Career as criminal analyst

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Criminal intelligence analysts investigate crime data and other information sources to identify patterns of illegal activity.

Police forces and security agencies use this information to understand how patterns of criminal activity are linked, target individuals and their networks, tackle trends in particular crimes, for example fraud, drug smuggling or vehicle theft and to plan initiatives to reduce future offending.

Your duties as a criminal intelligence analyst could include, collecting information from local, national and international computer systems; updating intelligence records databases; analysing data using specialist software; building up a picture of crime ‘hotspots’ in an area; tracking the behaviour of suspect individuals or groups and using intelligence data to help managers with resource planning.

As a senior analyst, you may provide specialist advice and assess trends to help managers decide on future priorities.

You would normally work 37 to 40 hours a week and be based in an office. You would have to travel to attend meetings or court hearings.

Junior analysts can earn around £16,000 a year. With experience, this can rise to between £18,000 and £26,000. Senior analysts or team leaders can earn more than £30,000 a year.

You would need to check with the police force or Government department you are applying to for their exact entry requirements, as they would vary. Employers usually ask for GCSEs (A-C), especially maths and English. Some may ask for one or two A-levels, or experience in data and information work.

You would also need experience of using common office computer programmes like databases, spreadsheets, word processing and presentation software, and you would need to be familiar with using the internet.

Your local college should be able to give you details about qualifications covering these, for example the ECDL or CLAiT awards.

You would improve your job prospects if you have some understanding of the National Intelligence Model (NIM), which is used by law enforcement organisations, and relevant legislation like the Data Protection Act. Visit the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) website for more information.

You would need Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) clearance, although a previous conviction would not automatically exclude you from working as an analyst.

You are likely to need a full driving licence and access to a vehicle. You would normally receive training from your employer when you start work. The training would cover the following areas: analysis methods, legislation, the NIM and internet investigations.

You would also be given training in specialist software packages used by your employer.

As your career develops, you would receive ongoing training in areas such as giving evidence in court, strategic analysis and managing resources.

You can find more information about intelligence analysis training on the NPIA website.

Visit the Skills for Justice website for information on careers in related fields.