Information and intelligence sharing in the fight against fraud and intellectual property crime
: challenges and strategies for professional practice

  • Carl Watson

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Information and intelligence sharing has long been recognised to be a practice that could have significant bearing on organisations’ ability to prevent, detect, investigate and take action against economic crime. Despite this recognition, many businesses struggle to build and maintain effective information sharing relationships. This research aims to close the gap caused by limited academic attention paid to economic crime information sharing, examining the contemporary nature of the challenges, the models and strategies that can be used to overcome these and how professional practice can be improved to increase information and intelligence sharing in this area.

Data was collected in two phases in order to examine how those organisations that manage to successfully share information and intelligence overcome the challenges to collaboration. The first phase involved a case study into how the Federation Against Copyright Theft handles and shares intelligence with partners. This involved twenty-four interviews with officers and staff and examining documents relating to its operational activity and on-site observations. The second phase of the research involved conducting twenty-two interviews with participants from other organisations in respect of their approaches to information and intelligence sharing. Most of these participants were anti-fraud, IP crime or criminal intelligence sharing practitioners, although a couple represented relevant stakeholders at regulatory and government policy levels.

The study found that the foundation of effective intelligence sharing relationships is a combination of trust, competence in intelligence handling and mutual understanding between organisations. In order to overcome an array of challenges to collaboration, including a complex and commonly misunderstood legal framework, cultural resistance to sharing information and the lack of a comprehensive national strategy and standards for anti-crime intelligence handling and sharing, organisations employ a range of strategies. These include aligning their working practices to the National Intelligence Model as a default standard, formalising relationships through intelligence sharing agreements and committing resources to training both their own employees and staff in partner organisations to ensure that practitioners on both sides have the requisite skills and knowledge to share information in a competent and legal manner. There are significant risks remaining, however, in the interpretation and implementation of a default standard that was designed for law enforcement and in the context of forthcoming legislative change in data protection law.
Date of AwardOct 2017
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Button (Supervisor) & Alison Wakefield (Supervisor)

Cite this