Interview with UK Anti-Doping Head of Intelligence

Interview with UK Anti-Doping Head of Intelligence

By Nicola Hargreaves on 14/03/12 at 9:53 am

ITU Anti-doping team works with anti-doping agencies to keep triathlon clean. Intelligent testing is one of the best resources that we have in anti-doping to make sure that clean athletes have a level playing field. The number of tests being conducted is not as important as the number of tests that are based on intelligence.

UK Anti-doping’s (UKAD) Gabriella Re was recently interviewed about UKAD’s adoption of National Intelligence Model principles. This interview is posted on the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) website and reprinted here.

“When was UK Anti-Doping Intelligence function created?

The Intelligence function forms part of the Operations directorate at UK Anti-Doping (UKAD). It was created in January 2010 and was fully staffed with seven members as of July 2010. To be successful, a flow of information in and out of the unit has had to be established. To formalize how information can and will be shared with external partners information sharing agreements have been developed.

Key partners in the UK include the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA), United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA), the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), along with sport specific agencies such as WADA, Anti-Doping Organizations and National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs).

What is the main aim and what processes does it follow?

UKAD adopts the principles of the National Intelligence Model (NIM). The NIM is a business model used by law enforcement, and increasingly by other partners in the UK (including intellectual property rights organizations, animal protection agencies and public regulatory bodies), to ensure that the business takes decisions based on effective and efficient collection, recording, analysis, dissemination and retention of information.

It is used to prioritize issues and allocate resources to deal with them. For example, the outcomes of intelligence are to support UKAD in developing effective testing strategies and informing education programs.

The Intelligence team acquires in-depth knowledge into doping activities through managing information from a wide-range of sources. Information coming into UKAD is submitted to the NIM process. It is cross-referenced with existing data and will be subject to further research and analysis before action is taken or it is disseminated to relevant parties such as government agencies and sport partners.

How did UK Anti-Doping get started and what is the set up and background of the team?

UK Anti-Doping was established in December 2009 having successfully demonstrated to the British government that to undertake case management, and to address all of the anti-doping rule violations under the World Anti-Doping Code, it was necessary for the UK’s National Anti-Doping Organisation to be independent.

I was recruited as Head of Intelligence at UKAD in January 2010 with the responsibility of setting up an intelligence function in line with the National Intelligence Model.  My experience in intelligence amounts to over 7 years, including establishing a regional intelligence unit for 19 local trading standards departments in the South East of England, working for Surrey Police and for the National Anti-Fraud Network.

The Head of Intelligence is supported by two intelligence researchers, an intelligence officer, two intelligence analysts and an intelligence coordinator. The team has a range of experience, some from a law enforcement background and others from anti-doping administration, thereby striking a balance between sport and anti-doping, and of working in an intelligence team and to the principles of the National Intelligence Model.

What tools do you use?

UKAD has an intelligence and case management system which promotes a joined up approach to information across the organization. Analytical software such as i2 notebook, a worldwide product, which delivers an analysis and visualization capability to support the analysts in quickly turning large sets of information into high-quality and actionable intelligence along with software to geographical map information to assess trends and patterns are used by the Intelligence team.

Is intelligence gathering the way forward for NADOs?

The focus on information sharing as a way of tackling doping reflects an international move towards more intelligence-led methods of detection. UKAD has a well resourced Intelligence function but that is not to say that ADOs with limited or no dedicated resources cannot start to use information in a similar way.

The important thing is to set up a system that allows information to be captured from across the organization. Encouraging staff to assist with building up the information on a sport, athlete, etc., whether it be from something they have seen or heard whilst on an education session or at a test, or information in the local newspaper or on the internet, ensures everybody is involved and takes collective responsibility.

Simply gathering information from the doping control reports, and collating all known information from across the organization around a sport, is a way to start using the information we all have at our disposal in a more intelligence-led way. Such a process will identify what information is missing and in turn allow proactive approaches to be identified to fill the gaps.

If you had one message to athletes and others involved in doping, what would it be?

Intelligence allows an organization to use and direct resources effectively to gain results. An intelligence based approach ensures that information is collated and analyzed to paint a clear picture of the problem and identify the best possible way of making the biggest impact to resolve it – this means that athletes should not only expect to see different testing strategies being applied but athlete support personnel should be aware that the ability for action to be taken against them has also increased remarkably.”

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