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Police Intelligence – Beyond Intelligence-led Policing to Intelligence within the service

Effective disciplinary processes serve a number of important functions in police service. They punish, change behaviour, signal organizational expectations internally and externally, respond to citizen complaints and serve as an early warning tool about potential problem behaviours and tensions in the community.

The above perhaps summarizes the echoes of activists particularly civil society and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in the past who urged the police service to account for the actions of some of its personnel. The service responded by setting up PIPPS now PPSB to help police its officers.

The success of PIPPS/PPSS can only be measured by the police personnel themselves, civil society, media, and members of the public/complainants who have dealt with them.

Maybe we can talk a lot more about that some other time. For now, let’s talk about how intel can stop police officers from engaging in criminality.

The Police Service has for some time now been undertaking some very significant far-reaching intelligence-led operations in the fight against violent crimes/armed robberies and other high-end crimes in the interest of the State. The main intelligence Unit of the service is the Police Intelligence Directorate (PID), Regional Intel and Operation Units, Special Surveillance Teams, and the CID Headquarters Intelligence Unit where yours truly is serving and delivering his craft in the interest of the Republic.

Police Intelligence working through its various Units simply refers to an element of policing usually staffed by police officers of the ranks and file, support staff, informants (recruited or volunteers) and retired officers whose sole purpose is to track and predict crime with a view to curbing it.

Police Intelligence in Ghana is an emerging field that gained momentum following several successful Intel-led operations in the last decade. In the past, the CID used to be the sole department responsible for gathering intelligence as part of its core duties of crime investigations. Because of the success of external Intel-led operations over the years, some have suggested that the police service should apply similar interventions in checking some of its wayward young officers some of whom have been sighted in recent billion van robberies.

Even though a section of the public including security analysts, civil society groups have also observed that the Police Professional Standards Bureau/PPSB formerly known PIPPS which was established to look into professional indiscretion, ineptitude and or misconduct of police officers should be revamped to do that work, others have also argued that the PPSB itself has become a “collaborator” of the bad behaviour of officers who engage in professional misconduct with several accusations although unverified, has been levelled against some aspects of the Units work.

For Me, despite the shortcomings of PPSB as a naturally revolving human institution, I believe it is still relevant and should be revamped by way of capacity, budget allocation, and other resources to help them deliver on its mandate.

Alongside PPSB’s work, the service can make use of the Intel Units to do a lot more work on its personnel. This endeavour can be led by Intel Analysts whose remit will be to gather and analyze information on personnel from entry to exit. When this is done, it will go a long way to expose and if possible expel bad guys who may have slipped and infiltrated the ranks of the service causing all manner of embarrassing episodes of criminal complicity for the service.

These Intelligence analysts apart from investigating who is committing crimes, how, when, where and why from without, can also be engaged to look seriously within the rank and file of the service in order to smoke out bad nuts.

These analysts will then provide recommendations on how to stop or curb such offences not only from without but also from within the service itself. As part of their work, the analysts will build profiles of crime problems of not only individual subjects but also police officers and produce both strategic (overall, long-term) and tactical (specific, short-term) assessments within the confines set by the police service.

These assessments and profiles will be used to both monitor and predict criminal behaviour, particularly amongst police officers, with the aim to moving policing from “reactionary” investigative realms to “proactive” investigative policing.

Again, these Analysts will be charged to look for links between a wide variety of intelligence sources to work out what is going on in the police service with regards to behaviours and conduct of its personnel over time and make recommendations on how to stop bad conduct from developing into criminal behaviour. This can be done at all levels, from local police stations, districts, and divisional up to regional headquarters’.

Competence of Analysts

At the heart of police intelligence is the intelligence analysts. Analysts are drawn from diverse backgrounds; some are graduates from any academic background and some are retired police officers. Most have experience working in an analytical field.

Analysts have a huge, even endless, variety of sources to work from. It is suggested that personnel particularly senior officers who are privileged to be working at Intel Units are encouraged to cultivate, multiply and strengthen their sources to support their work. For example, they can make use of friends from other security agencies and government workers across the country to enhance their information-gathering capabilities.

Undoubtedly, the police service is applying intelligence very well in fighting crime across the country. It is now time to do same within the service itself to help identify and smoke out bad nuts who are bringing the name of the service into disrepute. It is high the service improves its security within security outlook to identify and expose the few bad nuts amongst them.


By: Mohammed Abdul Hanan EL-Saeed, Accra, Ghana

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