Developing the ‘Ten Things’ series on our blog, international trainer and consultant John Buckley addresses the often neglected area of training for officers involved in managing confidential informants.
Managing confidential informants is often perceived as a task that any officer can do and that every detective should do. However, despite significant evidence of the importance of training for officers involved in this role many agencies provide only the minimum if any training and then wonder why it goes horribly wrong. Even in Florida where training for officers managing confidential informants is a legislative requirement following the death of Rachel Hoffman officers there, often receive only the most minimal of training. Managers, often untrained themselves, do not understand the difficulties in managing a confidential informant or cite the excuse of not being able to afford the cost of training as the reasons they don’t provide it for their staff. Where an officer has not been properly trained allowing that officer to manage a confidential informant is negligent on the part of the law enforcement agency. Training should be delivered by a qualified person, delivered against a minimum set of standards and delivered to all staff involved in managing confidential informants regardless of rank. A typical basic course will take a minimum of one week to deliver.
‘Ten things’ that should be taught on a basic confidential informant management course are:
- Civil liberties and human rights. Using confidential informants will always engage civil liberty and human rights; officers need to be aware what these issues are and how to justify their actions.
- Ethics and morals. Managing confidential informants is fraught with ethical and moral dilemmas. Only by training officers in ethics can these matters be effectively addressed.
- Corruption. Unfortunately, all too often officers involved in managing confidential informants become mired in corruption. Understanding the psychological process involved helps reduce the chances of the officer falling victim to this.
- Risk management. There are significant risks in managing any confidential informant. Officers need to be trained how to identify, evaluate record and manage the relevant risks.
- Legislation and the agency’s policies and procedures for managing confidential informants. Officers need to know the relevant legislation and need the agency’s procedures explained to them.
- Record keeping. Officers need to know what records to complete and the timeframes for completion of those records.
- Field-craft. Keeping both the officers and the confidential informant alive involves equipping all with the skills necessary to make contact and meet safely.
- Debriefing. Many officers have only the most rudimentary of skills when it comes to eliciting the maximum amount of information from a confidential informant. Training officers in ‘relevant’ interviewing skills maximizes the amount of information gained. Some common interview techniques currently in use are totally counter productive for this arena.
- Writing intelligence reports. Many officers do not know how to write comprehensive and accurate intelligence reports with the result that inaccurate intelligence is submitted and good intelligence is lost. Officers also need to be taught how to individually grade each intelligence report.
- Psychology. Teaching officers even the most fundamental aspects of the psychology involved in managing confidential informants will increase the confidential informant’s productivity and increase the control over that confidential informant.
John delivers confidential informant management training on an international basis to law enforcement military and intelligence agencies. He regularly advises ABM in relation to the development of abmpegasus software for managing confidential informants
If you would like advice or further information on training please to contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +1 703-326-1366. Alternatively, please complete an ABM Software contact form and a member of our team will get in touch.