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Intelligence-Led Policing

Intelligence-Led Policing. By Jerry Ratcliffe; published by Willan Publishing,; 288 pages; $35.95

Intelligence-led Policing (ILP), which is data-driven or information led, is not a new concept in law enforcement, but it is still relatively young. Unlike community policing, it has not defied a mutually agreed-upon definition, but it may invoke legitimate public concerns given misguided domestic intelligence operations that span from the 1960s to the current day.

A professor at Philadelphia’s Temple University and a leading theorist on the topic, author Jerry Ratcliffe has written an accessible work that provides the reader with the theoretical foundation for the concept of ILP detailing some of its operational challenges and potential rewards.

Ratlciffe places ILP in context of modern policing and refutes the uninformed notion that it is a post-9-11 phenomenon. He introduces his “3 I” model in which practitioners must interpret the criminal environment and influence decision makers.

The book includes references and cites examples from the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, a far more international flavor than one would initially expect in a work of this type. Nine other contributors, who address topics as diverse as threat metrics and public trust, enrich the reading experience.

Ratcliffe outlines several specific changes that are prerequisites to successful implementation of this management model. ILP may be a promising business model to 21st century public policing, but to succeed, participating agencies must invest in areas as diverse as crime analysis, criminal intelligence, program evaluation, and strategic decision making.

Change will not be easy or cheap, but the potential rewards to be realized with a functional ILP model may more than justify the expense and significant organizational effort. That said, the move to a data-driven management paradigm will not be an easy one for law enforcement agencies of any size until meaningful performance metrics are established.

This book provides an explanation of ILP as well as some guideposts for effective implementation. It is a worthy addition to your library that will certainly expand your understanding of the public management of policing.

Reviewer: Thomas E. Engells, CPP, CPM (Certified Public Manager), is the chief of police at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He is a member of ASIS International.