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The impact of rapport on intelligence yield: police source handler telephone interactions with covert human intelligence sources

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Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) provide unique access to criminals and organised crime groups, and their collection of intelligence is vital to understanding England and Wales’ threat picture. Rapport is essential to the establishment and maintenance of effective professional relationships between source handlers and their CHIS. Thus, rapport-based interviewing is a fundamental factor to maximising the intelligence gathered from CHIS. The present research gained unprecedented access to 105 real-life audio recorded telephone interactions between England and Wales police source handlers and CHIS. This research expanded upon Collins and Carthy’s (2018) verbal rapport framework and applied it to a source handler and CHIS context. The present research quantified both the rapport component behaviours (e.g., attention, positivity, and coordination) displayed by the source handler and the intelligence yielded from the CHIS, in order to investigate the frequencies of these rapport components and their relationship to intelligence yield. The results revealed that overall rapport, attention and coordination significantly correlated with intelligence yield, while positivity did not. Attention was the most frequently used component of rapport, followed by positivity, and then coordination. The implementation of an evidence-based approach to rapport and information gathering should advance the practices of source handlers and interviewers more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalPsychiatry, Psychology and Law
Early online date30 Jul 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 30 Jul 2020

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