Suffolk: Police payouts to informants slashed by 50pc in three years

POLICE declined to comment today on suggestions that informants’ pay had been slashed due to the need for drastic savings.

Constabulary figures show that a total of �206,649 was paid to informants over a four-year period. However, the payouts plummeted by 50 per cent between 2008/09 and 2010/11.

The latter year coincides with the first year of austerity measures which had to be put in place by the Suffolk force as part of a four-year multi-million pound cutback package totalling more than �17million.

Informers were paid �58,173 in 2007/08. The annual payouts peaked at �64,844 the following financial year. The figure then fell to �51,380 in 2009/10, before dropping drastically to �32,252 in 2010/11.

The figures were revealed after a request under the Freedom of Information Act by The Star.

Asked about the correlation of the savings required due to a cut in government funding and the drop in informants’ pay, the force remained tight-lipped about the reason for the decrease between 2008/09 and 2010/11.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “The use of covert human intelligence sources is an important element of our policing model, as it enables intelligence to be gathered that would otherwise be unavailable to us.

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“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.

“The constabulary is unable to comment on any yearly trends or patterns with regards to informant payment figures. The topic is highly sensitive and we are keen to ensure that operationally that this process is not compromised or threatened.”

The force added that it follows national guidance as to payments made to informants, which is regulated by The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Serious Organised and Police Crime Act 2005.

n What are you views on paying police informants? E-mail starletters@archant.co.uk or write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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