Fully informed? A methodology for assessing covert informant coverage in policing and law enforcement

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Abstract

The use of informants, or Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS), has become a mainstay of contemporary policing in the United Kingdom (UK) as police, security and enforcement agencies seek to tackle a range of crimes. Within such agencies the need to understand the extent to which covert informants can provide information on issues of interest has become essential to effective practice. Drawing upon the principles of social penetration theory, this paper proposes a new methodology that may support police and law enforcement agencies in systematically mapping the breadth and depth of covert informant coverage in policing operations and the wider threat landscape. The future testing of such a methodology in practice will represent a critical area for further development and debate.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalThe Police Journal: Theory, Practice and Principles
Early online date2 Sep 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2019

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law enforcement
police
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methodology
intelligence
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threat

Keywords

  • Informants
  • Covert policing
  • Intelligence
  • Analysis
  • Social penetration theory

Cite this

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abstract = "The use of informants, or Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS), has become a mainstay of contemporary policing in the United Kingdom (UK) as police, security and enforcement agencies seek to tackle a range of crimes. Within such agencies the need to understand the extent to which covert informants can provide information on issues of interest has become essential to effective practice. Drawing upon the principles of social penetration theory, this paper proposes a new methodology that may support police and law enforcement agencies in systematically mapping the breadth and depth of covert informant coverage in policing operations and the wider threat landscape. The future testing of such a methodology in practice will represent a critical area for further development and debate.",
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