Criminal intelligence concept is complicated. It cannot be easily translated nor explained. In some regions of the globe, translating this concept directly can have political as well as the historical association that is negative. Owing to this, the word information can be used in place of intelligence (Masse, O’Neil & Rollins, 2008). Defining components of intelligence differs: For some, intelligence refers to information which is designed for a certain action (Masse, O’Neil & Rollins, 2008). There are some who term it as assessed information (Calabrese, 2004). Analytical process is used to convert information into intelligence. In general, intelligence is defined as information that has additional value. Analytical process can be used for recognition of intelligence. Criminal intelligence entails information which has additional value and which law enforcement can use to curb crime (Botha, Bothma, & Geldenhuys, 2004). There has been an ongoing debate as to whether law enforcer community’s work is related to intelligence in any way. There are some who think that analysis of crime has nothing to do with intelligence. The purpose of this paper is to show how intelligence information is used by law enforcer (Calabrese, 2004).


Criminal intelligence has been present for a long time. Though it has undergone formalization, the approach is almost the same as the one used traditionally (Calabrese, 2004). Common to the past criminal intelligence is the fact that officers in the current time still use under cover methods to gather intelligence from criminal groups (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Similarly, officers are also able to form mental pictures of characters of the common gang member. In addition, there have been attempts by officers to undertake investigations (Masse, O’Neil & Rollins, 2008). Criminal intelligence is common in many nations even in nations where this term has not yet been adopted (Botha, Bothma, & Geldenhuys, 2004). In such nations, there are still criminal intelligence components, for example, the information gathering about criminals, finger prints used among others. For the last 50 years, there has been the rise in sophistication as far as use of intelligence as well as information is concerned (Calabrese, 2004). Currently, intelligence information gathering has been made easier by technology. Initially, the information system of police made use of index cards. Presently, the police make use of crime analyst who is a professional. There is also sophistication in information application. There has been the development of both intelligence as well as methodology. The two have been used in the identification of crime threats as well as to profile the already existing crimes (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Presence of intelligence has enabled police to make more sound and accurate decisions (Calabrese, 2004).

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Development stages

Intelligence development occurs in various stages. After gathering of information, evaluation is then done (Botha, Bothma, & Geldenhuys, 2004). Reliability, validity as well as, the relevance of the information source are taken into consideration during the evaluation. Having done that, actual analysis takes into consideration context information, draws the conclusion and also produce results (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). There will then be briefing as well as other documentation. There is then the distribution of the result especially to those who are in need of it. Intelligence information is not supposed to be shared lest eminent reason emerges. The information should be kept confidential. The common agreement among agencies of law enforcement as follows:

  1. Timely as well as criminal intelligence that is actionable is critical to create an impact on prevention, reduction as well as the investigation of the crime that is serious as well as organized.
  2. The criminal investigation is essential as far as directing as far as prioritization resource prioritization of resources is concerned. This will aid in detection, prevention as well as a reduction of crime (Calabrese, 2004).
  3. Intelligence can be essential when it comes to policing. Here, intelligence offers strategic direction.

Though there has been differencing when it comes to accepting information as well as, intelligence in numerous nations, there has been the adoption of criminal laws (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). There is an opportunity for reform. Technical assistance in line with police information as well as, intelligence system helps in enhancing the following:

  • Drafting as well as legal instrument implementation. Through it, the police responsible is provided with the power which is directly related to both collection as well as, use of intelligence information.
  • Relevant guidelines as well as manual drafting.
  • Technical infrastructure improvement for data integration as well as handling of the same.
  • Specialist staff development.
  • Methodology as well as structures development with the aim of compiling an assessment of organized crimes at the national level.

Legislation can at times highly constrain police information as well as intelligence. In some instances, some laws govern information type which police are entitled to hold, as well as, handling procedure for that information (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Some intelligence information is sensitive thus collecting them requires some techniques such as intrusive. Some of this information is not accessible to anybody. Some may even be labeled confidential so as to prevent it from being interfered with. Some countries have established laws which are meant to protect as well as make some information private (Hess & Orthmann, 2010). Some countries have the specific agency which is central and which is responsible for criminal intelligence. A number of players take part in law enforcement, and they include criminal police, customs, national police, and border guards among others (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Level of cooperation is the main determinant of the amount of information that passes among them. Owing to the fact that criminal information is particularly sensitive, the staff should be people of high integrity. Criminal’s mainstay is the information (Calabrese, 2004). Though a number of countries do not have computer data base, same results are achievable through accurate as well as careful paper filling as well as an index card. Significant investment is represented by the computer database, but this is at times underestimated. There is a requirement of the license, and at the same time, the subscription cost is usually unusually high. Files, records, as well as indexes are well maintained. Their contents are criminal records, criminal reports as well as finger prints (Hess & Orthmann, 2010).

Another method in which information can be collected is the use of covert surveillance. This method entails analysis of right of any suspects to privacy. This interferes with the need to carry out investigations seriously (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Human beings have for a long time being used as informants. There are several factors which give the informants motivation (Lovrek,  Howlett & Jain, 2008). There can never be anybody who has all the information (Lovrek, Howlett & Jain, 2008). Research material on intelligence information is scarce. This study seeks to address the gap existing. Sharing of information is mutual and thus should flow between the two parties involved. In order to ensure that there is evolvement of best practice, there must be an evaluation of the intelligence information (World Customs Organization, 2005). Evaluation is based on previous reliability history as well as the extent to which direct knowledge is present in the sources (Masse, O’Neil & Rollins, 2008). There is needed to keep evaluation under review which is continuous. Apart from evaluation, there is the determination of which extent the information can be made public. Collation should also be done by making sure that all logs, as well as records, are received (Hess & Orthmann, 2010).


The analysis is categorized into two namely strategic which is having a long-term perspective. The second category is called tactical analysis and their main focuses are operational as well as immediate issues. The analysis does a consideration of information in perspective. While reporting, different formats are used for result presentation. Different formats too can be used for the report. Presentation of the results is by the use of charts, tables among other means (Hess & Orthmann, 2010).


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The intelligence risks

Today’s information is a vital enabler of security determination. However, it has many associated risks. This is because tools that help the security people in comprehending the malicious activities also reachable to the adversary. For instance, the search is a technology that both the security and the adversary comprehend as a tool that can reveal information that is personal and corporate. This would include the security weaknesses than many acknowledge.

This is especially in social networks where concerns have been raised. James Brooks of surveillance director of product management said the biggest changes they experienced for the past year or was the use of social networks by criminals, not only through malicious URLs but also to discover more personal information about targets to elicit a specific response. He cites that social networks have made people believe of false security. Some people point the difficulty that comes with such sites, for instance, Facebook due to the often varying scope of private settings, which are broad and complex.

Governments and many organizations have also talked about security through gathering intelligence information and also the many risks associated with search and the social networks. Wiki leaks founder Julian Assange also termed Facebook as one of the most shocking machines for spying that has ever been produced.

The ultimate meaning

A wider perception has its own associated risks. The adversary and the defender can both get advantages from the intelligence. The amount and nature of the information collected termed as intelligence has motivated many to take actions as to what they perceive as abuses.

Whether intelligence is an asset or a threat as may be perceived, there is less worry that the increasing availability of data to security people will bring about demand for a bigger penetration into risk. People have to develop skills and practices that would define the basic meaning of intelligence, in order to make the best. Police-Led Intelligence’s Selby says, “There is “aliveness” to intelligence that people often overlook. Intelligence must be iterative, with constant feedback, checks on the bias, constantly evaluating and re-evaluating sources and calling conclusions into question.”

Those on the forefront in analyzing security information would echo the human-centric intelligence nature. Actually one of such professional says, “Technology can clear away a lot of the noise, but you must first make it understand what noise is, and what is not. Automation cannot make any difference until we tell it what to care about, and we may not know what to care about until we’ve investigated.” This implies that security practice has a new approach where defense and automation, as investigative expertise defined, should be visible and more dynamic and responsive respectively. Investigation practice in organizations has been called out, for instance, an example of EMC’s acquisition of Net Witness which serves those investigators who know how to use its tools through technological play. However, its output can be used to improve the automation of analyzing information security, not just through correlating the security events but also in excavating data associated with security to know the trouble that might be unnoticeable.

Basically, this will lead us in directions that have already been seen in the future by those who will pursue the rise of data science as a new profession. The expertise built today will significantly influence what security becomes in the future, especially by those who have engaged themselves in participating with intelligence works and the still-emerging investigation discipline that is based primarily on analyzing data. In unity, this combination of expertise may appropriately define the data-driven security and procedure that will make a difference between the security intelligence of the present and the security intelligence of the future.

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