The 3-i model
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A few years ago, I was looking for a simple model to explain to intelligence and crime analysts what their job should be in an intelligence-led policing environment. The problem was that many analysts spent their whole time analysing crime and not thinking about the broader picture: why they were doing the analysis, and what they should do with the results. The 3-i model grew from discussions with an Australian federal agent and aims to show the purpose of crime analysis in the modern policing world. The 3-i model revolves around three law enforcement activities:
Interpreting the criminal environment
The role of law enforcement analysis, be they high volume crime analysts or organised crime intelligence officers, is to gain a thorough understanding of the environment that criminals operate in. The arrow flows from the intelligence/analysis unit to the criminal environment in order to signify an active analysis role. It is not sufficient to passively wait for intelligence to flow to the analyst - there is evidence that a more active 'pull' model for data collection works (see Higgins, Oliver, 2004, Rising to the collection challenge. In J. H. Ratcliffe [Ed.], Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence. Sydney: Federation Press - details here).
Influencing decision makers
This component recognises that intelligence staff and crime analysts are usually not the key decision makers in an organisation. For their work to be meaningful they must convey criminal intelligence to decision makers. The task for many analysts is to first decide who the key decision makers are, and then what is the best way to influence their thinking. The first part of the question is often more challenging: who are the best decision makers to reduce crime? Are the best decision makers outside of the law enforcement environment?
Impact on the criminal environment
The final stage of the model recognises that for an organisation to be truly intelligence-led, then decision makers must use the intelligence they receive to have a positive impact on the criminal environment. Only when intelligence is integral to decision making and organisational thinking will the organisation be 'intelligence-led'. For law enforcement, this means recognising that sometimes police action can have a negative impact on crime reduction and make things worse, and other police actions may not reduce crime in the long term. Understanding 'what works' is important in this final stage.
Reading about the 3-i model...
The 3-i model was first introduced in:
Ratcliffe, J. H. (2003). Intelligence-led policing. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, no. 248, 6 pages. (download).
It is also covered and expanded on in the following current and forthcoming publications:
Ratcliffe, J. H. (2004). Introduction to "Strategic Thinking in Criminal Intelligence". Sydney: Federation Press. (details).
Ratcliffe, JH (in press) The effectiveness of police intelligence management: A New Zealand case study, Police Practice and Research. (download).
Ratcliffe, JH (2004) Crime mapping and the training needs of law enforcment, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research.Volume 10 Issue 1: 65-83. (download).
Please cite any of these publications if you want to use this, and do not cite this page.
Download PowerPoint slides for the 3-i model