What are the arguments against the police using informants?


Quick Answer

Arguments against the use of police informants include endangering the life of informants, the possibility of informants lying to the police and pardoning criminals in exchange for information. Criminal informants escape arrest or sentencing and continue committing crimes. They also provide unreliable information, according to Alexandra Natapoff for Prison Legal News.

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Full Answer

Police informants work within illegal enterprises and have unlimited access to information that police require. Police and informant relationships are unprofessional because police have to feign interest and concern to gain informants' confidence. Police informants are motivated to reveal information by different factors. Police ascertain the reliability of information through an interview and a background check. Police officers easily develop personal interests in their informants and lie to their informants by making unfulfillable promises. This damages police credibility, states Brian Lieberman for The Police Chief.

Criminals target police informants; these informants vouch for undercover officers to help them establish credibility with criminal organizations. Police departments closely vet and watch informants, explains Alan Feuer for The New York Times. Law enforcement relies on police informants in narcotic investigations. White collar crimes and fraud investigations also widely use police informants. Petty criminals cooperate with police for survival money. Police informants have little protection and are vulnerable to harm while gathering information, reports Natapoff.

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