Confidential informants (CHIS, HUMINT, Human Sources) should only be managed by officers dedicated to that role. These officers should be attached to dedicated handling units whose sole purpose is the recruitment and management of confidential informants. This is how to manage confidential informants professionally. Here are ten reasons why:
Confidential informant management is a high risk business. Officers involved need many weeks of training. No agency can afford to train every officer to the required standard to manage informants safely.
Officers with an aptitude and ability for the role can be selected as opposed to letting officer perform that regards of their ability.
Having dedicated officers/units significantly reduces the risk of corruption with informants. It is much easier to supervise a reduced number of officers rather than a whole agency.
Informants are better protected when it is an officers full time job to protect them. Having these officers work in dedicated teams means that all officers involved know what they are doing.
The agency obtains much more information because the dedicated officers involved know how to task and debrief the confidential informant.
In the event something goes wrong the agency is in a much better position to evidence the steps that were taken to manage the informant properly.
Using dedicated officers/units ensures better compliance with the collection and handling of evidence and with subsequent disclosure.
Having dedicated officers/units puts a firewall between information collection and its exploitation. This reduces the chances of an informant being compromised by the actions of a careless investigator or an investigator whose only priority is to get a conviction.
Reducing the number officers involved in managing informants reduce the exposure of covert methods. Everything can be done in a more professional way.
With dedicated informant units the standard of record keeping will improve significantly. Good records protect all involved.