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Informants paid £100k over last year

PUBLISHED: 09:25 21 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:43 03 July 2010

POLICE in Norfolk have paid out almost £100,000 to informants this year, it emerged at the weekend - representing a sharp increase over the last five years.

POLICE in Norfolk have paid out almost £100,000 to informants this year, it emerged at the weekend - representing a sharp increase over the last five years.

The amount paid out to sources for information has risen from just under £40,000 in 2003-04, to a high of £133,588 in 2006-07.

And figures, revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, show that for the 2008-09 financial year, not including March, the force paid out £96,285.65.

Norfolk Constabulary said paying for intelligence was an important part of its fight against crime.

The force also said it had strict procedures in place to ensure its payment to informants was done in an ethical manner and represented the best use of resources.

In 2007-08 it spent more than £106,000, for 2006-07 more than £133,000, in 2005-06 more than £56,000, 2004-05 more than £85,000 and almost £40,000 in 2003-04.

Harry Mitchell, the force's head of news, said: “Norfolk Constabulary's policing model places a high emphasis upon being intelligence-led.

“The use of source-based intelligence is an important element of this, as it enables intelligence to be gathered which would otherwise be unavailable to us.

“Such intelligence makes a very positive contribution in our fight against crime and disorder and there are strict procedures in place to ensure that we operate in an ethical manner and make the best possible use of resources.”

Retired Norwich police officer Maurice Morson, a former head of Norfolk Constabulary's CID, said the system for paying informants had changed dramatically since his day, but the need to receive such information still remained.

Mr Morson, 72, said: “Informants come in all guises and you must remember that not all of them want paying. Informants were invaluable in my day and I'm sure they still are.

“Without the public the police are nothing. You need the public because you need information. When you appeal for information and the public come forward, they are informants, just as criminals deciding to inform against another criminal are also informants.”

Mr Morson added it was important for forces to have systems in place which protected both the informant and the officer who was the source's “handler”.


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