Despite negative headlines there is genuine narrative about implementing ethical concerns within the Intelligence Community.

A keynote lecture by Professor John Grieve, Ethics and Intelligence, was an encouraging example of the presence of genuine ethical concerns inside the UK Intelligence Community for a number of reasons.

Firstly Professor Grieve, as a leading figure in the sector, is an advocate of lifetime command accountability i.e. he is prepared to answer questions on command decisions he made at any point in his career – providing nobody has shredded the paper work! This is a principle to admire and should be followed by those in leadership positions not just within the police but the military and other sectors where decisions are being made that have collateral effects.

Secondly, Prof. Grieve promotes the duty to learn. Alluding to literary great John Steinbeck’s Sea of Cortez and a host of philosophers he shows how an open mind and consilient approach to policing will produce the most ethical and best practice for intelligence.

Third, the consilient approach to Intelligence Led Policing is what innovative networks of academics, industry leads and professionals are practising. Ethical concerns are at the core of these partnerships – with representatives from unfamiliar backgrounds collaborating, more bases of ethical concern are covered.

Finally, Prof. Grieve brought attention to ethics in the work place itself. Fairness at work, or FAW, is a major concern of his. Treating employees i.e intelligence analysts and contractors etc. with the respect they deserve and noticing problems that may lead to dissenting behaviour will ultimately result in fewer whistle blowers. Although whistle bowing is an activity which forces transparency in organisations, there are plenty of avoidable cases which add to negative press and a feeling of public distrust for intelligence practices. It is public consent building which will allow greater freedom and most effective practice for the intelligence communities – in the interest of reducing threat, risk and harm for society.

This column was written by Mr. Robert Barrows (Project Administrator at CASI, Liverpool Hope University. Follow his blog at