The path to enlightenment: limiting costs and maximizing returns from intelligence-led policy and practice in public policing

Adrian James

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Abstract

Intelligence-led policing’s (ILP) promise to reform policing has attracted many to its cause. Based on empirical research, this article challenges the validity of some of its claims and explains the ways that ILP may most fruitfully be employed. The research found that the success or failure of ILP depends on people and not on the ILP technologies, organizational structures, or processes that routinely receive attention. ILP may make perfect business sense in principle but human factors will always mitigate its prospects. Justifiably, ILP is the preferred strategy for combating organized crime or ‘professional’ criminals; the cost of investigations and intrusions into privacy can more readily be warranted. In the policing mainstream, an acceptable return on investment in those same methods is unlikely because the professional skills and specialist resources required to service them are in such short supply. Moreover, in liberal democracies their use is much more difficult to justify in social worlds that, properly, lie largely beyond the institutions’ control.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalPolicing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2017

Keywords

  • police reform
  • intelligence
  • intelligence-led policing
  • police policy

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