Over the last five years the various police forces of the UK have spent nearly £20m on payouts to members of their networks of informants, with the average criminal pocketing under £100 a pop for grassing up a mate and greasing the wheels of justice.
The numbers were assembled by BBC Radio 5 Live, which filed Freedom of Information requests with 45 of the UK's police forces and collated the answers from the 43 that responded. It found that London's Metropolitan police was the biggest payer, managing to hand out £5.2m to informants between 2011 and 2016, money that, being criminals, they probably don't even pay tax on.
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, Kent police and West Midlands police were the other members of the £1m+ payout club, with police saying it's a fine concept and a justified shortcut that does away away with the need for surveillance.
Roger Bannister, the informant boss of the National Police Chiefs Council, told 5 Live that: "In the main it is very serious and organised crime. So typically things like murder, terrorism, very serious sexual offences and serious assault, but even people’s home that have been burgled. We pay informants to help us solve crime as quickly as we can." [Guardian]