The Intelligence Production Cycle
The Division of Intelligence applies the intelligence cycle to accomplish the tasks that fall under the Division's responsibilities. The intelligence cycle, as it pertains to criminal intelligence, is the process of developing raw information into finished intelligence for consumers, including policymakers, law enforcement executives, investigators, and patrol officers. These consumers then use this finished intelligence for decision making and action. Intelligence may be used, for example, to further an ongoing investigation, or to plan the allocation of resources.
1. Planning and Direction
Processing and collation involves conversion of raw information into a form usable by analysts. This is accomplished
through information management. Information management is the indexing, sorting, and organizing of raw data into
files so that the information can be rapidly retrieved. For example, the processing step includes entry of data
into a computer, reduction of data, collation of paper files, and other forms of information management. Effective
processing and collation requires an understanding of the consumers' needs, the types of information that are being
processed, the collection plan, and the analytic strategy.
Analysis and production is the conversion of basic information from all sources into finished intelligence. It includes integrating, evaluating, and analyzing all available data--which is often fragmentary and even contradictory--and preparing intelligence products. In short, analysis gives additional meaning to the raw information. Analysts, who are subject-matter specialists, consider the information's reliability, validity, timeliness, and relevance. They integrate data into a coherent whole, put the evaluated information in context, and produce finished intelligence that includes assessments of events and judgments about the implications of the information for consumers.
Intelligence and analysis units may devote their resources to producing strategic intelligence for policymakers and executives, providing operational intelligence to continuing investigations, or making available tactical intelligence for an immediate law enforcement need. These important functions are performed by monitoring current crime and non-crime events, warning decision makers about actual and potential threats to public safety and order, and forecasting developments in the area of criminal activity.
Intelligence and analysis units may produce numerous written reports, which may be brief - one page or less--or
lengthy studies. They may involve current intelligence, which is of immediate importance, or long-range assessments.
The last step, which logically feeds into the first, is the distribution of the finished intelligence to the consumers -- the same consumers whose needs initiated the intelligence requirements. These recipients of finished intelligence then make decisions or take action based on the intelligence that has been provided. This step should also include an opportunity for feedback, to assess the value of the intelligence that has been provided. The decisions, actions, and feedback may lead to the levying of more information requirements, thus triggering the intelligence cycle once again.
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