This chapter begins with a review of the academic literature in order to explore the police informer/handler relationship and attempts to reform the use and regulation of police informers. Particular attention is paid to the moral dilemmas and practical problems of this covert policing strategy, as well as the changes introduced by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). These changes include the establishment of authorization procedures and dedicated source units. The chapter then presents and discusses empirical findings on the role of informants in drug investigations and examines how drug detectives perceived and operated within the regulatory constraints of the police informer system.
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