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On the relationship between goals, membership and network design in multi-agency “fusion” centres

David Bright (Centre for Crime, Policy and Research, Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law, Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia)
Chad Whelan (Department of Criminology, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 2 October 2018

Issue publication date: 23 May 2019




The purpose of this paper is to adopt an organisational network perspective to examine the structural properties underpinning the design and governance of multi-agency fusion centres and related environments, focussing particularly on how they are formed and internally managed.


The authors conducted several focus groups and follow-up interviews with executive and operational members of Australia’s principal fusion centres and related environments.


The authors argue that in order to understand the internal dynamics of fusion centres, and the ways in which they form and function, the analysis of interrelationships between partners and potential partners is critical. The authors have demonstrated that a network model can assist in this type of analysis. For example, hub-and-spoke network structures appear to be a particularly effective solution to the centralisation-density trade-off for such inter-agency networks.


The authors use a novel approach that combines a goal-oriented network framework with the existing literature on fusion centres to synthesise key features of the network structure of fusion centres and associated processes of information sharing.



The authors would like to sincerely thank all participants for taking time out of their busy schedules to participate in this study. The authors also thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful feedback on an earlier version of this paper.


Bright, D. and Whelan, C. (2019), "On the relationship between goals, membership and network design in multi-agency “fusion” centres", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 42 No. 3, pp. 441-454.



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