Providing explicit knowledge in an experience-driven culture
: levels of professionalism in intelligence analysis and its role in the law enforcement knowledge management apparatus

  • Juha Matti Syrjä

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The efficient and ethical management of knowledge and intelligence increasingly is seen as vital to the success of law enforcement agencies in the Information Age. Those agencies have invested significantly in new and emerging information technologies, and hired analytical experts to develop collected information in order to be knowledge-led. Despite these efforts, the take-up of putatively new policing models, such as intelligence-led policing (ILP), has been quite modest. This study addresses the question of why it seems to have proved so difficult for law enforcement agencies to capitalise on these innovations. This analysis is largely based on case studies of the police organisations of Denmark and of Finland. The study explores the political, organisational, and social settings of both police organisations to better understand police cultures, the policing models operated, the police’s crime reduction and prevention strategies, and the information technology they used to achieve their goals. This analysis is undertaken against the background of a drive to professionalise both the policing and police intelligence and analysis disciplines that have been characteristic of policing in developed economies in the modern era. The practical implementation of intelligence work is assessed in the context of the Socialisation, Externalisation, Combination and Internalisation (SECI) knowledge management model. Semistructured interviews and survey questionnaires were used to collect data from the countries under research; thus, the chosen methodology for this study is the mixed method.

The study identifies police cultures in which experiential knowledge and a faith in traditional policing methods tend to buttress resistance to the implementation of ideas and concepts based on research and explicit knowledge and skew the knowledge roles and processes of the law enforcement agencies studied. This also limits the impact of knowledge and intelligence management and significantly undermines professionalism in roles such as police information management, intelligence and analysis. The research also drills down into the theoretical foundations of police intelligence work and presents an updated intelligence definition of law enforcement. It introduces a definition thatacknowledges that intelligence in law enforcement is produced as a consequence not only of fast mental processes in the experience-based knowledge domain but also of slower processes using diverse analytical methods in the explicit knowledge domain. The author argues that the law enforcement community’s acknowledgement of this fact can assist in developing intelligence doctrine and in pointing the way to more effective and more ethical intelligence practice.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorFrancis Pakes (Supervisor), Jane Winstone (Supervisor) & Alison Wakefield (Supervisor)

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