Intelligence OfficerJob Description:
Intelligence officers collect and analyse intelligence and information in support of their country's law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives.Job Category:
What you will do:
You might work for the police services, the armed forces or Revenue and Customs.
In the UK, you could also be an analyst for :
- Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
Security Service MI5
Secret Intelligence Service MI6
National Crime Agency (NCA)
You’ll work in an office but you’ll also travel to meetings or court hearings. If you’re working undercover, your place of work may change frequently. You’ll look at patterns of criminal activity and how they’re linked so that you can provide information on:
- reducing future offending
- targeting individuals and their networks
- tackling trends in particular crimes, for example fraud, drug smuggling, terrorism, or vehicle theft
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- collecting national and international data
- analysing data using specialist software
- building a picture of crime in an area by studying trends in data
- monitoring the behaviour of individuals or groups
- updating intelligence records on databases
- reviewing the effectiveness of your analysis
- acting as an expert witness in court
- working undercover
You’ll also present your intelligence to managers and other agencies so that decisions can be made on how to move forward with investigations
You’ll need to keep up-to-date on security and confidentiality rules.
- knowledge of English language
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- knowledge of public safety and security
- excellent IT skills for using databases, spreadsheets and specialist software
As well as:
- the ability to use your initiative (drive)
- excellent communication and presentation skills
- the ability to build good relationships with people (teamwork skills)
- emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity
- excellent research skills and the ability to pay attention to detail
- analytical skills to write and understand complex data
- planning and organisational skills
To become an Intelligence Officer, you should focus on developing a strong educational background, essential skills, and qualities rather than specific subjects since there’s no standard educational path for this career. Here are some subjects, skills, and qualities that can be valuable:
- Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are essential for data analysis and understanding statistical information.
- English: Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are vital for preparing reports, briefing superiors, and conveying complex information clearly.
- Foreign Languages: Proficiency in one or more foreign languages can be a significant asset, especially if you’re interested in working in international intelligence.
- Computer Science: Familiarity with computer systems, cybersecurity, and data analysis tools is crucial for modern intelligence work.
Entry Requirements will vary from country to country.
In the UK, you could get in through a school leaver programme, an apprenticeship, or a graduate programme with GCHQ, MI5, or MI6.
GCHQ offers two traineeships for students who have recently completed their GCSEs, two degree apprenticeships for students who have recently completed their A-Levels/equivalents, and a range of graduate programmes.
MI5 offer a range of opportunities for students leaving school after completing their A-Levels/equivalents, including entry schemes and apprenticeships. They also offer internships for current university students and a range of graduate programmes.
MI6 require an undergraduate degree at a 2:2 or above.
Ministry of Defence
The Ministry of Defence offer apprenticeships at Level 3 and Level 4.
You can also apply to these organisations later on in your career, but you will normally require a degree at a 2:2 or above.
The application process can be quite long, sometimes taking up to 9 months. As part of the process, you’ll have your background checked. You’ll need to be prepared to answer questions about your personal life, like relationships, family and finances.
For most roles, you must be a British Citizen and have lived in the UK for at least 10 years. You must also have one parent who is a British Citizen, and you may be asked to give up your dual nationality if you have it.
You’ll usually need a background check from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and a security check.
Working Hours and Environment:
You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week.
You may have to work extra hours at short notice, especially during times of crisis.
Depending on your employer, you may need to relocate locally or internationally.
You’ll need to be prepared for the fact that you won’t be able to talk about your work or post about it on social media. In some roles, you may not be able to reveal who your employer is.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you may work as a senior analyst, giving specialist advice and assessing trends to work with managers on future priorities.
Employers usually offer clear career paths to more senior roles.
While you can stay in one role, you’ll be encouraged to move between roles, teams, or even geographical regions to learn and to take on new challenges. You could also move to related areas of work within your organisation, for example applying to become a police officer.