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Sources: Secret Informers of Police

Entities that offer aid, cooperation, or intelligence to police agencies is commonly known as Police Sources or Informers or 'Khabari'. These sources serve multifaceted purposes and can offer diverse aid to assist criminal investigations, maintain public safety, and enforce the law. Without a well-organized intelligence system, it's impossible to effectively tackle acts of subversion or crime. Advance information plays a critical role in stopping the crime beforehand, but it is also highly valuable in identifying it after the fact.

What Motivates Sources?
Within the intricate world of criminal activity, it is often personal gain that influences individuals to disclose information to law enforcement agencies rather than acts of selflessness or loyalty to their country. Generally, the eagerness for individuals to serve as informants for the police arises from two main incentives: (a) monetary gain and (b) the urge for retaliation. Nevertheless, it's essential to recognize that although these two drivers prevail, sources can be acquired from a more extensive selection of groupings. Despite that, it's frequently observed that trustworthy and enduring informants are mainly from these two categories.

The desire for money is a common motive behind why individuals choose to provide information to law enforcement agencies. Often, these sources are seeking financial benefits in return for their cooperation. This can range from simple cash payments to reduced sentences or other forms of aid that provide financial advantage. These people see working with police as an opportunity to secure their own financial gain, and aren't hesitant to share their insider knowledge to achieve it.

Sometimes, individuals become sources for the police because they have a strong desire for revenge - this is what drives the Spirit of Revenge. When someone has been wronged, or holds a personal grudge against criminals or criminal organizations, they may feel inclined to work with police as a means of settling scores. In these cases, the sources' emotions and determination run high, considering the deeply personal nature of their quest for retribution. This makes them very motivated and determined collaborators.

Long-term dependable recruits are often sought after for their mercenary motives and desire for revenge, however, there are other factors that also contribute to their recruitment.

Individuals may choose to cooperate with police driven by fear. Remaining silent could lead to consequences such as retaliation or harm to themselves and loved ones, making them aware of the potential risks. Fear acts as a compelling factor to provide information to the police, allowing them to protect their safety.

Long-term cooperation can be achieved by cultivating casual sources who are motivated by immediate grievance, such as those who have suffered harm or injustice by criminals seeking justice or resolution. These sources may prove more reliable over time, starting out as individuals with a sense of grievance.

Various reasons drive individuals to become sources in the criminal activity realm, often stemming from their own interests. Revenge and financial gain frequently fuel long-term sources, but fear and a grievance can also spur short-term or casual cooperation. Law enforcement agencies must account for these varied motivations when recruiting and managing sources to form successful working relationships and obtain valuable information for crime prevention.

Contacts as Sources
In the domain of law enforcement and intelligence gathering, the establishment of contacts is an essential and all-encompassing practice that entails cultivating relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds. These contacts play a pivotal role in furnishing law enforcement agencies with information, understanding, and support. The scope of potential contacts is extensive and encompasses a diverse array of individuals from various professions and walks of life.
  • Professionals: Contacts within the professional realm can prove to be invaluable sources of information. For instance, doctors, engineers, and lawyers may encounter crucial information pertaining to criminal activities through their interactions with clients or patients. They possess the ability to offer unique insights or observations that could prove instrumental in investigations or preventive measures.
  • Media Personnel: Press reporters, journalists, and media professionals often possess a keen awareness of current events and possess exclusive knowledge that may not be widely disseminated. Their access to news and occurrences can be effectively utilized to gather intelligence pertaining to criminal activities or potential threats.
  • Tradespeople: Contacts within various trades and businesses, such as dealers of second-hand goods, jewelers, and other merchants, can serve as invaluable sources of information. They may inadvertently come into contact with stolen goods or individuals involved in illicit activities and can provide law enforcement agencies with valuable tips or leads.
  • Service Industry Workers: Individuals employed in the service industry, including waitstaff, bartenders, public transportation personnel, and barbers, engage with a diverse range of individuals on a daily basis. Their observations and conversations with customers can occasionally unveil details regarding suspicious or criminal behavior.
  • Street Vendors and Vagrants: Street vendors and homeless individuals, despite often being marginalized in society, possess a heightened awareness of their surroundings. They possess the ability to detect unusual or criminal activities within the areas they operate and can offer valuable insights to law enforcement.
  • Good Samaritans: Certain individuals willingly aid the police out of a sense of duty or concern for the welfare of society. These altruistic individuals, commonly referred to as "good Samaritans," voluntarily provide information without any expectation of monetary compensation, driven solely by their desire to contribute to law enforcement endeavors.
Types of Sources
Sources in the realm of law enforcement are grouped into three unique classifications: Casual sources, Permanent sources, and Temporary sources. These categories are determined by the reliability of the information they provide, the consistency of their engagement, and their nature.

Valuable assets in the fight against crime are permanent sources. These informers are the backbone of any law enforcement intelligence network and have repeatedly proven their value to the police. With consistent compensation and earned trust, their reliability and track record have made them a vital component. Not only do they provide ongoing information, but they also respond to specific requests for information regarding particular crimes or investigations. Law enforcement agencies couldn't do without these dependable individuals.

Individuals who were once casual sources, but have demonstrated their worth, are known as temporary sources. These individuals offer their continued cooperation and pledge their commitment to the police force. They might even enter into a more long-term arrangement, which could involve some form of compensation. Although temporary sources haven't built up as much trust or history with police as permanent sources, their eagerness to keep collaborating, coupled with the valuable intel they offer, makes them significant supporters of law enforcement endeavors.

The most common people who share clues are casual sources. These sources disclose data for different purposes; like money-making, taking revenge, fear, or having a grudge. What impels them may be brief, and their dissemination rate is generally judged over a while. The reliability and uniformity of the message proffered by these casual sources are frequently evaluated by the law enforcement authorities. Based on their acts and information soundness, few of the novice sources may ultimately be upgraded to temporary or permanent source status, and can potentially earn stable income in return for their support.

Surveillance cameras, GPS data, cellphone records, and other technological sources can provide valuable information to law enforcement agencies during investigations. Police may establish partnerships with community organizations, neighborhood watch groups, and local residents to gather information, build trust, and work collaboratively to address crime and safety concerns.

Who are the Best Sources?
Confidential and secret information sources are imperative elements in the legal system. Providing invaluable insights into criminal activities, police rely heavily on these sources. Police officers often keep information to themselves but hackers can gain access to it. Maintaining public safety depends on solving cases, which is why those with unique abilities are vital assets.

Acquiring a source from within the criminal cohort can be a game-changer in preventing or resolving criminal activities. These types of sources are privy to insider knowledge that may be pivotal in law enforcement's efforts. However, this task is not a walk in the park, as it only becomes accessible when one of them falls into police custody or, on rare occasions, lands themselves in jail. In such scenarios, police have the chance to initiate communication and draw on their intelligence. In addition, dispatching covert officers to infiltrate criminal organizations is a valuable strategy for gathering critical information and performing strategic intervention.

Belonging to the criminal classes or underworld, sources on the fringes of criminal networks serve as valuable conduits for investigative work. Though not part of the gang in question, these individuals can offer crucial leads through grapevine information. While lacking in specificity, this data still holds significant value. Sex workers, paan (betel leaf) shopkeepers, suspected receivers of stolen property, and jewelers all make up a category of peripheral underworld sources who can provide valuable information to police due to their proximity to criminal activities. Their diversity makes them a particularly unique and useful group in efforts to combat crime.

Numerous confidences are frequently divulged to prostitutes, as they often find themselves in that position. Valuable sources of information, clients can be, but it is crucial to always remember. Emotionally vulnerable, many sex workers offer valuable insights, however, it's wise to tread cautiously. Their judgment and effectiveness can be affected when they become too involved with their clients, resulting in entanglement. Exercising prudence is essential when it comes to the precision of the information given by them. When interacting with this particular group, it is imperative to exercise caution and careful consideration with any information garnered from them. Relying on information should only occur after thorough verification and corroboration from various sources.

Drawbacks of Sources
While police sources can provide valuable information, they come with several drawbacks.
  1. First, the passage of time can make it apparent to criminals that their secrets are known to the police, potentially leading them to identify the source, putting the source's safety at risk.
  2. Second, sources themselves may be unreliable, offering inconsistent or inaccurate information.
  3. Third, sources may provide trivial details while concealing more critical information, hindering investigations.
  4. Fourth, these sources might exploit their status to evade their own illicit activities, as police may take a lenient stance on their misdeeds.
Furthermore, a source's close relationship with the investigating officer may lead to false implicating of innocent individuals or rival criminals for personal gain. Worst of all, a source might protect actual criminals in exchange for favors, potentially tarnishing the police's reputation if no action is taken to rectify such misconduct.

We may find many such sources/informants loitering in the vicinity of police stations or in different localities who not only work as informer of police but also allegedly in collaboration with police officers help them in collection and extortion of money form illegal activities in the police station area. They sometimes even harass innocent people out of revenge or for extortion of money by flaunting their proximity to the local police station. Police overlook their illegal activities in the local area in exchange of their 'services' for the police station.

Source Money
"Source Money" or "Secret Service Fund" is a term often used to refer to funds allocated by law enforcement agencies for the purpose of paying confidential informants or sources who provide valuable information related to criminal activities. These informants may include individuals from various backgrounds who have insider knowledge of criminal organizations, activities, or events.

The use of source money is a common practice in law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It serves as an incentive to encourage individuals to share information with the police that they might not otherwise divulge. This information can be critical for solving crimes, preventing criminal acts, and dismantling criminal networks.

The funds allocated as police source money are typically used to compensate informants for their cooperation, and the amount of compensation can vary widely depending on the significance of the information provided and the level of risk involved for the informant. Police departments and agencies often have established procedures and guidelines for the allocation and distribution of source money to ensure transparency and accountability in their dealings with informants.

It's important to note that the use of source money is subject to legal and ethical considerations. Law enforcement agencies must adhere to legal requirements and regulations governing informant compensation to protect the rights of informants and ensure the integrity of investigations. Additionally, the handling of source money and the identities of informants are often kept confidential to safeguard the security and safety of those involved.

The amount of source money presently paid to police officers is very low and irregular to maintain high quality sources and the junior level officers seldom get police source money leaving them to depend on money earned from other sources for maintaining 'Informers'. At the same time there are also chances of misuse of secret service fund or source money by the officers receiving it.

Legal Protection for Guarding Source
Police, upon receiving confidential information, are not required to reveal the source of the intelligence. To carry out any raid, recording information in the General Diary is crucial. However, those who provide the police with secretive information are protected from disclosure under Section 125 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The way in which a police officer obtains the names of the accused or the witnesses for the prosecution is not a matter that he is required to disclose. This means that if someone were to ask a police officer directly how he obtained this information, the officer could not be forced to answer. A reference to the case 12 Cri LJ 277 supports this point.

It's important to note that the use of police sources must adhere to legal and ethical standards, including protecting the rights of informants and witnesses and ensuring that information is obtained lawfully and with proper authorization. Maintaining the confidentiality and safety of sources, especially confidential informants, is a critical aspect of law enforcement operations.

It is crucial to acknowledge that cultivating and maintaining these contacts necessitates skill, the establishment of trust, and discretion on the part of law enforcement officers. The creation of a network comprising reliable contacts can significantly augment a police department's capacity to gather vital information, prevent crimes, and ensure the safety and security of the community.

Furthermore, adherence to ethical considerations and to legal guidelines is imperative when collaborating with informants and sources, particularly when financial incentives are involved, to guarantee transparency and accountability in law enforcement practices. Nowadays members of police, armed forces and people working in critical departments are also being targeted for gathering vital information by rival agencies to work as source in lieu of huge sum of money and by entangling them in honey trap.
Written By: Md. Imran Wahab, IPS, IGP, Provisioning, West Bengal
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9836576565

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