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.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
|Early online date
|7 Dec 2022
|Published - 3 Jul 2023