This study starts from the premise that writing and research on the police has been over-weighted towards issues of police action compared with their information and intelligence activities. This can be explained primarily by the more immediate and dramatic impact on the public’s consciousness of, say, police abuse of their powers of arrest or of ‘reasonable force’. Accor­ dingly, researchers have concentrated far more on the patrol and public order functions of police. Thus the academic analysis of policing has ‘mirrored’ the ‘cop culture’ (Reiner, 1992, 107-37) that emphasises action and excitement over more prosaic activities such as information gathering and analysis. Indeed, these are apt to be discredited by police themselves as of low priority compared with enforcement (Manning & Hawkins, 1989, 146; Martens, 1990, 4-5). If police surveillance has been researched then it has tended to be in the narrower sense of a concern with the propriety of information-gathering practices, often in the context of ‘political’ policing (e.g. Gill, 1994; Turk, 1982). There are few if any references to ‘infor­ mation’ or ‘intelligence’ in general books on policing in the UK (an exception is Kinsey, 1986) and the primary literature relating to police use of information and intelligence has been written largely by and for practi­ tioners in North America (Andrews & Peterson, 1990; Godfrey & Harris, 1971; Peterson, 1995). When research has addressed the issue of intel­ ligence it has tended to be because the research interest is in a specific area of policing where intelligence work is central, for example, ‘organised crime’ (Beare, 1996) or transnational co-operation (Anderson et al, 1995) or some specific aspect of the intelligence process is the subject, for example, the use of computers (Campbell & Connor, 1986) or informants (Dunnighan & Norris, 1996). Where research has been carried out more generally into the police’s use of information then the findings suggest that it is not very effective: as Tremblay and Rochon have argued, public policing is currently organised in such a way that police remain under-informed about social

expectations of them, overloaded with unanalysed crime data and inadequately committed to strategic research (1991,269-83).