Poor Risk Management of Confidential Informants

Confidential informant management risk. Discusses case where there is poor confidential informant management Suggestions for Chiefs of police in relation to n dealing with confidential informants, (Human Sources, CHIS, HUMINT)

Sexual Misconduct with an informant

Interesting story about an officers inappropriate sexual relationship with an informant ("human source", "confidential informant", "covert human intelligence source")

As always in these cases it is good to ask a few pertinent questions about the management of confidential informants and hopefully the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is asking itself how this situation occurred.

  1. What are the agency rules and regulations about contact with informants and how are contacts reported?
  2. Was there only one officer managing this informant?
  3. What supervision was there and what went wrong with it?
  4. What training did the officers involved have for this highly specialised role?
  5. What changes can the agency make to reduce the chances of this happening again?

It is easy to cast all the blame on one "bad apple" but if one wants to eradicate this type of behaviour one needs a full independent audit of what went wrong and not one carried out by people with a vested interest in sweeping the issue under the rug. 

Three things will help prevent this sort of event:

  1. Comprehensive policy and procedures for officers involved in managing informants
  2. Only trained officers involved to manage informants and those officers being properly trained.
  3. Good IT to record and manage all the records.

If you want to know more get in touch we provide audits and training. And we are significantly cheaper than $110,000!

The risk from freedom of information requests - covert human intelligence sources

Many UK police services have to deal with the problem of ongoing requests from journalists under the Freedom of Information Act. While many of these journalists may be genuinely seeking information which will be of interest to their readers and which form part of living in a free and democratic society, a failure to deal with these requests in a professional manner creates a risk to both individual covert human intelligence sources (informants) and to sensitive methodology. 

North Yorkshire police recently refused a request and were very precise in their use of the correct legislation to legitimately refuse the request. Well done them!  See the following site:

If a police service gives out to much detail it is quite possible for a person to be identified as a human source or for a person to be wrongly identified as a human source. I both such cases there is a real risk to the life of the person concerned. 

This risk is increased where journalists mount what is often referred to as a 'mosaic attack' where they send in a large number of separate requests for information in order to hide just how much information they are requesting.  If the member of the receiving police service is unaware of the nature of human source (CHIS) work or fails to identify the existence of a number of related requests then very sensitive methodology can be exposed. All the journalist has to do is put the answers from the number of requests together and put each piece in place as one would a jigsaw puzzle.This is a risk to policing throughout the UK as it is the same methodology that is used across the country. 

Police services need to recognise this risk, document it and put in place control measures to deal with it.