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How to Become A Criminal Intelligence Analyst: Career Guide & Outlook

Criminal Intelligence Analyst. Sounds like something very thrilling and overboard exciting, right?

Despite the fancy job title, things may not feel as adventurous as it sounds since it is primarily a desk job due to the nature of its role.

But if you love data, statistics, and the prospects of solving or preventing crime fascinates you; you could become a criminal intelligence analyst and make it your dream career!

An intelligence analyst is ultimately a data specialist, who is responsible for reading, analysing and understanding data to detect any foul play patterns or threats to the country. They are also responsible for identifying trends of criminal activities and prevent any potential occurrence such as cybercrime, drug trafficking, financial fraud, and terrorist attacks.

What is Criminal Intelligence?

Criminal intelligence refers to the information or data gathered and interpreted to find out any trend in organised illegal exercise or to anticipate and prevent any potential crime from happening.

A criminal intelligence analyst is someone, who studies numbers, facts, historical data, and crime patterns to identify a potential crime. The data includes but not limited to sociodemographic, financial, and behavioural data.

What is Criminal Intelligence Analysis?

The process of analysing data and interpreting them to draw patterns or recognize trends for any criminal activities is described as criminal intelligence analysis. It can be numerous numbers or even text deciphered from emails, photographs, behavioural patterns, and much more.

The findings are dotted and linked to any potential crime and shared with relevant authorities to prevent it or apprehend the criminals.

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Key Responsibilities of a Criminal Intelligence Analyst

  • Receive and acquire local and global data
  • Read through local and international crime reports, both paper-based and digital.
  • Run analysis on acquired data using proper methodology
  • Dot the facts and connect them to identify patterns of potential crime
  • Detect and monitor suspicious activities
  • Generate crime hotspots and graphs using a statistical model
  • Document your findings and preserve them on the database for future reference
  • Profile suspects, verified criminals and collaborate with other agencies on the update
  • Provide the intel to your supervisor or other concerned agencies for use
  • Study case studies to learn about historical criminal characteristics and behaviour
  • Document daily activities as per the agency regulations
  • Maintain security and confidentiality protocols at all times
  • Continuously update existing knowledge and skills

Legal Requirements to Become a Criminal Intelligence Analyst

Since the career in any intelligence agency is a matter of national security, there are some binding regulations and restrictions in place when it comes to hiring an intelligence officer.

Age: You must be aged over 18.

Nationality & Residency: You must be a British national and have been resident in the UK for at least the last three years.

Fitness: You need to be physically and mentally fit to pass a medical fitness test.

Clean record: Your employer will run an enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check for criminal record and verify you.

Academic Requirements

To apply for a higher-level role, you must possess a higher level qualification, i.e. a university degree in a related subject, for instance, statistics, mathematics, social sciences, computer science, criminology, or psychology.

However, if you have at least 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A-levels, or an equivalent degree, you can start with a lower grade job leading toward this role or apply for an apprenticeship.

For professional development and acknowledgement of your skills and knowledge, an accredited course in relevant topics like criminal intelligence analysis or criminal psychology could help boost your resume and initiate a path for promotion opportunities. You could also learn about GIS, COPLINK, Accurint and other relevant software programs used in the profession beforehand, to give you an edge over your peers.

9 Essential Skills & Qualities Required to Become an Intelligence Analyst

A versatile set of skills is expected in a professional criminal analyst. The followings are a few essential qualities you must possess to become one.

1. Analytical Thinking Ability

Analytical thinking paired with creative problem-solving skills is a must-have skill to become a criminal intelligence analyst. The skill of being able to read situations unbiased and calculate multiple possibilities is an asset for any criminal investigation and prevention agency.

2. Attention to Detail

As a criminal intelligence analyst, you must be able to detect a threat and provide timely warning to the authorities. To do that, you must have a reliable pair of eyes to co-ordinate with your brain to identify any such situation.

3. Excellent Computing Knowledge

You will need to spend a lot of time staring and working out on computers, running variously sophisticated software programs to analyse data and interpret them. You should have more than just basic computer knowledge of MS Word and MS Excel skills.

4. A Solid Base of Mathematics & Statistics

Anyone with a background in Mathematics and Statistics related fields will have an advantage in a criminal intelligence analyst profession. By the nature of this job, you will be working with big numbers, and your background will help you immensely in analysing the data.

5. Good Understanding of Legal Regulations and Procedures

Existing laws and regulations regarding different types of criminal activities, both national and global should be well understood. It includes court proceedings in the UK to the international laws and regulations.

6. Communication Skills

Communication is a key soft skill that any professional should possess, and for an intelligence analysts’ role, it’s more vital.


Proficient verbal and written communication in English is a must for this vocation. You will have to read numerous texts and decipher any context from them. You will also have to write up your reports clearly and elaborately for your reporting supervisors.

7. Organisational & Time Management Skills

It’s never a one project job, and you will have to juggle multiple tasks in a day, which is why excellent organisational skill is essential for this role. You will have to prioritise your tasks and act accordingly. Fix appropriate time for each individual tasks, so you can deliver in a timely manner.

8. Teamwork Skills

You have to collaborate with different agencies and also within your department to co-ordinate an analysis. The role that a criminal intelligence analyst plays is no way a one-person job. You will have to depend on your co-workers just as your co-workers and superiors will rely on you.

9. Researching Skills

This skill would be one of the significant assets for your career. You must have the knowledge and skill to research any fact or profile through the web and offline. Researching and analysing is often synonymous with your job responsibilities, and you just have to be good at it.

How criminals behave, changes with time, location, and modernisation; and easily, the analysis can always become outdated. Thus, it’s important to stay updated with thorough research and modifications.

Pay, Benefits and Work Hours

On average, criminal intelligence analysts can earn up to 24K while starting, but they can get to 44K within 5-7 years on the job with experience and training. Typically, the work hours are 37-40 hours per week, but you might have to work extra hours or work through holiday periods amid a crisis situation.

Most agencies offer benefits including pension schemes, bonus regulations, childcare, medical benefits, and more. Job posting experience may vary depending on the agencies’ requirements; however, after getting the relevant experience you could get the opportunity to be working overseas.

Career Opportunities and Progression

Intelligence analysts are primarily sought after in intelligence agencies like GCHQ, MI5MI6NCA and the armed forces or police. Some private organisations also employ an intelligence analyst for security and research purpose.

 

You will get enough growth opportunity as a criminal intelligence analyst, both professional and personal. With experience, you could be promoted into a senior analyst position, or apply to other departments, such as to be working as a police officer.

Challenges of Working as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst

A criminal intelligence analyst’s position is a fast-paced and multi-faceted role and your responsibility to identify and prevent a crime often time constraint. This is why when an assignment comes across your table, you must be able to deliver in time in order to avoid any criminal foul play.

In times of crisis, you might have to work beyond the usual work hours and often holidays are shifted due to workload. If the job demands, you could be staying away from for nights. You will be primarily be assigned to a desk job but might have to do some fieldwork if the assignment requires you to.

To Conclude

The role of a criminal intelligence analyst is crucial in securing the national safety of the UK. Albeit, the career is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it requires a dedicated and invested character to take up such vocation.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a criminal intelligence analyst, you should check out our Criminal Intelligence Analysis Level 1, 2 and 3appropriately developed by experts, keeping the UK laws and regulations in mind.

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