Revealed: How much money is paid out to informants by police force looking after Milton Keynes
Local police have spent almost £750,000 on informants over the past five years, new figures reveal.
Thames Valley police force has paid out exactly £749,850 to informants since 2014/15. Last year alone the force paid out £154,655.85.
Informants are used by the police to find out information on criminal activity such as murder, burglaries and drug rings.
Neil Wood, a former undercover policeman, said in his experience about “90 per cent of informants are used in drug-related offences”.
Neil, who is now CEO of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, rallying for drug reform policy, said: “Using police informants for other crimes such as burglaries and theft is the most cost-effective form of policing you can do.”
But he also points out that what informants are mostly used for does not reduce the
crime in the area.
“If you arrest a drug dealer on the information of an informant, you remove a drug
dealer. All it does is create an opportunity for another drug dealer; crime doesn’t reduce,” he said.
Neil said Informants, can be paid anything between £20 and £15,000 for sharing information leading to successful arrests.
Highest spenders on informants were The Met, who forked out a whopping £970,000 in 2018/19. Police Scotland were the second highest, paying more than £1.3 million to informants between 2014 and 2019.
North Wales Police spent the lowest amount – just under £55,000 over the five years.
The figures came from a Freedom of Information request from the University of Portsmouth journalism department. Out of 45 forces in the UK, 27 responded to the request.
the University of Portsmouth journalism department.
A spokesperson from Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “It is critical that there is transparency in how taxpayers’ money is spent, even in the murky world of crime- fighting.
“All bodies, including the police, ought to be aware of the public interest in knowing where their cash is being spent, especially given that taxpayers are being asked to pay record amounts this year.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “The percentage of spending on informants in Thames Valley Police in 2018/19 was 0.038% of the total budget. Paying informants is just one of the tools that police have to gain information and is a very cost effective tactic."