Keeping our wits about us: introducing a bespoke informant interview model for covert human intelligence source (CHIS) interactions

Lee Moffett, Gavin E. Oxburgh*, Paul Dresser, Fiona Gabbert, Steven J. Watson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The covert use of civilian informants leaves law enforcement agencies open to accusations of unethical conduct. The use of a structured interview protocol is a recognised method of promoting ethical interactions between police and public citizens, however, there is no known interview model specifically designed to meet informant handler objectives. The current study adopts a holistic view of the interaction between ‘informant’ and ‘handler’ to develop a bespoke informant interview model (RWITS-US: Review and Research, Welfare, Information, Tasking, Security, Understanding Context, Sharing). This model is compared to the PEACE model of interviewing as part of a novel experimental paradigm using mock-informants (N = 19), measuring levels of motivation, rapport, cooperation and intelligence gain. Results indicate that the RWITS-US model generated significantly greater levels of self-reported rapport without having any detrimental effect on the other measured variables. Whilst the results are encouraging, we suggest that the RWITS-US model should be tested in handler training environments before being recommended for widespread use in the field.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Early online date7 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Dec 2022

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