Understanding how law enforcement agencies share information in an intelligence led environment: How operational context influences different approaches

Phythian, Rebecca, Kirby, Stuart and Swan-Keig, Lauren (2024) Understanding how law enforcement agencies share information in an intelligence led environment: How operational context influences different approaches. Understanding how law enforcement agencies share information in an intelligence-led environment: how operational context influences different approaches . ISSN 1363-951X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-06-2023-0073

Abstract

Purpose
The importance of multi-agency information sharing is recognised as central to tackling crime and disorder in an intelligence-driven environment. However, whilst technology can facilitate and enhance this process, barriers to effective agency information exchange are consistently reported. This paper aims to categorise how information sharing takes place in a law enforcement operational setting and whether there is scope to improve the process.
Design/methodology/approach
There were two stages to the method; firstly, a select group of practitioners with intelligence-related experience (n = 28) were interviewed to identify the most common approaches to operational information sharing. This generated a categorisation model, which was tested with a larger group of practitioners (n = 73). A mixed-methods approach was adopted.
Findings
The research found consensus surrounding four different approaches to information sharing, labelled as: (1) inform and request, (2) meet and share, (3) customised database and (4) integrated systems. These are used at various levels of frequency, dependent on the operational context.
Originality/value
This research provides original evidence-based research to show law enforcement practitioners vary in the way they share information. By demystifying and categorising the process, it provides understanding for practitioners, policymakers and researchers, allowing barriers to be more readily tackled in a much more cost-effective manner.


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