Intelligence Units can play an essential role in any major investigations such as murder or serial rape. In such instances, they are usually based within the Major Incident Room. An Intelligence Cell or Unit will not be present in all major investigations but will be included where the investigation is complex. The Cell may be located with the main investigation team or may be based somewhere else such as at the force headquarters. This possibility tends to hinder the effectiveness of the Cell.
Regardless of its location, the Cell should have easy access to all the documentation that comes into the Major Incident Room. Where this is not the case, their capability becomes impaired.
Intelligence cells can be directed to undertake a wide range of tasks including the processing of information, providing information to support management decisions or influencing the direction of operations.
The Intelligence Cell should be in a position to provide or obtain for the Senior Investigating Officer, intelligence and analytical products, which will assist in the investigation and the understanding of the enquiry at hand.
Five of the most common tasks undertaken by the Intelligence Cell include:
- Conduct research on related lines of enquiry such as previous police calls to premises or locations; the use of premises or locations; relevant prison releases; custody records for potential suspects;
- Search of database of offences using similar MO;
- Identification of associations between people or scenes, or prior knowledge of people/scenes;
- Searching of significant data bases based upon parameters set by the SIO for example:
- Police National Computer (Phoenix application) (PNC)
- Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency
- CATCHEM (Child Murder and Abduction Database)
- Police National Database (PND)
- Liaise with Force Intelligence Units and the intelligence bureaux of other forces and the National Crime Agency (NCA) etc.
Have you got your Intelligence Cell doing the things they should be doing so that the detectives can get out onto the streets to do what they do best?
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