In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Intelligence-Led Policing

  • Introduction
  • Information Collection and Sharing
  • Importance of Analysis
  • Application of Intelligence-Led Policing to Complex Criminality

Criminology Intelligence-Led Policing
Jeremy Carter
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 June 2018
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 June 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0250


In the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, law enforcement agencies across local, state, and federal levels recognized a vulnerable gap in the existing approach to policing. In short, this gap was the failure to systematically collect, analyze, share, and leverage information related to possible threats. Indeed, this gap was a focal point of the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, also known as the 9/11 Commission Report. Intelligence-led policing (ILP) was developed as a promising solution to remedy this operational shortcoming. However, this is the story of ILP in the United States. The origins of ILP can be traced to the United Kingdom, specifically to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, which developed the National Intelligence Model (NIM). A central focus of the NIM was to focus on habitual offenders and develop efficiency gains with police resources. In these two simply presented respects, the US model of ILP was focused heavily on terrorism threats, whereas the UK model of ILP sought reductions of crime and disorder. The operational foci of ILP in the United States and the United Kingdom were drawn closer together following the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, wherein US law enforcement acknowledged the need to leverage intelligence practices to impact “all-crimes, all-threats, all-hazards.” This evolution toward a broader focus of intelligence practices in the United States is evident in the various conceptual understandings of ILP and its impact on a wide range of outcomes. This historical backdrop is provided to give context for the following collection of research and resources. It is important to note that ILP does not enjoy the depth of evidence and scholarship available to other policing paradigms. As such, this collection is a comprehensive attempt to capture the various academic and practitioner perspectives on ILP. This discussion begins with a series of works that articulate varied perspectives on the ILP concept. Central components of ILP—information sharing, importance of analysis, and fusion centers—are then presented with corresponding works. Fusion centers also receive specific attention in this discussion as they are a notable entity involved with ILP in America. ILP best lends itself to the prevention of complex criminality and thus such works are discussed here. Lastly, a collection of works that explore agency adoption of ILP are presented. Collectively, these works provide a comprehensive review of the current state of ILP. These works largely suggest that ILP is a promising approach for police to reduce volume crime, focus on complex criminality, and develop an awareness of the local threat environment. This discussion also highlights the need to draw additional scholarly attention to ILP in an effort to move toward a stronger evidence-based policing practice.

Conceptual Foundations

Concepts and operational tenets of ILP are presented from both American and international perspectives. In both contexts, government initiatives guide practitioner development as well as academic perspectives that refine the concept and situate ILP within the broader landscape of policing. Academic works from the United States and internationally closely adhere to these respective concepts.

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