Collecting, enhancing and exploiting intelligence

We collect, record and enhance the intelligence picture of serious and organised crime threats to the UK. Through its exploitation, intelligence enables us to flex law enforcement's collective resources against these ever changing threats.

Intelligence is at the heart of everything we do. Utilising an accurate intelligence picture enables us to prioritise action against the greatest threats and deliver the maximum disruptive impact on serious and organised crime.

What is intelligence?

Intelligence is information that has been analysed to assess its relevance and reliability. Within the NCA we use and produce intelligence at strategic, tactical and operational levels. 

Strategic intelligence is the type of material that informs us and partners where we should be deploying our resources against the greatest threats.

Tactical intelligence informs us of emerging threats and methodologies being employed by serious and organised crime groups impacting on the UK. As an example, this might be the routes that an organised crime group is using to traffic firearms into the UK and how they avoid detection at the border. 

Operational intelligence relates specifically to the activities of known organised crime groups that enables us to conduct or direct operational activity against them and their operations. As an example, this could include the description of a vehicle carrying the consignment of firearms.

Collecting intelligence

We bring together intelligence from a range of overt and covert sources in order to maximise analysis, assessment and tactical opportunities.

We develop this intelligence, coordinate the national intelligence picture of serious and organised crime and disseminate and share intelligence with partners in the UK and overseas. We are persistent in seeking for new opportunities and innovative approaches to new and existing capabilities.

Intelligence is collected or generated from a number of sources, including:

  • Open source (publicly available information such as social media
  • Covert human intelligence sources
  • Undercover officers
  • Technical interception of communications
  • Law enforcement partners in the UK and overseas
  • Security and intelligence agencies
  • Private sector reporting
  • Members of the public

Enhancing and exploiting intelligence

The intelligence we analyse, assess, prioritise and exploit comes from multiple sources, in order for it to provide better targeting of those involved in SOC impacting the UK byenhancing the picture of how organised crime groups operate and the threat they pose to the UK. 

This intelligence may be used to drive our operational response with better target identification with opportunity to disrupt criminal organisations. It can also be disseminated to/shared with partners who can use it to complement their own intelligence or to take immediate action. Partners include:

We work closely with our partners to identify the greatest threats to the UK, prioritising and co-ordinating joint operations when appropriate. This ensures that the intelligence we collect is used to its full advantage within the UK law enforcement community.


Our International Crime Bureau act as a conduit between law enforcement partners both at a national and international level including INTERPOL and EUROPOL. They support operational objectives including the facilitations of European Arrest Warrants.

Our international network posts officers overseas in around 50 countries to work with international partners and to co-ordinate UK law enforcement support overseas. These officers are strategically located to help tackle the organised crime threat to the UK through collaboration with the host nation. They collect and share intelligence, assist in operational activity and enhance international delivery through a variety of ways; training, joint taskforces and capacity building, for example.


The powers we have to gather intelligence are defined and governed by law. They are also subject to strict scrutiny and assurance by independent bodies such as the Office of the Surveillance Commissioners, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) and others.

We believe passionately that rigorous oversight and governance of how we gather and use intelligence is essential and comply fully with both the spirit and the letter of the law.

Share this Page: