The Canadian Review of Policing Research (2004)

ISSN: 1710 6915


David Veitch

John Warden

Jonathan Alston

Laura Thue

The authors are police officers and civilian employees of the Edmonton Police Service.


Traditional policing models focus on reacting to crimes as they occur. Intelligence-led policing (ILP) models seek to link strategic planning, stakeholder consultation, priority setting and risk management, accountability, and crime analysis with both investigative and front-line service delivery. In the past decade several ILP models have been implemented worldwide most notably in the New York Police Department (NYPD),1 the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD),2 South Australia Police (SAPOL),3 , and in the United Kingdom4 .

In September 2000, in his first public address, the new Chief of Police, Robert Wasylyshen put forward three strategic priorities: 1) to encourage ethical policing; 2) to revitalize community policing and, 3) to promote intelligence-led policing within the EPS. This strategic direction has been continually emphasized during his tenure.

To address this priority, EPS Deputy Chief Gerry Shimko formed a special project team, named Project Archimedes, and gave it a mandate to research and develop an ILP model for the EPS. The project structure comprised a formal management steering committee and a working group.

Identifying Impacts: the Background

The Edmonton Police Service is known as a centre for excellence and has a rich history of innovative change stretching back over a century and including the advancement of community policing. The EPS consciously moved away from a traditional reactive policing model in the late 1980s. In 1988 the Service introduced the concept of problem-solving or problem-oriented policing5 and created problem-solving neighbourhood foot patrols. The Service extended those efforts in the early 1990s with an organizational change that supported community-policing service wide, emphasizing the use of the SARA model.6

The EPS continued to implement initiatives in the later 1990’s but struggled with increasing demands that made it difficult to effectively administer community-policing strategies. The EPS executive felt that by promoting intelligence-led policing the Service would be able to deal more effectively with these demands and make it possible to revitalize community policing, but in a much more directed, intelligence-led, manner.

Creating Impacts: the Process

The working group utilized Haines’7 “backwards thinking approach” in its research methodology. The group members knew what the vision was, so it was simply a matter of thinking backwards from the vision to where the EPS wanted to be at ay particular time.

In the fall of 2001, the project working group began a search for best practices in intelligence-led policing. An edited work on crime analysis,8 led to a good understanding of intelligence-led policing and gave a direction to seek out other best practices around the world.

The terrorist events of September 11, 2001, prevented the research group visiting New York to study the NYPD CompStat model. Instead, the group visited the LAPD, which had an adapted version of the CompStat process known as FASTRAC (Focus, Accountability, Strategies, Teamwork, Response, And, Coordination).9 The group also studied in Australia the New South Wales and South Australian Police (SAPOL) models of intelligence-led policing, as well as the National Intelligence Model and the intelligence-led policing practices of Kent County and Surrey police in the United Kingdom.

In their visits, the team heard both positive and negative specifics about the different intelligence-led policing models. Most of the details were positive and the enthusiasm of ILP practitioners was a motivating influence that confirmed that the working group was on the right track in its research. Volumes of hard copy and electronic media were received from each service that helped in gaining an understanding of ILP and assisted in the development of a unique EPS model.

Where Are we Now?

Two research analysts were added to the working group early in 2002 to assist Project Archimedes in an analysis of the information that had been collected and to organize future research processes. At this point the group also developed a partnership with the University of Athabasca to conduct a current-state assessment of the EPS to determine the need and readiness of the Service for an ILP model.

The late spring and summer of 2002 saw both the working group and the Athabasca University team conducting interviews, focus groups and stakeholder interviews across the entire EPS organization. The Athabasca team interviewed forty-three EPS members, conducted a gap analysis and subsequently submitted a lengthy report with numerous recommendations.

How do we Get There?

The project working group facilitated thirteen focus groups, conducted thirty internal stakeholder interviews and fourteen intelligence partner interviews. The combined work of both the Athabasca team and the project working group led to the extensive Foundation Document that included initial recommendations for an EPS intelligence-led policing business model.

The Foundation Document was reviewed by the steering committee in November 2002 and suggestions for improvement were offered. These were adopted and a finished draft for an EPS ILP model to be known by the acronym IMPACT (Intelligence Management, Performance and Accountability, Coordination of Tactics) was presented to the highest EPS executive group, known as Chief’s Committee, in July 2003. At this meeting the IMPACT model received formal approval for implementation.

Achieving Impact: Spontaneous Combustion

Like most good ideas whose time has come, many operational areas of the EPS were waiting for the commonsense approach to policing that ILP offers. With the history of excellence in community policing and problem-solving the Service already had, the concept of action-oriented tactical management meetings (discussed below) spontaneously ignited across the four EPS patrol divisions. The concept made sense to many individual commanders who chose not to wait for the paperwork, policies, procedures and structures of the organization to make it happen.

Additionally, applications of tactical work on the ILP-related concepts of places of crime10 and target prioritization began to pour in from patrol members. One simple example illustrates this work. As a result of a morning tactical management team meeting in the EPS North Division, a targeting initiative was created that assigned two patrol constables to a district that had been experiencing a rash of burglaries over several weeks. They soon responded to a suspicious person call from the area and located a male standing at a transit stop who they felt was acting suspiciously. Further investigation by the officers resulted in the arrest of the suspect for a break and enter that had occurred around the corner from where he had been standing. Stolen property from the crime was recovered in a sports equipment bag that he was carrying. The offender was questioned about the entire burglary series in the area and he proceeded to direct the officers to another twenty residences that he had broken into over the previous months.

Impact: The Key Elements of the Eps Intelligence-Led Policing Model

Intelligence-led policing has become an organizational process for how the EPS conducts its business. In its simplest form our ILP model is similar to SARA (Scan, Analyze, Respond and Assess) but at a corporate level. The model builds on CompStat and other ILP models and has been adapted to take advantage of the particular strengths and challenges the EPS faces. The model is focussed on crime reduction, results and accountability in a professional and structured manner.

Because this is a commonsense approach to policing, other businesses and just everyday life can illustrate how the ILP model works.

Consider a simple example of a student taking a course:

Or consider a football team preparing for an upcoming season:

At the most basic level for the business of policing the process is:

Critical to the process, and a commonality highlighted by each of the above examples, is that no component of the model can be disconnected from the rest of the process. For example, strategic planning steers the model. Without it there will be little value in performance management, and intelligence analysts will be more prone to subjective evaluations of what intelligence products are supplied to detectives and patrol officers. Further, stakeholders will become frustrated at a Service that apparently ignores its input.

Maximizing Impact

Simple examples have been noted above, but changing the way an organization does its business is much more complex. Indeed, at the time of writing, the Project Archimedes is into its third year of work.

The most significant step forward in the recent past has been the acceptance of ownership. When the IMPACT model was formally approved for implementation, each of the deputy chiefs accepted ownership of one or more of the key-elements of the model. This ensures not only ownership but creates sponsorship and, like the tasking process in tactical management, will ensure accountability through performance measures.

Implementation of the key elements is occurring across the Service. The strategic planning process of our organization is currently undergoing a complete overhaul that will include a focus on prevention and reduction of crime and improved quality of life. The EPS has hired eleven analysts over the last three years to support intelligence management. The project working group also created and implemented an intranet-based information-sharing site and purchased several data projectors, screens, and workstations so that the information could be reviewed in patrol parade briefings.

Each of the four patrol divisions are currently utilizing what have been termed Tactical Management Team Meetings or TMTs as a process for prioritizing problem solving and tasking those problems for results. This process has now expanded into our Major Crimes Division , which includes such matters as homicide, robbery, sexual assault, vice, and so on, and Special Investigations Division, which includes such matters as intelligence analysis, economic crimes, gangs, identification and so on.

The working group is now in the process of developing key performance indicators linked to current strategic priorities and divisional objectives. Lastly, there has been a renewed involvement with our stakeholders, both internal and external to law enforcement, such as the RCMP, CSIS, community leagues and the Police Commission.

A focus on education and marketing the IMPACT model to stakeholders and within the Service will carry us through to the end of 2003, when an evaluative and sustainability component will be necessary for 2004.

The ILP process is working. The EPS is striving to make an IMPACT. Numerous examples have shown how using the process leads to reduced crime, increased quality of life of affected citizens and helps get the most serious criminal offenders in custody.


1. V. E. Henry and W. J. Bratton, The CompStat paradigm: Management accountability in policing, business and the public sector, New York: 2002, Looseleaf Law Publications; P. P. McDonald, Managing police operations: Implementing the New York crime control model – CompStat, Belmont, CA: 2002, Wadsworth.

2. D. Smith, D, “Can Bratton’s system work in L.A.?”, L.A. Times, November 8, 2002.

3. South Australia Police (SAPOL), Intelligence led policing manual, Adelaide: 2001.

4. R. Anderson, “Intelligence-led policing: A British perspective”, in A. Smith (ed.), Intelligence led policing: International perspectives on policing in the 21st century. Lawrenceville, NJ: 1997, International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA); National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), The National Intelligence Model, United Kingdom: 2000, NCIS.

5. J. E. Eck and W. Spelman (eds.), Problem solving: Problem oriented policing, Washington, DC: 1987, Police Executive Research Forum (PERF).

6. H. Goldstein, Problem-oriented policing. New York: 1990, McGraw-Hill.

7. S. G. Haines, The systems thinking approach to strategic planning and management. Boca Raton, FA: 2000, St. Lucie Press.

8. M. B. Peterson, (ed.), Intelligence 2000: Revising the basic elements. Lawrenceville, NJ: 2000, International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA).

9. Following the hiring of William Bratton, the police chief who instituted the NYPD CompStat model, the LAPD has changed the name of their ILP model to CompStat.

10. J. E. Eck and D. Weisburd, Crime and place, Monsey, NY: 1955, Willow Tree Press.