The cost of covert human intelligence resources

A freedom of information request from BBC Radio 5 Live has revealed the cost of covert human intelligence resources, aka informants, to police services across the UK. Interestingly, the Metropolitan’s bill has fallen since 2007. Here, the PSNI have revealed that they paid out £299,000 to those intelligence resources last year, about the same as the West Midlands police. This has drawn a somewhat disingenuous response from Sinn Féin’s Martina Anderson.

“There is also a widely held belief that many informants currently operated by the PSNI are active within various dissident groupings.”

Of course, as Martina well knows, the activities of such republican groupings fall mainly within the remit of MI5. Adds It’s also worth noting this from the BBC report

Patricia Gallan, Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and chairman of ACPO’s National Source Working Group, said the use of informants had proved essential in cases ranging from serious organised crime to burglary. “Each force is audited on their use of informants and is subject to a robust annual inspection by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners to ensure compliance with the law,” she added. “They are a valuable source of intelligence and their use is justifiable and proportionate when set against other police tactics.”

From the BBC report

Metropolitan Police: £1,863,074
Greater Manchester: £329,497
Police Service of Northern Ireland: £299,000
West Midlands: £291,780
Kent: £222,578 (Median over seven years)
Strathclyde: £221,598
Northumbria: £191,652
South Yorkshire: £182,457
Thames Valley: £179,516
West Yorkshire: £170,475