining actions would not solve the purpose or the aim of ILP. In the model that Ratcliffe suggests, the arrow represents the flow of data and it runs from the intelligence analysis unit to the criminal environment. This is a reflection of the way things work in real life in crime intelligence analysis. While a push model, where analysts send out information requests via forms and then wait for the requested information to come back sounds easier and more manageable; in practice it is not so. The reasons for this include a lot of information is at times “hear say” or “word on the street”. Also a lot of times, the information is tacit. It is not advisable to write down such information for fear of “moles” in the police departments, who might let the criminals know of the moles in their organisation. It is a bit James Bond-ish with espionage and counter espionage activities going on all the time. The situation is aptly described by Higgins (2008, 80) as: The Push model does not work well in practise. The bureaucratic structure and culture of law enforcement agencies militates against the effective communication of intelligence requirements. The culture also thwarts the push model because a large volume of information remains tacit, ‘inside officers heads’ rather than recorded in intelligence records which can be shared at the push of a button.

Since the push model does not work effectively, the analysts have to resort to a pull model for gathering information. It is a more proactive way of doing things. In this approach, the analysts seek information or intelligence from investigating officers, confidential informants and debriefing handlers. It is a more active approach as the analysts might even have to go to the field rather than getting all the information at the fingertips. The analysts can hence have a better feel of what is actually going on. The added benefit that I see in this model is that while it is the job of the analysts to interpret data and influence the decision makers, if they are fed data, they can in turn be influenced easily on what data is to be sent. They would be more open to manipulation by field agents. In the pull model, since the analysts actually meet some people, they have a better chance at evaluating if a person is lying to them or manipulating them by looking at the person. Officers are trained to spot such people who lie. They can notice the nervous twitch, sweating, tone of voice, rate of speech etc and have better judgement if the intelligence is true or useful.

Practical Observations

The General Department of Criminal Investigations (CID) is the backbone in all matters relating to crime and criminals. It has varied functions and duties can accommodate wide geographical area of the United Arab Emirates. The mission of the department is a) to utilise all available means to prevent crimes. B) Detaining outlaws and providing conviction evidence in accordance with the regulations and legislation in force in the country and c) Maintaining security and stability, and sustaining regulations and legislation. It is entrusted to controlling crime in all forms, following the ways it develops, and utilizing all means to prevent it, and to achieve social stability. To meet its aim, the CID in UAE follows the 3i model. Intelligence is gathered by various means including surveillance, scientific evidence collection and analysis, use of people inside crime rings- informants and constabulary on patrol. The data is interpreted and then the decision makers are informed. As is in the 3i model, sometimes the decision makers are not from the police departments but affected parties as the case study would demonstrate.

Case Study

I have worked as a police officer for three years in Al Modena police station in CID section. It is a great place to work. The senior officers and the government is very supportive. There is a feeling of doing good and giving back to the community working as a police officer. In last few years we noticed that the number of shop theft crime increased dramatically especially at night in different areas. That was because the careless on the part of shop owners. They would keep their shops open late into the night and employ people without verifying their antecedents. The shops were designed like the newer malls but without the added precautions like RF security tags on goods or parabolic mirrors. There would be little or no security at the shop in form of security guards or cameras and this coupled with other factors like low population of people and police at streets in night, lure of easy money and quick getaways thanks to small size of the emirates meant the shopkeepers were sitting targets for the shop lifters.

Process for prevention:

We created new strategy when we recorded the names of all people who were working at the shops in that area. This helped reduce the number of fake cases of shoplifting being reported as police could analyse the trend if a worker moved to a shop and they started reporting an increasing number of shoplifting cases. This pointed towards collusion between the workers and the shoplifters.

Encouraged the shopkeepers to invest in RF tags for goods.

Police and government cooperated and made new law, shops most close before 11 p.m. Also shops should put alarms. This was done after analysis of the data that most of the shopliftings take place late in the night. There were several factors that came to light including low police presence and lesser people meant fewer witnesses.

Increase the number of patrol cars in the hot spot areas. This was done after going through several studies which concurred that police presence acts as deterrence and the most effect is generated when the visit is between 11 and 15 minutes.(Koper, 1995)

Send undercover officers who were of different nationality so they did not rouse suspicions amongst the criminals.

The known “bad characters” of the area were kept under constant surveillance. This led to the criminal environment being aware that the police was aware of the problem and would not tolerate shoplifting as “petty crime”.


Shops did not follow rules.

Not enough police men to cover area.

Long working hours of policemen meant that they were tired and did not want to register complaints or work on them as they were considered non serious offences.

No experience with the some officers to deal with such crimes.

The shopkeepers did not have any training to react to shoplifters.

The ethical question: should owners be still allowed to keep money at shops so that encourage the criminals to steal? Use their money as bait? This had the possibility of someone getting hurt besides loss of money. (Barocas, 1973)

Shopkeepers reluctant to invest a lot into security as they said it was a state matter. The government should provide for security for the people.

Police did not work very well at night. Very few policemen on streets and at police stations.

Non Co-operation even in the department as different officers had different styles of working. Some were just not interested in working hard as they were on a “loan” from a different area and solving or not solving the crime had no affect on their career growth chart.


Better and more frequent training for the policemen. This would include the introduction of the 3i model right from the academy training days so that new policemen know the value of intelligence, how it how it is to be collected, interpreted, how it influences the decision making process and what or how does it impact the criminal environment.

Employ more policemen to tide over the shortage. This would also mean more police presence on the street which is a great visual deterrent. Several studies conducted have long proven this. (Andenaes,1974)(Goldstein, 1990)(Felson, 1987) et al.

Provided training to shopkeepers on what to do in situations like hol ups or shoplifting.

Imposition of heavy fines and cancellation of shop license for shops that flout the rules and stay open past the closing hours of 11 PM or do not have adequate security measures like the silent alarms or security guards etc.

Reward and recognition for police men who perform well.

Mandatory installation of CC TV (cameras) at these shops. CCTV’s act as great deterrents. (Webster, 2009)

Working with the 3i model, information was first collected on the crimes committed. This included getting data of the number of people arrested, the times when these crimes were committed, understanding the psyche of the criminals, the environments where these incidents took place. It was noted that most of the crimes occurred at night when the police presence was minimal. It was also noted that the security measures at the places was next to none. There were no cameras, no security guards, no alarms and the store owners did not even train the workers how to react in cases of theft or holdups. The information was interpreted and the crimes were analysed as crimes of opportunity. The Police realised that there were only so many things that they could do and more effort was needed from the shopkeepers too. The shopkeepers hence were the critical decision makers in this example. They had to perform majority of the actions including installation of RF tags, alarms and Closed Circuit TV cameras. They were also explained that the state would not be able to cover their losses, but at most would try and find the persons who stole. Recovery rate of stolen goods is low. They also had to register their employees and provide sufficient training. The impact of these actions was that the crimes eventually reduced to low levels as the criminals understood that they had little to gain from petty shoplifting and the punishment was not worth the crime.

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The above mentioned steps also align with Situational theory of crime. “Enhancing natural surveillance is a prime objective of defensible space, and also, more explicitly, of ‘neighbourhood watch’.” (Ronald V. Clarke 1992 pg 18). The basic tenets of the theory include Target hardening, Access Control, Deflecting Offenders, and controlling facilitators, Identifying property, increasing guilt and shame of offenders. By constant Policing the acquisition of a soft target became difficult. The offenders too understood that the “crime is not worth the time”. By installing alarms and security guards and CCTV Cameras, the control over the premises was facilitated. All the steps working in cohesion helped the problem come down to manageable levels.


There seems to be no standard definition of what ILP- Intelligence Led Policing is. Its definition has been dynamic and open to interpretations. While some see it as a philosophy (Ratcliffe 2003 and Sheptycki, 2005) and as an objective decision making tool to facilitate crime reduction and crime prevention through effective policing strategies and external partnership projects, others see it as a model (Lint 2006) built around risk assessment and Risk management. He also sees it as a strategic, future-oriented and targeted approach to crime control, focusing upon the identification, analysis and ‘management’ of persisting and developing ‘problems’ or ‘risks’. The 3i model talks about the process of ILP as a three stage model where intelligence is collected from the criminal environment and analysed and interpreted by the analytical wing of the department. The second stage is influence where the decision making happens. The decision makers need not be sworn police officers, they could be anyone from organisations to people, judiciary etc. The decision thus made impacts the criminal environment. The process can not be complete unless all the three stages happen. If the information is collected wrongly or interpreted wrongly, this in turn would influence the decision makers in an incorrect fashion and the impact on the criminal environment would not be the desired impact. The paper also talks about my personal experiences in the CID in UAE and how the 3i model has helped reduce the crime of shoplifting.


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