n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The nature of police and community interaction alongside the dawn of intelligence led policing

Special Edition 3
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



Police cannot operate without information from and on the community. This is why the birth of Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) was so significant to the police. ILP is a concept that is widely used but the operational definition of the full meaning of the concept is still vague. For the purposes of this contribution ILP refers to a recent shift or change in crime control thinking and the related policing practices. Intelligence gathering by means of different tactics and the proactive strategies designed around the gathered information explains the basic meaning of ILP. This new era of proactive and ILP is also known as the police revolution. Although 'intelligence-led' policing can officially be traced back to the 1830s where evidence exists that the warranted tampering with mail in the name of intelligence gathering and safety was condoned, a clear demarcation of its boundaries and substance does not exist. It can be argued that ILP is important in order to monitor airports and ports and to infiltrate terrorist groups or syndicates for national security (e.g. to avoid a duplication of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack in the USA). Proactive policing involves community policing (CP) and voluntary community involvement with greater emphasis on crime prevention and problem solving. The main difference between CP and ILP is the typical absence of voluntary consent in the case of ILP. As noble as CP or partnership policing may seem, both are not doing well, especially in South Africa (SA), since communities still do not trust the police. The South African Police Service (SAPS) and other police agencies globally are therefore forced to use ILP and other techno tactics to gather information on the populace. The question one needs to ask, with cognisance of the fact that police and community relations are in trouble, is: Is the intention of ILP political or in all honesty to police pro-actively?

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