The importance of record keeping when managing confidential informants (CIs) is paramount to any successful investigation. It not only provides evidence, if recorded to evidential standards, record also ensure you manage CIs both effectively and lawfully.
Using an effective confidential informant record system such as abmpegasus gives all officers involved in a case the latest status and activity of informants. If these records are kept to judicial standards not only will the informant be more likely to be effectively, and lawfully managed but you will be able to prove what occurred in meetings with the informant to the satisfaction of a court. Furthermore such records protect your agency from allegations of incompetence and/or deliberate wrongdoing.
In this blog ABM Software consultant and CI expert, John Buckley, reflects on the recent case of David M. Kammeyer in Chippwea where 22 year old Kammeyer saw appeal against his drug conviction upheld:
While each case will stand or fall on the information and particulars given it comes as no surprise that courts will exclude evidence if doubt is cast upon the circumstances under which it was obtained. All too often poor record keeping in relation to how an informant has been managed and how the information they have provided has been corroborated, leads to any subsequent evidence being thrown out in court.
A lot of the problems come down to poorly constructed systems for managing both informants and the information they produce.
John gives three pieces of expert advice on minimising the risks of informant related evidence being ruled inadmissible:
- You must have comprehensive records of all dealings with the informant. This will include written reports for every contact including what was said and done, and by whom. These records go towards providing the basis of informant’s knowledge and the veracity of the information they have provided [See Gates v Illinois 462 U.S. 213 238 (1983)].
- If you are going to use confidential informants in an evidential chain you must know the legislation and case law under which they will be scrutinised in court. Poor understanding of relevant case law often compounds problems of poor record keeping.
- Use purpose built software for managing confidential informants. Paper records are inefficient compared to a computerised system and properly constructed software protects the integrity of the data within that system. Any software used must meet evidential standards with regard to auditing changes made to records that may be used in court.
John regularly advises ABM in relation to the development of abmpegasus software for managing confidential informants and has written several books on intelligence management and confidential informants. His latest title, Managing Intelligence; A Guide for Law Enforcement Professionals, is out this year.
abmpegasus is a modular piece of expert-led software that helps law enforcement agencies and police manage information, intelligence and covert operations in accordance with best practice, policy and legislation.
If you would like more information on the abmpegasus confidential informant management software please contact Dawn Starling on or complete an ABM Software contact form and a member of our team will get in touch.