Commissioner’s response to HMICFRS report: Shared confidence: A summary of how law enforcement agencies use sensitive intelligence’

Sensitive Intelligence is clearly an important area of policing, but one which PCC’s have less oversight. I therefore welcome HMICFRS looking into this area to provide PCC’s with assurance on how sensitive intelligence is used.

I have asked the Chief Constable to comment on this report. His response was as follows:

I welcome the HMICFRS’s 2021 Publication: A shared confidence: sensitive intelligence – A summary of how law enforcement agencies use sensitive intelligence. The inspection examined how effectively and efficiently UK law enforcement uses sensitive intelligence in the fight against serious and organised crime (SOC). In broad terms, sensitive intelligence is information that is acquired through capabilities employed by regional and national law enforcement agencies under specific legislative provisions. Those agencies disseminate material that is relevant to investigations led by forces, however, it is the combined assessment of intelligence from multiple sources – sensitive and otherwise – that provides the keenest insight into criminal activities and thus the publication is very relevant to forces and our efforts to prevent and detect serious and organised crime, and protect victims and the public.

The report makes fourteen recommendations spanning: policies, structures and processes; technology; training, learning and culture; and effective use and evaluation of sensitive intelligence. All fourteen recommendations are directed to national bodies, however, I will maintain oversight of progress to these through governance mechanisms of the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU). Two recommendations (numbers 8 and 9) place specific obligations upon Chief Constables, and our existing governance structures and strategic leads will oversee their implementation.

The Chief Constable’s response reassures me that the force has taken account of the recommendations made and has systems in place for implementing the recommendations. My office has oversight of force recommendations and PCC’s hold SEROCU to account in their regular regional meetings.

Lisa Townsend
Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey