Hengst & Mors (2013) define Intelligence-Led Policing (ILP) as the use of analyzed information by decision makers to make a decision on police resources. ILP was developed as a result of increased terrorism which called for more integration of community policing and counterterrorism. This paper will discuss the various elements of ILP, the advantages, and the disadvantages.
The ILP model comprises of the criminal environment, intelligence and decision-maker. How the model works is that intelligence influences decision-making, the intelligence is interpreted to understand the criminal environment, and the decision-making impacts the criminal environment. The first element of ILP is information management. In ILP, there is increased integration between the counterterrorism activities and community policing. Crucial information is collected from the general public or the community, and it is used to determine the problems facing that community. The input of information is much valued in ILP because it forms the basis of intelligence analysis. The second element is two-way communication between the police and the community. Community policing is used to provide valuable information about people existing in the community that are offenders and pose a potential threat to the security of the community. ILP focuses on dangerous and prolific offenders (Ratcliffe, 2011). This critical communication is used by the relevant police agent to prevent crime. On the other hand, the police communicate possible threats to the community to prevent crime and also eliminate fear among the population.
The third element is the scientific analysis of information where a threat is analyzed using data collected. ILP uses integrated crime and criminal analysis. After the scientific analysis, risk management is formulated and implemented. The last and crucial element in ILP is problem-solving, analyzed intelligence is appropriately used for prevention and enforcement. The intelligence is used to rectify issues that may put vulnerable groups into harm’s way.
ILP has several merits in fighting crime in the modern age. The model has been used to enhance methods of investigation where officers can work with intelligence instead of information. Intelligence has been made possible through the use of analysts who are trained and knowledgeable in analyzing information compared to police officers. Analysts provide police officers usable and meaningful information which they wouldn’t’ have otherwise analyzed by themselves. ILP is used to outline both geographical and spatial crime trends. ILP is more of an offensive than defensive approach because the police are more aware of the likelihood of a crime to occur on location and time, therefore, preventing the crime from happening. The police are spending their time in a more useful manner than before by staying ahead of the criminals instead of playing catch-up. The approach is more proactive as more time is used in analyzing data and resources are allocated appropriately based on facts freeing up resources. The increased integration between community policing and counterterrorism activities has increased transparency in policing thus reducing public fear and growing flow of information from the public to the police agents. In ILP there is real-time sharing of information which is expected to provide prompt action and prevention of crime.
Intelligence Led Policing has its fair share of disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that there is low political will to implement ILP strategies by the policy makers and the police because of the political risks involved despite the willingness of the public and academics (Skogan, 1999). ILP is based on the prowess and accuracy of the analyst and not on the actual evidence as used in investigative policing; therefore, its ability to prevent crime is limited to the competence of the analyst. Lastly, increased transparency and flow of information means the public can access more information; this means that information can easily get to the wrong hand making the process counter-productive.