First of all, thank you for visiting my blog. If you have found yourself here, then you are in all likelihood a crime analyst, a student of crime analysis or a manager of crime analysts.
If so, then I hope this blog can help you to understand what crime analysis is, what it should be, and what it can do to help policing in the United Kingdom.
Secondly, it's important I get a big thank you out to Scott Dickson, author of the original Crime Analysts Blog. His advice and support have been greatly appreciated and I fully recommend reading his blog at http://www.crimeanalystblog.net/
The reasons for me writing this blog are essentially twofold.
Firstly, I have always been aware that crime analysts in UK police forces are generally not well understood, particularly by some of the people who commission "analysis". The work that an analyst is tasked to do is often not analysis, but rather a description of facts and figures that simply state what is already known. I feel that as analysts, we need to be training the people who use our analysis in what we can do for them. As I always say, and you will hear me say over an over again if you continue to read this blog, an analyst’s job is to provide an understanding of the problem so that the decision makers can design an appropriate response. This holds true if you are a partnership analyst, strategic analyst, CSP analyst, intelligence analyst or any of the other myriad types of analyst that have sprung up across the country over the last few years.
My second reason for writing this blog is to do with the challenges being faced by police forces all over the UK today. Over the next few years a lot of people you know will lose their jobs. Police forces are having to take a hard look at what they do, and decide which members of their policing family are too indispensible to lose (and, by default, which roles can go). Analysts are not immune from these cuts. I have already seen reductions on the senior analytical team at two forces, and the loss of the head of analysis at one.
As analysts, one of the things we do not do well is communicate to managers the value of our input. We need to get better at providing products and advice that helps our managers provide a better service. In order to do this, we need to get back to basics. I believe that a lot of analysts deskill quite quickly after initial training (if you are lucky enough to get some!). This isn’t any comment on the skill of the analyst, but it is the natural outcome if we don’t constantly practice and utilise the tools at our disposal. This blog, therefore, will provide a recap of basic techniques; theories and concepts so that as analysts we can remind ourselves how to best provide good, well rounded analysis.
I am aiming to write at least twice a week, and welcome any suggestions for content or comments that you have. To begin with, this week I will start by looking at the role of the analyst and basic concepts in analysis.
Until then, the question you should be asking yourself after reading this is “do I use all the skills at my disposal, or are there techniques I should brush up on?”.