Undercover Policing

Undercover policing is the process by which an officer removes the trappings of his or her office, such as one’s badge, uniform, and presence, in order to engage in sanctioned actions of a quasi-legal or illegal nature to collect evidence on crimes, which may otherwise go undetected by traditional police methods. An undercover officer may be present before or during the commission of a crime and purposefully not intercede. Undercover work typically focuses on consensual crimes (e.g., a drug purchase, prostitution), crimes where the criminal is difficult to locate (e.g., pick pockets, purse grabbers), or complex crimes that are difficult to detect (e.g., well-organized criminal groups, political corruption). The officer engages the targeted criminal, often with the help of informants or information collected through traditional ...

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