n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - Intelligence cooperation to combat terrorism and serious organised crime : the United Kingdom model

Volume 23, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States of America (US), the terrorist attacks on the transport system in the United Kingdom (UK) during July 2005, as well as official commissions of inquiry into how intelligence on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was dealt with in the UK and the US respectively, profoundly affected intelligence cooperation in the UK. International and regional imperatives, as well as the utility of effective intelligence cooperation, demands of all states to review and improve their intelligence structures to combat terrorism, organised crime and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. This article explores the UK's response to identified intelligence failures and with reference to intelligence strategies, policies and practices in the UK, proposes principles for intelligence cooperation, and looks at the UK intelligence cooperation model's suitability as a benchmark for other countries, in order to comply with international and regional imperatives for intelligence cooperation. The conclusion is that the well-developed UK model in certain respects provides a benchmark for intelligence cooperation. The positive elements of the UK model include the establishment of a comprehensive business model for intelligence; community-based and intelligence-led policing; a national coordination mechanism representative of all agencies; the functioning of law enforcement on a multi-disciplinary basis, with powers of police, immigration and customs synchronised into the same agency; cooperation between investigators and prosecutors, nationally and internationally, from an early stage of investigation; and the establishment of a trusted information environment for the exchange of intelligence between civilian and crime intelligence. On the negative side, the UK model without a counter-terrorism mandate in respect of the Serious Organised Crime Agency can be criticised for not adequately addressing the linkages between organised crime and terrorism. Furthermore, effective intelligence sharing in the UK is said to remain hampered by the intelligence community's fractured organisational structure and disconnected way of work, the lack of standardised information technology and uniform procedures between different agencies. The non-utilisation of intercepts as evidence is also not conducive to crime combating.

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