Intelligence-led Policing and Digital Technologies: An ANT Investigation into the Analytical Knowledge Production of the Danish Police

Anna Kaltoft

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis explores the prevailing approach to police work termed intelligence-led policing (ILP) and the role of digital tools such as the newly adopted platform Pol-Intel in the knowledge production within the Danish police. The investigation revolves around the analytical work of analysts employed in the intelligence and investigation units (EAE) in the police districts which are with ILP set out to play an increasingly role in the conduction of police work.

The thesis aims to investigate how ILP is enrolled throughout the Danish police from NEC to the EAE’s and to rest of the organization. Furthermore, it aims to investigate how digital tools play a role in the analytical knowledge production. It focuses on the construction of ILP as a more objective basis for deciding priorities and resource allocation when fighting crime. In order to investigate the production of knowledge, the study adopts ANT as a theoretical framework based in a reading of Bruno Latour. This approach allows to shed light on the role of the digital tools without limiting agency to humans. The investigation is carried out on the basis of three in-depth interviews with two analysts and a programme manager from the national police (NEC).

The first part of the analysis shows the extension of the ILP program throughout the actor-network constituting the Danish police and which claims that are tied to the program. It is analysed how the ILP program is challenged by anti-programs based in conflicting demands tied to existing actor-networks. The main challenge to the further enrolment of the ILP program is shown to lie within the political and public actors of the network who’s wishes and demands for rapid exercises of judgements clash with ILP. The second part of the analysis focuses on the digital tools used in ILP analyses. Based in empirical limitations, the study fails to give an explanation for exactly how the digital tools affect the knowledge production. However, the investigation led to a different outcome pointing at an inconsistency between the supported claim of ILP and the informants own reflections on their work. It is argued, that the ILP promise of data as ‘pure’ clashes with the informants own reflections on the subject describing data, and their own analytical work, as highly subjective.

Finally, the discussion is dedicated to the connection between increasing amounts of data and objectivity involving the work of Mikkel Flyverbom. It is argued, that how digital tools transform, sort and visualize information are of increasing importance when digital technologies are the eyes of the analyst and the gateways to the world.

EducationsMsc in Business Administration and Philosophy, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages78
SupervisorsThomas Lopdrup-Hjorth