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Intelligence career pathway

Career stories, available roles, progression and working environment.

Assistant Chief Constable Julie Fielding (NPCC intelligence portfolio lead)

Intelligence is making use of information from a variety of sources to support local and national crime investigations. Information can come from members of the public, victims, witnesses, suspects, community sources and specialist police intelligence operatives to build a picture of criminal activity.

The world is changing constantly and rapidly. There is an increasing abundance of digital evidence, including web histories, CCTV footage, emails, images, transactions, and records of phone calls and text messages. The internet has changed the way we live and how the public uses technology – eg, through smartphones and social media – and criminals are exploiting these same technologies.

Information comes in many formats and making sense of these formats is a critical task for those in intelligence policing. Gathering detailed and thorough information about victims, offenders and locations quickly from different technologies, and systematically analysing this data, can help to inform decision-making by force intelligence bureaus (FIBs) or intelligence units (IUs).

These decisions include where to target limited resources and where to apply specialists’ technical expertise most effectively on a day-to-day basis.

Entry routes

Entry points can be at any level, conditional on the expected knowledge, skills, experience and technical capabilities required to perform a specific role:

  • other civil service departments
  • law enforcement agencies
  • force criminal justice departments
  • force corporate development departments
  • local authorities
  • third sector/NGOs
  • private sector
  • academia

Career stories

Working environment

Roles in intelligence policing are rewarding and challenging. While the majority of roles will be office-based, there is scope to develop within different intelligence areas, possibly working in an agile way with investigation teams at various locations or, on occasion, out in the field.

Officers and staff working in intelligence policing are generally based in FIBs or IUs. Individuals need the ability to:

  • use their initiative
  • question and analyse verbal and numerical data
  • look for potential patterns and connections across different sources of information
  • solve problems based on facts and logic to guide decision-making

The working environment is governed by legislation, regulations, guidelines and specialist codes of practice.

Essential skills and attributes for those who work in intelligence include:

  • possessing strong attention to detail and accuracy
  • asking the right questions
  • wanting things to be done and communicated properly

The types of daily activities will vary depending on the intelligence role.

If you are looking for career path development and opportunities in which analysis and thinking are at the heart of day-to-day tasks, working in your own force alongside other forces’ IUs and/or regional crime units, then intelligence policing may be the professional field for you.


Training is varied according to individual and organisational needs. You will have the opportunity to undertake the intelligence professionalisation programme (IPP), which will give you professional recognition of your competence across all of the IPP organisations.

All individuals are required to commit to continuing professional development to ensure that they remain up-to-date in their role.

Level one – service deliverer

Level two – team leader/technical lead

Level three – manager/expert advisor

Level four – service function leader

Fast track

The fast track programme for serving constables is a development programme and promotion mechanism to enable the most talented serving police constables to advance to the rank of inspector within two years

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