Intelligence: Are existing intelligence arrangements hampering Australia’s law enforcement and security efforts to fight crime and terrorism?

Dr Phil Kowalick

Adjunct Professor, Queensland University of Technology and Adjunct Senior Lecturer University of New England,

Security and terrorism threats are at the forefront of many concerns for Australian society, law enforcement and security agencies. There is no argument against the proposition that serious and organised crime has a significant impact on the security of Australia. It has the potential to destabilise Australia’s social and economic fabric; yet it continues unabated despite the efforts of agencies responsible for policy, law enforcement, regulation and compliance over the past 40 years or more.

A significant contributor to this situation is the approach taken in Australia by many government agencies to criminal intelligence and its role in protecting Australia and our way of life from these threats. If we fail to address the existing systemic problems in criminal intelligence, serious and organised crime will continue to grow and its impact, in social and economic terms, will manifest so deeply as to be intractable.

A critical analysis, adopting a mixed methods approach, has reviewed the current approach to criminal intelligence collection and dissemination; the wicked problems, including endemic cultural issues, impacting the ability to achieve what is necessary; and the strengths and weaknesses of current arrangements. It explores a range of changes that that would ensure a more robust and holistic approach to criminal intelligence from Australian government agencies and the private sector.

It is imperative that significant changes are made to existing frameworks to enable criminal intelligence to strengthen operational outputs and organisational decision-making with the aim of securing Australia’s future.


Dr Philip Kowalick holds a PhD in Law from the University of New England and is an industry expert in law enforcement, intelligence and national security. He consults to government and tertiary institutions on those disciplines and on strategic organisational design. Philip was a Commander in the Australian Federal Police having held senior executive roles in Intelligence, Counter Terrorism and Protection. He is a member of the Advisory Committee, School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology and is the current President of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers. Philip has researched in law, witness protection, intelligence and counter terrorism.

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