confidential informants

Confidential informants and Incentivized Witnesses - knowing the difference

Confidential informants and incentivized witness - law enforcement need to know the difference and put in place structures to manage the difference between these two categories. Discussion on Informant privilege and innocence at stake.

Confidential Informant Management - things that go wrong

Things that go wrong with confidential informant management. Educating police chiefs and others involved in informant management.

Managing confidential informants - What constitutes negligence.

Confidential Informant - negligence and wrongdoing by law enforcement. Expert advice for all involved.

Receiving Information in Confidence from Citizens

One problem we at HSM Training regularly encounter is that of how an agency can take information from a citizen in a secure and legally compliant way. Often within individual agencies a plethora of terms is used to try and cover the different circumstances in which a person provides information to a law enforcement agency. Terms such as: confidential informant, informer, informant, casual contact, confidential source, confidential contact, agent, CHIS, human source and even witness are often used interchangeably by members of an agency. Not only does this lead to much confusion it means the limited resources of the agency are often wasted with needless bureaucracy. More seriously, it can often mean that people who put themselves at risk by providing information are not properly protected by the agency.  

When it comes to passing information law enforcement needs to identify and use specific named categories into which they can place the individual who is supplying information. When placed in the identified category the agency can then manage that individual according to an agreed and document set of standards. Using identified clearly identified categories and working to agreed standards ensures that the risk to the person and the agency are managed effectively. They will also ensure that there is legal compliance.

There are three categories that command an adequate starting place all of which will fall within the broader understanding of the often, used term 'confidential informant'.

  1. 'Registered Human Source.' This term refers to a person with whom an agency enters a relationship in order to obtain information over an identified period and under specified set of circumstances. This relationship is authorised by someone in a management position within the agency and all aspects of that relationship are documented. [In Canada, this term also includes a person who has “agent” status.]

  2. 'Witness.' This term refers to a person with whom the agency enters into a relationship with the intention that the person will give evidence in court against another person. Such a person may or may not be serving a prison sentence at time of passing the information. The person knows they will be testifying.

  3.  'Member of the public.' This term refers to all other persons that do not fall within either Category 1 or 2 above and refers to any person passing information to the law enforcement agency in the expectation that their identity remains confidential (i.e. the intention is the identity of this person will be protected except when there is a legal requirement to disclose it).

At HSM Training we work in many different jurisdictions with different legislative processes. However, we have yet to encounter a legislative regime where this method of classification will not work. This system may need minor tweaking but it will help you address this problem in a cost effective manner. If you need help with this problem please contact us at: info@hsmtraining.com  

Save yourself some time and trouble and get a system that protects everyone involved.

The Human Source Management System

When it comes to managing human sources ( confidential informants, HUMINT ) many of the problems that arise occur because staff involved do not work to a structured system. Our Human Source Management training is based on 4 behavioural models which create a structured pathway to recruit and manage a human source in the most effective and productive way while ensuring adherence to legal and ethical principles.
The first of these models (© Buckley and Reid 2005) The Human Source Management Framework is explained below. This model is supplemented by Targeting, Recruiting and Handling models.

The Human Source Management Framework  ©

The Human Source Management Framework ©

Need - This is where the intelligence requirement against which the source will gather information is identified.

This need generates two responses:

  1. Planned Approach – An operation is planned to recruit a source. This will lead to the Targeting Stage

  2. Unplanned Opportunity – An opportunity arises for the handler to attempt to recruit someone who can satisfy the need. This leads directly to the Recruiting Stage where the handler can employ the generic social psychology.

Targeting – The targeting of particular potential prospects. This is carried out at two levels social psychological information and the intelligence case. This will allow the handler to develop ‘Targeted Psychology’ for the individual. 

Recruiting – This is the recruitment stage where the handler interacts with the potential source with a view to getting the them to meet with the handler and become a source.

Handling – This stage takes the handler from the post recruitment meeting through the development process to the effective use of the source and ultimately to the termination of the source.

This simple model provides a structure that guides officers and can indicate what psychological techniques can be used to achieve the best results and when it is the best time to use them.

Details of the model and how to use it are contained in the publication The Human Source Management System ( see publications).

New informant legislation in North Dakota - a lesson for all

AN ACT to create and enact chapter 29-29.5 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to the use of confidential informants; to amend and reenact section 12-63-04 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to the powers and duties of the peace officer standards and training board; and to provide a penalty