Revealed: Bedfordshire Police has spent £85,000 on informants since 2014

Bedfordshire Police has only spent £85,359 on informants over the last five years, compared to the Metropolitan Police who spent over £4m.
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Out of 45 forces in the UK, 27 responded to the Freedom of Information request from the University of Portsmouth journalism department.

The force in Bedfordshire was low in the table with £85,359, compared to the Metropolitan Police who spent £4,363,226.

Police forces across the UK have spent at least £13.6 million on informants over the last five years.


Informants are used by the police to find out information on criminal activity such as murder, burglaries and drug rings.

Over the last five years, Bedfordshire Police has reduced the amount it spends on informants, in 2014/15 the force spent £23,373, compared to last year when the force spent £20,600.

Neil Wood, a former undercover policeman, said in his experience about “90% 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.

He added: “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."

Informants, he said, can be paid anything between £20 and £15,000 for sharing information leading to successful arrests.

We put the findings to Bedfordshire Police but they declined to comment.