How to Become a Criminal Intelligence Analyst

Photo Credit- Houston Police Department

Criminal intelligence analysis involves collecting and studying information to detect instances or patterns of criminal activity. Without criminal intelligence analysts, it would be hardly possible to prevent crimes and bring perpetrators to justice. If you like analysing records and conducting investigation, and possess superior problem-solving skills, this profession might suit you.

What they do

Although most criminal intelligence analysts work for security agencies, such as the Government Communications Headquarters and Secret Intelligence Service, some work as private investigators in independent consultancy firms and others are hired as resident intelligence analysts in banks and information technology firms. Irrespective of work setting, these professionals typically perform the following tasks:

  • Determine the scope and timing of investigations, such as the individuals to pursue and for how long
  • Gather a variety or records that could contain useful information, including financial and travel documents.
  • Assess computer systems and networks to detect unusual activity
  • Update collected information in a computer database
  • Provide testimony against suspects of crime during legal proceedings
  • Evaluate the progress of an investigation and recommending change of tactic where necessary.


Like most occupations, the salaries for criminal intelligence analysts vary by employer, job experience and position, and level of academic attainment. The average annual salaries for criminal intelligence analysts in various positions are as tabulated;

Job Level

Average Annual Salary

Junior Analyst


Senior Analyst

£32,000 plus

Source: National Careers Service


To qualify for employment as a criminal intelligence analyst, you need to complete the following steps;

  • Complete your General Certificate of Secondary Education – having at least one A-level, preferably in Math can be crucial to gaining a college admission.
  • Obtain a professional degree in criminology, computer science, information technology or a closely related field.

Some of the best colleges to pursue these degrees in the United Kingdom include;

  • Middlesex University, London
  • University of Glasgow, Glasgow
  • The University of York, York

Most employers offer on-the-job training opportunities for criminal intelligence analysts to help them become familiar with their duties. This training usually covers the following areas;

  • Relevant Legislation, such as the Data Protection Act
  • Analysis Methods
  • The National Intelligence Model
  • Internet/Cyber Investigations

Important qualities

What skills and abilities do you need to become an effective criminal intelligence analyst? Well, you need;

  • Strong decision-making skills to make the right calls when comparing various pieces of information
  • Excellent problem-solving skills to develop solutions to challenges arising during the course of an investigation, such as lack of sufficient information
  • Well-developed organisational skills to file and retrieve several records conveniently
  • Superior communication skills to clearly interview human sources of information, and presentation skills to make precise presentations of your findings
  • Good interpersonal skills to develop positive working relationships with team members and other departments in an organization.

Career development

Everyone wants to take their career to the next level. Some want to be team leaders or department heads and others managers or establish independent firms. As a criminal intelligence analyst, the best way to get ahead is to pursue certification programs specialising in fields such as;

  • Military intelligence
  • Financial fraud
  • Drug trafficking
  • Anti-terrorism
  • Car theft
  • Serious organized crime

Also, earning a master’s degree in criminology or intelligence studies enhances your professional standing.

Career prospects

Criminal intelligence analysts with the right knowledge, education and training have numerous job opportunities. With the sector currently employing about 600,000 analysts, and the increasing need for a safer and just society, more analysts will be hired by law enforcement agencies and other organisations.

Becoming a criminal intelligence analyst is not just about pursuing a career and getting paid. It is also about making a difference in society by preventing crime and educating people on how to stay safe. If you hate crime, go for it!