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Capturing and reporting intelligence

Guidance to help families, professionals and community members understand what intelligence is in the context of child sexual and criminal exploitation, and how it can be reported. 

Number of pages:

4 pages

Date published:

About capturing intelligence

Intelligence is collected information that is used to build a picture of current trends or patterns, in order to assist the police to prevent, investigate and disrupt crime.

Intelligence collection is a continuous process, and any intelligence shared will be risk assessed by the police. There may be local requirements for its recording and use. Information disclosed might not be directly related to the safeguarding of the child or young person disclosing it. However, this intelligence may lead to the safeguarding of many others, so should be treated in the same way.

At The Children’s Society, we generate intelligence through our services, such as missing from home and care services, advocacy services, drug and alcohol services, child sexual exploitation services, trafficking services, and refugee and migrant services.

Intelligence can be captured in any situations where children and young people are present.

Guidance for capturing intelligence

Here are some examples of intelligence that may arise when speaking to children and young people.

Details to consider are: who, what, when, where and how? The frequency of such occurrences must also be considered. Has the child or young person mentioned it once, or do the same names or details keep arising?


Names, nicknames, characteristics, descriptions, movements of perpetrators, boyfriends, other children or young people, associates, parents, carers or family members of other young people.

Other children and young people

Any information about other children or young people who are mentioned. Consider school, area, school uniform, approximate age.


Where young people are congregating, possible hotspot locations for child sexual exploitation, and activities observed. Includes names of areas, housing, playgrounds, shops, places, schools, clubs, takeaways, substance misuse, times, numbers of children and young people, and age or descriptions of adults present.


Methods, timings, times and routes of travel - bus route, oyster card details, vehicle number plates. 


Names of apps or online sites being used by children and young people.

Where possible and safe to do so, let the child or young person know you are sharing the information and ask for their consent to do so. Even where you do not have consent to share confidential information, you may lawfully share it if this can be justified in the public interest

Guidance for local reporting

Each policing region has its own method of reporting intelligence. Information about an individual region’s intelligence-reporting process can be found by contacting the local police force. If in doubt, Crimestoppers can send intelligence on to a local police force intelligence management team. Crimestoppers can be contacted by phone on 0800 555 111.