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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200621 Find in a Library
Title: Police Informer/Handler Relationship: Is It Really Unique?
Journal: International Journal of Police Science and Management  Volume:5  Issue:1  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:50-62
Author(s): Roger Billingsley
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 13
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article compares the relationship of police informers and other professional partnerships.
Abstract: There is a common assumption that the use of informers is quite unique among police relationships. The informer is a human source of information that assists police officers in their work. The informer is generally a lay person with no recognized qualifications and no rules of guidelines to obey. The police officer that handles that informer is regarded as a professional. The standard professional relationship is an accepted classic relationship involving a professional. General police relationships are examined to determine whether those classic features also exist in policing. The informer/handler relationship is compared to the standard. It is assumed that power and control are the most important features of any professional relationship. What is special about professionals is that they are bound by a stable set of ethical values that guide their behavior. The partnerships between police officers, professionals, and their clients, lay persons, create problems because of differences in priorities and objectives. The similarities between the standard professional relationship and the police professional relationship relate to accountability, bureaucracy, trust, and confidence. It could be argued that the informer/handler relationship is just another example of social behavior between two groups of people. It appears that the main difference between the informer/handler relationship and other professional relationships is the mystique that it creates for itself. Practitioners prefer to hide behind the veil of secrecy to alleviate the need to discuss the relationship. It is this secrecy that helps to produce an assumed model that suggests the relationship is different from any other professional relationship. Perhaps if this veil of secrecy were lifted, the informer/handler relationship might not be treated so differently from other professional relationships. 1 table, 42 references
Main Term(s): Informants; Police research
Index Term(s): Groups; Information collection; Intelligence acquisition; Police professionalism; Psychology of law enforcement; Public Opinion of the Police
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