Intelligence-led policing: interpretation, implementation and impact
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 11:15 by Abdulla Phairoosch
The resurgence of intelligence-led policing (ILP) in policing policies and scholarship after the 9/11 attacks saw the introduction of new models and interpretations of this philosophy, which added more ambiguity to an already nebulous construct. This research is motivated by this conceptual ambiguity. The objective of this thesis is to analyse ILP through studying its interpretations, implementation, and the perceived impact on policing. The research used the Maldives Police Service (MPS) as a case study. The analysis revealed that the MPS misinterpreted ILP as operating the agency by its intelligence function (sector) by collecting information covertly and disseminating those for tactical operations or supporting investigations (evidence gathering). The MPS held such a narrow definition of ILP due to the lack of adequate effort to educate its staff on ILP, and a failure to introduce the necessary changes to its training materials. The impact of ILP in the MPS was found to be minimal from the perspective of practitioners as: (1) a majority believed that ILP was mainly being used as a tool against political opponents rather than in actual policing, and (2) intelligence generated was largely unactionable. However, in a real sense, the drive to ILP brought a huge change in the MPS as the generation of intelligence products became a regular practice only after the move towards ILP. The ILP literature examined for this thesis pointed to three broad problems. First, the definitional, conceptual and theoretical ambiguity of ILP has made the ILP philosophy not only nebulous for practitioners but also academics and policymakers. Due to this, many agencies adopted the ILP moniker but not the philosophy. Second, National Intelligence Model, the most embraced version of ILP, was too complex for many agencies, including the MPS, encumbering implementation and practice. Third, excessive emphasis on technology in ILP resulted in many agencies becoming fixated with acquiring technical gadgetry, ignoring other important aspects. Consequently, ILP had little positive impact on operational policing in agencies that adopted it. In order to alleviate these problems, this thesis suggests co-practising other policing philosophies with ILP to maximise efficiency and promote democratic values. The American Model of ILP prescribes this principle, but does not delineate it in a way it can be operationalised. This thesis proposes a new ILP model which consolidates the American Model by creating a framework that can be operationalised by any agency based on its context and need.