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Here are some tips when you're preparing your application for your next job to help you make the most of your time.

 For a start, you should find out exactly which methods potential employers use to recruit. For instance, criminal justice and public sector employers will only accept applications by application form. So you’ll save time by not needing to get a CV together when targeting a job in this sector. However, having a CV is a very useful tool for changing jobs and careers.

Commercial sector organisations, as a rule, request CVs. There are many schools of thought on what makes a great CV - here's our advice on writing your CV, which focuses on creating a CV that will get you to the interview stage. 

Application forms

While many people view their CV as never quite finished and more as 'work in progress', completing an application form is usually a one-off, which takes time and attention to detail.

Most employers tend to prefer you to complete and submit your application online as it makes the process more cost-effective and immediate.

Whether you plan to apply online or on paper, you should first complete the questions in draft form. Make sure you spell check the draft, then leave it and come back later to check and edit when your mind is fresh.

Competency based applications

Application forms, in the main, ask you to evidence you have the competencies, usually detailed in the ‘person specification’ section, for the particular job you’re applying for. This means the employer has broken the job down in to its separate tasks and questions give you the opportunity to evidence your competence and abilities to complete tasks, duties and responsibilities. When answering this style of question, make sure you use examples from across your employment history and work experiences.

And finally, before you email or post it, make sure you've answered every question that you should have and - if it’s your only version - remember to take a photocopy.

Job roles and Intelligence related Skills

An intelligence led approach to tackling any type of investigation is key to success. Intelligence teams work more and more on an integrated partnership with other agencies and services. 

Intelligence Analyst

Intelligence analysis is the process of taking known information about situations and entities of strategic, operational, or tactical importance, characterising the known, with appropriate statements of probability, the future actions in those situations and by those entities. The descriptions are drawn from what may only be available in the form of deliberately deceptive information; the analyst must correlate the similarities among deceptions and extract a common truth. Although its practice is found in its purest form inside intelligence agencies, such as the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS, MI6), its methods are also applicable in fields such as business intelligence or competitive intelligence.

Intelligence analysts work primarily for the public sector, including the armed forces and police, and particularly in the UK's three intelligence and security agencies, where they work in the acquisition, evaluation, analysis and assessment of secret intelligence.

Analysts are employed in a variety of operational roles by:

  • Police Authorities
  • Government Agencies such the UK border agency, Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Serious Organised Crime Agency
  • Local Authorities – community safety
  • Financial Sector – Fraud and Risk
  • Government Regulators / Enforcement, such as the Environment Agency, DEFRA, the SIA

Typical work activities may include;

  • building up intelligence pictures, identifying potential agents and targets;
  • collating and validating intelligence, evaluating the reliability of sources and credibility of information;
  • developing relationships with customers to understand their intelligence requirements;
  • delivering information in formal reports or as presentations and desk-level briefings developing expertise in a specific area;
  • liaising and collaborating with colleagues in the UK's intelligence and security agencies to get further information which may help to piece together the whole picture. This may take weeks, months or years.
  • Using technical applications such as I2, iBase, MapInfo – network charting

Intelligence Researcher

Intelligence researcher jobs require individuals with an excellent analytical approach and meticulous attention to detail. Jobs in intelligence research are often available with the police, but can also be other law enforcement agencies also require individuals to work behind the scenes in intelligence or "intel".

The duties of the role involved will vary greatly depending on the specific needs of the role, but carrying out research in accordance with the National Intelligence Model is commonplace and so knowledge of this is an advantage. The ability to identify trends in data and to compile and analyse data quickly and accurately is crucial in the fight against crime, and to stop crime from happening in the first instance. It is common to work with a variety of different people including high ranking police officers and officials, so any experience gained working for the police will be a distinct advantage.

Typical work activities may include:

  • Undertake research on behalf of the FIO’s and Analysts as required, including research of databases and hardcopy material
  • Identify intelligence gaps while carrying out research to assist intelligence officers.
  • Produce relevant and timely verbal or written reports and present in a format that is concise and understandable to the audience.
  • undertaking both qualitative and quantitative research

Intelligence Officer

An Intelligence Officers primary responsibility is to compile and/or analyse information (known as intelligence). They support researchers and analysts and although not undertaking technical aspects – they collate and handle sensitive information, record data, prepare intelligence documents and carry desk based investigative duties.

Intelligence Officers are employed in a variety of operational roles by the:

  • The Police
  • The Armed Forces
  • Government Agencies
  • Regulators
  • Charities
  • Civilian Intelligence agencies
  • Customs / Border Control
  • Private Companies

Typical work activities may include:

  • To liaise with external agencies in the identification and recovery of relevant material
  • To assist in the preparation of pre-investigation summaries and all other intelligence products produced by the team

Sources of Intelligence:

  • Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) – Publically available sources such as Internet, newspaper etc
  • Communications Intelligence (COMINT) - Interception of communications (eg. wiretapping) including Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and Electronic Intelligence (ELINT)


Intelligence analysis courses promote the National Intelligence Model (NIM). For instance, the National Police Improvement Agency states that it is "…dedicated to supporting the implementation of the National Intelligence Model".

By teaching National Intelligence Model rather than practical skills, training courses teach an agenda based on a particular set of attitudes. As such, these courses may be expected to display certain characteristics: that no distinction is acknowledged between analysts as investigators and as statisticians; that analysts are not recognised as investigators in their own right; and that managers control - rather than manage - the intelligence analysis process. These characteristics are evident in all UK intelligence analysis courses.

NIM is designed to operate at three levels, which it defines as follows:

Level 1 -

"Local issues … affecting a basic command unit [i.e. a division] … wide ranging from low value thefts to great seriousness such as murder … volume crime will be a particular issue…"

Level 2 -

"Cross Border issues … affecting more than one basic command unit"

Level 3 -

"Serious and Organised Crime … operating on a national and international scale"


Crime statisticians use hotspots for two purposes: to allocate police resources and to understand why crime is committed in a particular environment to aid crime prevention. The numerical and mapping skills used to define and identify hotspots do not, however, assist investigating officers for two reasons: first, the officers work in the same organisational unit as the statistician and already know in broad terms what the statistician is going to tell them. Second, that a number of crimes occur in an area is no more a reason to assume that they are linked, than crimes in different areas can be assumed not to link. Until the crime report is read and researched with reference to the actions of who committed it, the investigating officer is not aided.

The Intelligence Cycle

ACPO's 2007 guide to intelligence-led policing says in its chapter on NIM that analysts work to the 'intelligence cycle'. The components of the cycle are, "Direction, Collection, Collation, Evaluation, Analysis, Dissemination and back to Direction".

Direction - is incorrect; intelligence cycles start with Collection, not Direction. This is because if there was no crime, there would be no police; therefore, a crime has to be committed before any process can begin, and the first stage must be the collection of information. ACPO's purpose in placing Direction at the beginning is to control staff; it has nothing to do with how intelligence is developed.

Collation - Collation happened in the 1970s when information was stored on paper. Information would be replicated and placed on different index cards, which could then be cross-referenced so that people could find information from any perspective. Computer storage changed all that with the result that information need only be stored once (i.e. inputted). Information is grouped subsequently on retrieval, so the need for collation disappears.

Evaluation -  this has the most relevance to intelligence analysis. ACPO's definition of evaluation refers to gradings given to informant information by handlers using the 5x5x5 system. Evaluation in the analyst's sense, however, comes after Analysis. Combined with the above observations, the intelligence cycle should look like this:            

Collection, Grading, Analysis, Evaluation, Dissemination, Direction, back to Collection