Law Enforcement Intelligence
Law Enforcement Intelligence
Law enforcement intelligence plays a fundamental role in cultivating and maintaining the security of the general population. Intelligence is the by-product of a comprehensive analytical process entailing information evaluation to confirm its credibility (Carter, 2009). The information is collected from diverse sources; hence, the need to have a platform guaranteeing that the information law enforcement agencies depend in authentic and can be based on further action. The information is integrated to form a logical package that leads to a conclusion. In turn, law enforcement intelligence refers to the responsibility of law enforcement to enforce criminal law. For instance, the intelligence is used to prevent criminal and terrorism-associated activities. Despite the existence of various tactics, tools, and products used to variably prevent crime and terrorism, there are risks and benefits associated with the collection of law enforcement intelligence as well as challenges to be considered during information gathering and transformation.
Law enforcement intelligence is variably used to prevent crime and terrorism. Since intelligence is information that is processed, law enforcement agencies use it to predict and monitor individuals they suspect could be planning to participate or engage in crime or terrorism activities. Hence, the enforcement agencies are able to devise mechanisms to ensure effective and efficient mechanisms to avert the completion of their actions. For instance, intelligence ensures that enforcement agencies are equipped with comprehensive information regarding the criminal. Thus, they are aware of their current actions, the resources at their disposal, and their future plans. Likewise, the enforcement agencies are aware of the locations the criminals are likely to attack, how they plan to do so, and the possible adverse effects. The intelligence also accords enforcement agencies knowledge pertaining to the possible partners or new recruits the criminals might partner with to achieve their goals. The comprehensive information helps the enforcement agencies to take relevant measures to prevent crime and terrorism. For instance, the information guides the relationship between the enforcement agencies and the community (LeCates, 2018). As the enforcement agencies possess the relevant information, they know the right partners to recruit in the community to talk would-be offenders and encourage them to abandon their plans. Likewise, the enforcement agencies increase security in area they identify as vulnerable to crime or terrorism. Therefore, intelligence ensures that law enforcement agencies use their resources effectively and efficiently to fight crime.
There are particular tactics, tools, and products used in identifying criminals and terrorists. One of the most popular products is target profile analysis. Target profile analysis illustrates an individual’s capability to commit a crime. For instance, law enforcement agencies can monitor an individual’s associates to evaluate their chances of committing a crime. Other aspects monitored in identifying criminals include a change in lifestyle, abnormal financial activities, and their general lifestyle (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2011). For example, an individual whose friends are arrested and convicted of crimes is likely to be engaging or planning to engage in criminal activity if they have newly-found wealth they cannot account for; they have changed their social behavior and likely become more reclusive; and are constantly communicating with their convicted friends. Such individuals are likely to be continuing their friends’ criminal activities or are planning on finishing the criminal activities their friends started. The enforcement agencies could deploy various measures to threaten or encourage the suspected criminal to abandon their plans. Alternatives for identifying criminals include interrogation and confession, identification via fingerprints, and identification by a victim or other credible sources (Bernard et al., n.d.). Other credible sources include confidential informants. It is prudent to recognize the applicable method for identifying a criminal is dependent on the type of crime under investigation.
The success of intelligence is dependent on how the analyst addresses the challenges associated with information gathering and transformation into useable intelligence. The primary consideration in information gathering and transformation is ensuring that the law enforcement agencies are equipped with the relevant knowledge and resources. The relevant resources are key in guaranteeing collected information is reliable, accurate, and comprehensive. Unfortunately, one of the key weaknesses experienced by police departments is the lack of a dependable intelligence system (Carter, 2009). Therefore, the departments are unable to accurately master the neighborhood challenges. For instance, the lack of a dependable intelligence system hinders the collection of the right information from the relevant groups as law enforcement agencies are unable to identify crime gangs and leaders. Additionally, the lack of a dependable intelligence system creates loopholes that can be abused by unethical law enforcement agents. For instance, corrupt agents might steal files or delete crucial sections influencing the outcome. Moreover, lack of knowledge hinders the correct interpretation of collected data. Hence, there lacks a relationship between collected data and possible crimes. Regrettably, criminals abuse the vulnerabilities to commit crimes.
There are risks and benefits associated with the collection of law enforcement intelligence. One of the key advantages of collection of law enforcement intelligence is that it enables authorities to prevent crime occurrence through threat identification (U.S. Department of Justice , 2021). Hence, the society is protected from possible harm and losses. Moreover, collection of law enforcement intelligence guarantees that human and financial resources are effectively and efficiently used. Intelligence ensures that law enforcement agencies have accurately identified possible threats and individuals likely to commit crime. The identification guides the utilization of resources to avert crime. Thus, resources are not dedicated and used to attend to harmless individuals, locations, and activities. Additionally, law enforcement intelligence guarantees that the right individual is arrested, prosecuted and receives the rightful punishment as agents and the prosecution are equipped with relevant information. Regrettably, collection of law enforcement intelligence is threatened by the presence of agents that might abuse its provisions to monitor individuals to settle personal fights and disagreements. Though such efforts might be unsuccessful, resources are still wasted collecting information on individuals who do not pose a threat to the society. Nevertheless, the advantages of collecting law enforcement intelligence outweigh the singular disadvantage; consequentially, relevant departments need to be equipped with sufficient resources to achieve their mandate in collecting law enforcement intelligence.
Undeniably, law enforcement intelligence plays a crucial role in preventing crime and terrorism. Law enforcement intelligence equips enforcement agencies with relevant information to improve their ability to predict who is about to crime, their associates, resources, and where they are likely to commit the crime. Some of the tools used to identify criminals include analyzing the suspects behavior to spot abnormalities, confirming via fingerprints, interrogation and confession, as well as identification by victims and criminal informants. Nevertheless, the aforementioned mechanisms are challenged by lack of relevant resources to collect, synthesize and interpret data. However, the society and relevant stakeholders must invest in a collection of law enforcement intelligence to protect the society from crime and terrorism activities.
Bernard, T. J., Thomas, D. A., & Bernard, T. J. (n.d.). Crime. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/topic/crime-law/Civil-law
Carter, D. L. (2009). Law Enforcement Intelligence: A Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies. US Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
LeCates, R. (2018, October 17). Intelligence-led Policing: Changing the Face of Crime Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.policechiefmagazine.org/changing-the-face-crime-prevention/
U.S. Department of Justice . (2021, February 16). The Benefits of Correctional Intelligence-Led Policing. Retrieved from https://www.ojp.gov/events/benefits-correctional-intelligence-led-policing
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2011). Criminal Intelligence: Manual for Analysts. United Nations.