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Criminal Intelligence analysis

Criminal intelligence analysis is an essential component of effective policing, at both the operational and strategic levels.

Analysts study data related to criminals, crime suspects, incidents, issues and trends. By collecting and assessing this data, they can identify relationships or connections between different crimes in different places.

The analysis is then used to provide insights that can drive or support law enforcement investigations, operations and strategy, as well as influencing government policy and decisions.

Main objectives

The central tasks of criminal intelligence analysis are to:

  • Help officials – senior law enforcers, policy makers and decision makers – deal more effectively with uncertainty and new challenges;
  • Provide timely warning of threats;
  • Support operational activities and complex investigations.

Types of analysis

Criminal intelligence analysis is divided into operational (or tactical) and strategic analysis.

While the basic skills required are similar, the two categories differ with regard to the level of detail and the type of client for whom the products are designed.

Operational analysis aims to achieve a specific law enforcement outcome. This might be an arrest, seizure,  forfeiture of assets or money gained from criminal activities, or the disruption of a criminal group.

Operational analytical support includes:

  • Identifying links between suspects, and their involvement in crimes and criminal activity;
  • Identifying key investigative or information gaps;
  • Providing or preparing profiles of known or suspected criminals.

Strategic analysis is intended to inform higher level decision makers, and the benefits are realized over the long term.

The intention is to provide early warning of threats and to support senior decision makers in preparing their organizations to deal with emerging criminal issues. This might include allocating resources to different types of crime, or increasing training in a particular crime-fighting technique.

Strategic analysis includes the identification of:

  • Modus operandi;
  • Crime trends and patterns;
  • Emerging threats;
  • The potential impact of external factors such as technology, demographics or economics on crime.

Law enforcement support

At INTERPOL, our team of criminal intelligence analysts provides both operational and strategic analytical support to crime-related projects, investigations and operations. This typically includes producing reports focusing on particular regions, crime types or a newly discovered modus operandi.

The analysts also provide consultancy services and training for police in member countries, often as part of larger INTERPOL capacity building programmes on issues such as counter-terrorism or people smuggling.

Additionally, analysts can be deployed in the field to assist police directly with ongoing criminal investigations or operations.

Analytical products

In support of INTERPOL units and law enforcement authorities in member countries, INTERPOL provides a diverse range of analytical products:

  • Analytical reports;
  • Threat assessments for regions or specific crimes;
  • Risk assessments for a particular event;
  • Intelligence publications (bulletins, monthly reports).