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Law Enforcement Position in Society


With centuries of securing fellow residents and combatting crime, law enforcement authorities seem to adjust to the new policing advancements at a relatively high rate. However, over the last decades, it became clear that felony crime and a misdemeanor would always be at least one step ahead of the police. Such a gap might be justified by the law enforcement’s high dependence on governmental support in terms of intelligence equipment. While police officers were getting accustomed to the new means of collecting criminal databases, criminals themselves already knew the ways to deceive the system (Fortenbery, 2016).

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Hence, the implementation of new efficient policing models has become one of the central issues for law enforcement administration over the past years. A variety of such models have been introduced to the police since the decade beginning. The following research paper will be primarily focused on intelligence-led policing, being one of the most efficient policing tools of the past twenty years of law enforcement practice. Intelligence-led policing as a notion, while having some major flaws in terms of the current implementation, still has a significant impact on community policing in general.

Policing Initiatives Background

In the vast majority of states, regardless of their economic or social environment, residents no longer perceive law enforcement as a system aimed at serving and protecting them at any time due to a number of precedents. One of the reasons behind such mistrust is the frequency of power abuse performed by police officers, especially when it concerns ethnic minorities. As a result, authorities that should constantly communicate with residents and community leaders made this dialogue replete with understatements and deception.

Another important reason is related to law enforcement’s inability to guarantee the protection required due to the lack of proper intelligence resources. In order to address these issues, governmental authorities all over the world decided to develop policing patterns upon which the models are to be built. For instance, according to Elliott (2014), the major pillars of a collaborative approach to public safety include organizational change, strategic targeting, informed use of data and intelligence, performance measurement and research, and partnership. While these aspects are equally important in law enforcement development and public safety improvement, there is currently no policing tool that would address all of the issues at a time. Hence, if to choose the model that could exhaustively elaborate at least one of the aforementioned pillars, intelligence-led policing should be examined.

Intelligence-Led Policing

In order to restore once dignified law enforcement’s reputation among the community, authorities decided to modify the policing models into problem-oriented ones, creating an impression of combatting repetitive crime. Previously, the police officers’ major goals were to combat the issues as they arose instead of thinking a few steps ahead. Later, however, such an attitude was successfully replaced by a problem-oriented approach, implying the establishment of central issues concerning crimes in order to address them on a nationwide scale (Ratcliffe, 2016). A prime example of such an approach implementation is the introduction of the intelligence-led policing model.

Briefly speaking, the intelligence-led policing model stands for the method of criminal intelligence utilization aimed at executing a proactive concept of combating crime, focusing on the potential threat discovery and prevention. Claiming to be the most important law enforcement innovation of the 21st century, the model presupposes a meticulous analysis of the secondary data to anticipate the potential crime tendencies in the area (Vaughn, 2018). The very introduction of the model was mostly predetermined by the authorities’ need to allocate financial and human resources in advance. Hence, they required secondary data analysis in order to calculate the potential crime patterns. The policing model was later elaborated on the subject of enforcement’s ability to anticipate the actual crimes taking place with a certain regularity.

After the introduction of intelligence-led policing, law enforcement was able to seriously talk about strategic planning on combating crime. However, many police officers at the time and even nowadays undermine the significance of such an approach, relying exclusively on a reactive model of policing, actively responding to a committed crime (Vaughn, 2018). Although such a law enforcement behavioral pattern could sometimes be efficient, the outcome was rather a coincidence than a regularity.

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Despite the exhaustive amount on theoretical fundamentals of intelligence-led policing, up to the present moment, there is not enough empirical data on its implementation in the law enforcement system. To resolve the issue, some researchers conducted a full-scale survey concerning the benefits and flaws of the model introduction to a unit (Burcher & Whelan, 2019). The discussion of the results, including the analysts’ connection with data, tools, and decision-makers, appeared to be extremely significant in terms of the following research. Hence, it was estimated that many analysts work with incomplete data on crime commitment, which makes it barely possible to make decisions on future actions properly. Moreover, another major model’s challenge concerns obsolete data collection tools when comparing to the current technological advancements. Finally, the decision-makers, i.e., police leadership and detectives, greatly influence the patterns of information sharing both within and outside the unit (Burcher & Whelan, 2019). Bearing this information in mind, it is now possible to dwell upon the separate aspects of policing model implementation.

Budget Constraints

In the context of today’s challenging and complex society, community policing should have become one of the major aspects of governmental investment. A variety of precedents like poor education rate, financial gaps, and discrimination have led to an increasing rate of crime, making it crucial to address the issue in its genesis. As a means of preserving social safety, authorities invested an impressive part of national budgets in order to launch trainings for the community police officers and programs on crime prevention (Richardson, 2018). However, the primary issue lies in the fact that while visually authorities pay attention to public safety, the extent to which they choose to be involved is not enough in terms of today’s rapidly increasing crime rates.

The introduction of intelligence-led policing seemed like a perfect solution to this problem, as while preventing crime commitment, law enforcement budgeting did not have such a strong need to invest in the police officers’ trainings. Instead, they were to allocate the finances into the systems of the law enforcement intelligence database installation and maintenance. Still, in order to support an average police department practicing intelligence-led policing, authorities are to spend several billion dollars annually (Burcher & Whelan, 2019). Hence, while intelligence-led policing proves to become extremely efficient in terms of crime prevention, the concept of quality is drastically deteriorated by the lack of proper financing.

Operation Effectiveness

When speaking of adopting any models to community policing, it is barely possible to outline the ones that would be of absolute efficiency to both the law enforcement facilities and community residents. Hence, when pondering the implementation of intelligence-led policing, it is important to critically discuss its effectiveness in all the aspects of community policing as a notion. Unlike reactive patterns of policing, intelligence-led policing is almost unmanageable in terms of exact efficiency quantitative data. Even when measurable, the statistics are distorted in a number of ways.

To begin with, community policing aimed at facing crime commitment directly can generally perform better results in terms of the number of crimes solved. However, it is the scope of the crime that also matters in the context of analytics. Intelligence-led policing is intended to prevent such large-scale crimes as terrorism, extremism, and organized crime controlled by gangs (Carter, 2016). Hence, whereas reactive approach is beneficial when it comes to solving a variety of small cases, intelligence-led policing is, by all means, extremely effective in terms of large-scale operations organization and overall crime prevention.

Accountability & Transparency

The notion of policy credibility is now extremely fragile when it comes to the community’s perception of “serving and protection.” Although the law enforcement system is full of decent officers who, in fact, do their best to make people in the area feel safe, world history is replete with examples of police brutality and unjustified violence. As a result, the global community has been since divided into the two major categories: the ones who feel the urgent need for the police’s immediate actions, and those who think of these actions as inappropriate violence. Thus, the latter category acts in favor of proactive law enforcement policing patterns.

However, when these people talk about preventative policing models, they still feel like they have to be protected by the authorities in case of emergency, imagining police as a healthy symbiosis of those actions. Hence, the accountability levels of intelligence-led policing are quite uncertain due to its invisibility in terms of the qualitative results. When speaking of transparency, the model is currently facing even more challenges. In order to conduct successful operations on crime prevention, the collected data should remain unannounced to the broad audience. As a result, people are to take law enforcement units on trust while they are working on the analytics and tactics to protect the community.

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Leadership Dilemmas

Once an individual hears the words “leadership” and “police” in an utterance, the immediate connotative perception of the former lexeme will be distorted by the impression of authoritarianism in the workplace. In fact, previously, the variety of leadership units within law enforcement facilities was an uncommon phenomenon, whereas the police were mostly relying on the “commander” model (Russell, 2017). Today, however, the patterns of professional communication within the units have become quite diverse, depending on the value peculiarities in the department.

When speaking of intelligence-led policing, the key to a good performance lies in the collaboration between the police department, detectives, and analysts. Such an extensive collaboration is only possible within a transformational leadership framework. Transformational approach, as a notion, implies a tight partnership between a leader and a follower by making sure that it secures professional development for both parties. While this leadership already sounds utopian in the context of modern law enforcement organizational patterns, there is one major dilemma when dealing with intelligence-led leadership. This issue concerns the limited access to the data that should be provided by the detectives and police department leaders. Law enforcement analysts claim that police officers do not feel the need to share this information with employees even if it is crucial to the overall area safety in the future (Burcher & Whelan, 2019). Hence, whereas there is no collaboration in terms of intelligence-led policing and data collection in particular, one cannot seriously discuss the notion of proper leadership in this context.

Future Implications

Regarding today’s law enforcement position in society, one might encounter a cognitive dissonance considering the extent to which it is crucial for the community and the levels of mistrust it currently obtains. For this reason, before extensively deciding upon the strategies of community policing, it is necessary to dwell upon the means of communication with the community to regain the residents’ trust in police and its intention to help. When speaking of the intelligence-led policing in this context, it would be of great significance to organize a proper dialogue between police leaders and fellow residents so they would feel they have a crucial impact on the community’s safety.


The matter of community policing has now become one of the most discussed in terms of the ways of its global improvement. In order to combat the issue as effectively as possible, law enforcement specialists have defined a variety of policing models that would potentially benefit society. In the course of this discussion, it was estimated that the intelligence-led policing aimed at preventing the crime, despite a variety of flaws, could be considered the most efficient strategy in terms of public security and community policing.


Burcher, M., & Whelan, C. (2019). Intelligence-led policing in practice: Reflections from intelligence analysts. Police Quarterly, 22(2), 139-160.

Carter, J. G. (2016). Institutional pressures and isomorphism: the impact on intelligence-led policing adoption. Police Quarterly, 19(4), 435-460.

Elliott, V. (2014). Thinking ‘smart’ about 21st century policing. Public Management, 96(9), 7-11. Web.

Fortenbery, J. (2016). Law enforcement organizations: Possibilities and challenges for the future. FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 10-16. Web.

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Ratcliffe, J. H. (2016). Intelligence-led policing. London, UK: Routledge.

Richardson, K. (2018). The effects of community policing practices and related social demographic variables on city crime rates.

Russell, J. (2017). A meta-analysis: The full range of leadership model impacting policing organizations.

Vaughn, S. (2018). Intelligence-led policing: an improvement for law enforcement and the community.

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