The use of forensic case data in intelligence-led policing: the example of drug profiling

Forensic Sci Int. 2013 Mar 10;226(1-3):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.01.003. Epub 2013 Feb 4.


To date, forensic science has predominantly focused on generating evidence for judicial proceedings. While many recognise its broader and important contribution to the initial stages of the forensic process, resources do not seem to be employed efficiently. It is often discovered retrospectively that necessary information was previously available in a database or within existing files. Such information could have been proactively used in order to solve a particular case, a number of linked cases or better understand the criminal activity as a whole. This article reviews this broader contribution of forensic science, with a particular emphasis on drug intelligence at the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in Australia. Using the AFP as a model organisation, an overview of the current situation and the contribution of physical and chemical profiling are first discussed. The situation in Europe, and in particular in Switzerland, is also presented. It is argued that a change of attitude towards a more intelligence-led perspective is required in forensic science in general, and in drug profiling in particular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Crime
  • Decision Making
  • Drug and Narcotic Control / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forensic Sciences / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forensic Sciences / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / chemistry*
  • Knowledge
  • Police*


  • Illicit Drugs