Why do police use informants?


Quick Answer

Police departments use confidential informants to obtain information about illegal or criminal organizations that is not easily available through other official sources of information, according to The Police Chief magazine. The recruitment and use of informants is usually a secretive process, albeit requiring proper approval, reports the New York Times.

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Why do police use informants?
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Full Answer

Police informants supply the police force and other law enforcement agencies inside information about criminal organizations and provide assistance in a wide range of areas including the identification of criminal assets and locations, aiding or protecting the identities and activities of undercover police officers, and helping the police with routine or coordinated surveillance, according to the New York Times.

Informants are vital to the police during narcotics investigations because suspects and target organizations may not be accessible to the uniformed force, The Police Chief magazine reports. Narcotics investigators usually use informants to identify, follow or even apprehend important targets within the drug industry.

Most law enforcement agencies recruit and manage informants, who are then paid for the information they provide, only after passing through a stringent evaluation process. When an informant is recruited, the individual is fingerprinted and photographed, and every interaction with that informant is recorded, states the New York Times

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