What then must be done?


NIM and intelligence

NIM and statistics

Job descriptions


Dysfunction of NIM

The role of Principal Analysts

Legal Status of NIM

What then must be done?

Joe's Telex


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About this website
On the face of it, the answer is very simple; all policy makers need do is to replace National Intelligence Model with a National Employment Model which splits intelligence/investigation from statistics/planning. This would bring immediate relief to both professions, and enable their integration into the police. But law enforcement managers will not do this.

To see a way forward, it is necessary to rewind a few years. NIM did not pop out of thin air; the culture it represents existed before 2000. Historically, analysts were seen as support staff who produced reports for crime management meetings; criminal intelligence, such as it was, stemmed from these meetings. From about 1990, technological change removed paper filing systems - and the associated administrative and geographical limitations on intelligence - and produced a new, borderless capability of drawing information from any source. Thus, intelligence analysis was created. Nobody planned the role of intelligence analyst; it just happened.

There must have realisation of this at a high level since between 1990 and 2000 the idea of a national intelligence model was raised. As noted elsewhere on this website, the model was corrupted; to quote again the chairman of the Crime Advisory Committee of the Superintendent's Association: "The National Intelligence Model was initially thought to be a Crime Intelligence Model … Yes, it is superb for crime matters but it can offer so much to other aspects of operational policing too". In other words, any notion that NIM was to promote intelligence analysis was scotched at an early stage; it was turned instead to do exactly the opposite, to preserve and systemise the compartmentalised management environment that existed previously.

NIM is not therefore a natural development, but a reaction, and this realisation is the key to its unravelling. On the face of it, NIM would seem immovable; the unholy alliance of ACPO-NAWG-RISC-NPIA might seem overwhelming, prompting analysts to leave en masse for the security and sanity of the private sector. But the issue is not a one-sided conflict between thousands of bureaucrats on one side, and a few beleaguered intelligence analysts on the other; intelligence analysis is enabled by technology, sustained by demand, and driven by individual initiative, meaning that without NIM's extensive and suffocating apparatus, the role of intelligence analyst would persist regardless of what these organisations did.

So, even if ACPO succeeded in removing intelligence analysis, the job would simply reappear at ground level, perhaps under a different job title, for there is a natural gap between information and evidence and whoever fills it in today's technological environment is, by definition, an intelligence analyst. The upshot is that the ACPO-NAWG-RISC-NPIA axis must work continuously to shore up NIM, but no-one need consciously work against it for it to start eroding. With this understanding, any strike against NIM can be seen not as an isolated or futile gesture, but one that is contributing to a wider force that has a momentum of its own.

But how to harness this underlying force? One way to bring unrecognised change into formal play is the grievance process. From October 2004, all employers in the UK have been obliged by law to operate grievance procedures which include at least three steps: (i) setting out the grievance in writing; (ii) a meeting or hearing to discuss the issue, at which there is the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative; and (iii) an appeal stage if the grievance has not been handled satisfactorily. See here for a more detailed explanation.

This website provides numerous grounds for grievance; the abuse of job descriptions, misuse of staff, and so forth. But these alone are not enough, for the people hearing grievances invariably tremble at the thought of overturning official policy. So the question becomes: how to steer a course?

For all its garbled content and misleading language, NIM does acknowledge that there is an intelligence requirement. It does so because the Police Reform Act 2002 refers to the prevention and detection of crime, a phrase that provides us with two key pieces of information:

- That prevention and detection are separate: the Police Reform Act 2002 refers to prevention and detection. It does not describe the two as a single entity, nor can they be: if a crime is committed it can be detected but not prevented, for it has already happened; if a crime is prevented, there is nothing to detect. The concepts are different, hence the English language containing no word that means the two together.
- The Act does not say prevention and no detection; it mandates prevention and detection in equal measure. If we interpret prevention to mean statistical analysis, and detection to mean intelligence analysis, then the Police Reform Act 2002 provides a legal requirement for analysts to be involved in intelligence and investigation as well as crime prevention and planning.

These facts - that prevention and detection are of equal value, and that they are separate - turn around the legal playing field. It has already been shown that National Intelligence Model is not legally enforceable. Now it can be seen that those applying NIM are themselves acting unlawfully, since they are failing to apply the Police Reform Act 2002. The importance of this is that it provides the person hearing the grievance a legal peg on which they can hang a finding against NIM. Thus, NIM can be side-stepped by direct reference to the Act.

To summarise: outdated and incorrect attitudes (a) are protected by a bureaucratic rearguard action (b) which in turn depends on euphenistic language and outright lies (c). These need to be dealt with in reverse order: this website deals with (c), meaning the fight can be taken to (b) via the grievance process. Once NIM is gone, (a) must change, or else ACPO and its satellites will risk the same isolation that they have heaped on analysts for a decade.

Below are ideas for focusing opposition and further action:

- Job descriptions
- The repercussions of NIM
- Training courses
- Fixing the Intelligence Cycle

- Crime Pattern Analysis must die
- Change the job title to 'investigative analyst'
- Efficient use of analysts
- Beware mis-selling
- Action stations; things that can be done today

Job descriptions

This website has presented lamentable examples of intelligence analyst job descriptions. To remind ourselves how awful they are, here is the opening paragraph from Kent Police, which sounds like a job for solving travel puzzles:

Most of the knowledge necessary to correct job descriptions is in learning how to separate the red from the green, as illustrated in the lower half of the Job Descriptions page. Police forces looking to kick-start this process of improvement may wish to note the creditable attempt by Gwent Police, reproduced below. If one overlooks the reference to trends and patterns in point 5, the job description is a respectable effort.

The repercussions of NIM

Imagine if a terrorist bomb went off at Manchester Airport, and it subsequently became known that Manchester's counter-terrorist intelligence analysts had been taken off their jobs to do social studies. The second half of that scenario is already true, at least as far as the Greater Manchester Police counter-terrorist job profile is concerned.

Police forces believe that adherence to NIM will protect them from the political and legal repercussions of intelligence failure. But NIM is incompatible with the Police Reform Act 2002 which places on police forces a duty to implement intelligence analysis. As recognition of this misfeasance spreads, police forces may find that NIM leaves them open to blame for not foreseeing terrorist or criminal acts.

Training Courses

Most trainers are not in a position to remove NIM content, even if they do not agree with it. Yet, there are indications that trainers adjust NIM so that it is less inaccurate. The following diagram is from the RISC training manual. It implies that network, crime and target analysis cannot exist meaningfully in isolation, and seeks to 'correct' NIM by suggesting that the three can be combined into an integrated intelligence picture.

Yet, this training is also wrong. An intelligence analyst does not do separately three forms of "analysis", then put them all together to present an integrated picture; intelligence is not developed like that. The process is organic: the analyst draws information from any source and follows leads as they present themselves. Thus, by trying to make NIM work, RISC is providing training that is as inaccurate as NIM itself. What this teaches us is that NIM cannot be reformed or modified; it can only be countered with an alternative viewpoint.

What should trainers do? At the very least, trainers should make it clear to trainee analysts that NIM is opinion, not fact. Trainee analysts are entitled to make up their own minds, and this website provides trainers with a ready-made resource.

Fixing the Intelligence Cycle

The current intelligence cycle is out of date, and must be amended. This website suggests the following (see Dysfunction of NIM for the rationale):
Collection, Grading, Analysis, Evaluation, Dissemination, Direction, back to Collection
"Crime Pattern Analysis" must die

This should come under job descriptions and training, but the elimination of the phrase "crime pattern analysis" is so important that it requires a special mention. This phrase has been hanging around for years, yet is meaningless since the word pattern can be interpreted both as statistical patterns and patterns relating to the method (i.e. the individual criminal). This renders the phrase open to abuse. Nothing is going to change or improve until the term is consigned to the dustbin.

Change the job title from intelligence analyst to 'investigative analyst'

The term investigative analysis is arguably more easily understood and less prone to confusion than intelligence analysis. See this Telex entry for more thoughts.

Efficient use of intelligence/investigative analysts

From time to time, Police Review and other publications publish articles that call for a more efficient and targeted use of analysts, and which provide a list of things that analysts can do. These articles only half-understand the problem and exacerbate matters, since the best way to use intelligence analysts is to leave them alone. Efficiency occurs because analysts researching databases are more likely to pick up on major criminals than smaller ones for the simple reason that major criminals leave more opportunities for discovery. Analysts will find them out.

A busybody spying on the analyst through the crack in the office door and whispering, "What is the analyst looking at? Are they targeting?" causes less efficiency and less targeting, for it is the very nature of investigative research that secures the most accurate identification of criminality. To put it another way, NIM's Control Strategy needs to be replaced with a delegation strategy. All intelligence analysts need to succeed is access to information and an investigative mindset; they will do the rest. But ACPO will cry: how can we trust intelligence analysts? Quite.

Beware mis-selling

This website has focused on misrepresentation of analysis by police and government agencies, but misrepresentation is also practiced by the private sector. Offenders include the Jill Dando Institute, the stated raison d'etre of which is to focus on preventative measures regarding the environment rather than intelligence and investigation into individuals; thus, it teaches statistical analysis, as indicated by the course summaries on its website. In fact, the JDI goes to considerable lengths to distance its analysis from intelligence and investigation, as illustrated by its publication "How to be a Problem Solving Crime Analyst in 55 Steps":
"The first instinct of police, even when they have been involved in a detailed analysis of a problem, is to try to solve it by beefing up enforcement. You should expect this and not oppose it, even if the impact is usually shortlived"
Source JDI (part 6)
If the most the JDI can expect of analysts is to "not oppose" investigations then, clearly, they cannot be referring to those who are part of the investigation. Yet, when advertising its courses, the Jill Dando Institute contradicts itself by stating that its courses are designed for intelligence analysts - as seen from this screenshot.

i2 is another culprit, which sold its credibility in 2000 when it endorsed Lancashire Police's "Framework for Intelligence-led Policing", a kind of mini-NIM that promoted use of intelligence analysts for statistical purposes. i2's endorsement was linked to the promotion of its Analyst's Workstation, which included statistical packages alongside the Link Notebook and was said by i2 to represent a "single analytical environment" (see scan below).

Thus, what we see with JDI and i2 is mis-selling; each seeks to double its sales by selling to the other's customers. This is a shameful and destructive practice.

Note the i2 logo in the bottom right; click for a sample page

Action stations: things that can be done today

Drop the prefix Never refer to the National Intelligence Model; to do so is to accord it status. Drop the prefix and reduce it to what it is; the name of a publication. This is an act that anyone can undertake with immediate effect to signal their opposition to National Intelligence Model.

Reclaim the English Language Do not use the language of National Intelligence Model. If someone refers to "strategic analysis", ask: "do you mean statistical analysis?" Make them to explain what they mean. When people refer to intelligence, ask: "Do you mean information that has been through the intelligence analyst, or do you just mean information?" The battleground is the mind and you are in the front line.

Spread the message Add to your email signature. Declare your desk a NIM-free zone. Download a logo here [to follow].

The End