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
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
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.
Types of Sources
- 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.
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 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
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
Drawbacks of Sources
While police sources can provide valuable information, they come with several
- 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.
- Second, sources themselves may be unreliable, offering inconsistent or
- Third, sources may provide trivial details while concealing more
critical information, hindering investigations.
- 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
"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
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
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