Intelligence led policing – oxymoron?

Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is a policing model that has emerged in recent years which is “built around risk assessment and risk management.”[1]

Although there is no universally accepted understanding of what intelligence-led policing entails,[2] the leading definition is that 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.’”[1] In simpler terms, “it is a model of policing in which intelligence serves as a guide to operations, rather than the reverse.[3]

Calls for intelligence-led policing originated in the 1990s, both in Britain and in the United States. In the U.S. Mark Riebling‘s 1994 book Wedge – The Secret War between the FBI and CIA spotlighted the conflict between law enforcement and intelligence, and urged cops to become “more like spies.” Intelligence-led policing gained considerable momentum globally following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. It is now advocated by the leading police associations in North America and the UK.[2]

Although claimed as a policing framework that builds on earlier paradigms, including community policingproblem-oriented policing, and continuous improvement or partnership models of policing, [2] it originated as a rejection of the reactive, crime focus of community policing with calls for police to spend more time employing informants and surveillance to combat recidivist offenders

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