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Authorised Professional Practice

This page is from APP, the official source of professional practice for policing.

First published
Written by College of Policing
Intelligence management
8 mins read

Each force should appoint an officer of ACPO rank to take responsibility for intelligence-led policing, and for their intelligence capability. The ACPO lead has a key role in coordinating the different elements of corporate governance. Force business planning, performance management and the strategic tasking and coordination (ST&C) functions need to be aligned.

Intelligence structure

Each force should decide how the intelligence function will be configured and managed, using appropriate intelligence units and intelligence systems.

The following key roles ensure effective and efficient service delivery within the intelligence function:

The force should have, or have access to, intelligence capabilities which:

  • collect relevant intelligence as directed by the intelligence requirement including financial intelligence, prison intelligence and public order intelligence
  • manage its information through the intelligence cycle
  • undertake analysis to inform decision making
  • support operational activities

Intelligence units

These units manage their intelligence by receiving, recording, evaluating, developing, analysing and disseminating it. They also produce intelligence products for the tasking and coordination (T&C) process.

Intelligence systems

Forces should ensure that intelligence management is supported by a secure technical infrastructure to record, store, retrieve, compare and share data. Where intelligence is held on more than one system, it should be both searchable and retrievable. Some information held by the police is confidential and may be protected in law from disclosure. There should be systems in place to protect this information.

Where possible, a force should use one intelligence system and have access to other relevant systems including:

  • organised crime group mapping (OCGM)
  • police national database (PND)
  • crime recording systems
  • command and control
  • violent offender and sex offender register
  • national ballistics intelligence service

Tasking and coordination

The T&C process provides managers with a mechanism for operational decision making at strategic and tactical levels. Proactive leadership is essential in this process. To enable managers to prioritise the deployment of resources, decisions should be based on a thorough understanding of the problems. Forces should have a system for recording all T&C decisions, operational plans and results.

Strategic tasking and coordination

ST&C is part of police governance and planning. The ST&C process enables senior managers, through a strategic tasking and coordination group (ST&CG), to consider and agree strategic direction and align resources to priorities. The ST&C process operates at various levels, depending on force structure and governance, for example:

  • where a force has basic command units (BCUs), they may all run a strategic process
  • where a force has no BCUs, the ST&C process may only occur at force level

The force should have a T&C policy which states the frequency of ST&C meetings, as determined by the force business needs. Where ST&C meetings are held less frequently, it may be advisable to hold interim reviews.

Strategic tasking and coordination group

Senior police managers make up this group. Partner agencies and community safety partnerships (CSPs) can make an important contribution to the ST&C process and should be included by mutual consent. It may be the case that a joint strategic assessment is written and control strategy objectives are agreed between partners. The ST&CG should be chaired by someone with the authority to set strategy and allocate the resources being considered within the remit of the meeting, for example, the force chief constable or deputy chief constable.

The purpose of the ST&CG is to:

  • consider the operational priorities recommended in the strategic assessment
  • set and amend the control strategy, where necessary
  • approve a strategic intelligence requirement
  • consider prioritisation of resources

The ST&CG can commission further development or analysis to find out more about an issue described in the strategic assessment. This can be used to inform the control strategy and to assist the next ST&CG to make decisions. The decisions made by the ST&CG provide the context in which the tactical tasking and coordination group (TT&CG) works.

A record should be kept of the decisions made at the ST&CG, and the rationale for them.

Control strategy

This sets out and communicates the operational priorities for the force or command area and sets the long-term priorities for crime prevention, intelligence and enforcement. It may also include reassurance opportunities. It provides senior management with a framework to enable them to implement decisions on prioritising the allocation of resources.

The control strategy does not capture every issue. This does not mean that those which are not captured cannot be dealt with, but control strategy issues should be given priority when resources are allocated.

The content of the control strategy must be set at the strategic tasking and coordination group and should be determined by a prioritisation process. This process justifies why an issue is included in the control strategy or why it is not. Each priority has an owner who is responsible for its delivery plan, and the priority should be communicated to appropriate staff and partners. Once set it can be amended only by the ST&CG which should also hold to account those responsible for activities.

Strategic intelligence requirement

This outlines the information required or questions that need answers in order to fill gaps in police knowledge. An intelligence requirement:

Tactical intelligence requirement

This outlines the information required or questions that need answers in order to fill gaps in an investigation or operation.

Tactical tasking and coordination

TT&C is part of the police response to operational priorities. The process enables senior managers, through a tactical tasking and coordination group (TT&CG), to consider and agree tactical options and align resources to priorities. It operates at various levels depending on structure and governance, for example:

  • where a force has BCUs, they may all run a tactical process
  • where a force has no BCUs, the TT&C may only occur at force level

The force should have a T&C policy which states the frequency of TT&CG meetings, as determined by the force business needs.

Tactical tasking and coordination group

Operational police managers and support services make up this group. Partner agencies and CSPs should be included by mutual consent. The TT&CG chair should have the authority to determine priorities, allocate resources and coordinate activity.

All decisions made by the TT&CG must be recorded to provide an audit trail and ensure accountability. It is good practice to have an action manager who, with the authority of the TT&CG chair, oversees progress against delivery plans. Results analysis should be used, where appropriate, to measure the impact and success of delivery plans.

The TT&CG should:

  • consider the tactical assessment and create operational delivery plans
  • apply the control strategy
  • ensure that decisions about priorities and resources are based on the best available threat assessments
  • manage competing demands
  • establish a rational basis for decision making
  • review intelligence requirements
  • commission further development of analysis to find out more about issues described in the tactical assessment
  • decide on prevention, intelligence, enforcement and reassurance actions
  • allocate resources and assign plan owners
  • consider tactical recommendations from the intelligence unit meeting
  • consider escalation where an issue is beyond the capability of the resources available to the T&CG
  • commission operational review
  • review whether plans and intervention work are still meeting objectives

Intelligence unit meeting

Intelligence units meet to develop the tactical assessment and consider options for tactical recommendations prior to the tactical tasking and coordination group. These meetings usually include input from analysts and others, for example, plan holders, neighbourhood policing teams, crime investigators, crime management units and response policing.

The meetings are designed to keep the activity of intelligence units in focus. They also enable units to review progress in relation to established priorities and any newly emerging issues.

Intelligence units also meet on a daily basis to provide relevant information to the daily management meeting.

Daily management meeting

This is an integral part of the T&C process, but is not a tasking and coordination meeting. It links the priorities and objectives set by the tactical tasking and coordination group to the day-to-day business of policing by exception, taking into account incidents over the last and next 24 hours.

The DMM is chaired by the senior operational officer or deputy and provides a way of making fast-track decisions within the T&C process.

Operational review

Operational review is commissioned by the tactical tasking and coordination group. It evaluates the effectiveness of tactical activity on identified problems and subjects through debriefingresults analysis and review where appropriate.

The aims of an operational review are to:

  • assess the impact of tactical activity on a problem or subject
  • identify the lessons learned and good practice
  • draw conclusions and make recommendations
  • update policy, knowledge, the menu of tactical options and training

Objectives of the review should be stated before the operation begins. The TT&CG must decide whether the review is designed to cover all aspects of the operation, or just specifics such as tactical performance or the impact on crime levels or partnership capability.

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