The Government Agencies Intelligence Network (GAIN) in England and Wales facilitates the exchange of information between public sector enforcement agencies, where this is legally possible.*
GAIN is aimed at reducing the threat, harm and risk associated with serious and organised crime. At the regional level, the partner organisations generally meet once every three months to discuss ongoing and emerging issues and cases. The aim of these meetings is to decide on actions and resources. The GAIN Executive group facilitates the programme at the national level.
Partners involved in the cooperation
Twenty different governmental agencies were participating in the network in May 2014, including: the police, HM Revenue and Customs, the National Health Service-Protect, Trading Standards, the Gambling Commission, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, and the Environment Agency.
Requests for information are forwarded through a secure online system to the regional GAIN coordinator, who distributes the form to all or a selection of the other partners. The partners establish whether they have relevant information and report this as either a ‘hit’ or a ‘no hit.’ In the event of a hit, further information is exchanged bilaterally. The outcome may also be that two or more partner organisations work on the case together, for example in a joint investigation.
What makes this practice successful?
- a strategic multi-agency problem-solving partnership
- enhanced intelligence- and information-sharing between government agencies
- joint agency intelligence-led operations targeted towards high-level criminality
- cost-effective collaborations and maximised asset recovery opportunities, to secure the public purse
- reduction, disruption, detection and prevention of serious and organised crime, and
- established links to other non-government agencies and private businesses.
* This text is based on Spapens, Peters and Van Daele, 2015.