Boston police releases confidential informant consent form

Informant Working Agreement outlines ambiguous nature of relationship, absolves BPD of liabilities

Written by Matthew Guariglia
Edited by JPat Brown

Following a public records request, Boston Police Department has released Form 2645, the Informant Working Agreement. The document, sent in both English and Spanish, stipulates 11 specific clauses that must be agreed to by an individual before they can become an official informant of the BPD.

This acquisition of this document comes as a follow up to our recent reporting on Rule 333, the BPD’s rules and procedures manual on recruiting and maintaining confidential informants. In that document, filling out the Informant Working Agreement is listed as a mandatory step in the recruitment of an informant.

The first and most immediate clause on the document stipulates that the BPD is not responsible for any injuries sustained by the informant during the investigation. Neither this document nor the Rule 333 procedures suggest that the family or dependents of an informant would receive any remuneration if the recruited person should be injured or killed while observing or investigating. In fact, this clause, which absolves the BPD of involvement, seems to suggest the opposite.

To prevent informants from claiming that illegal acts were justified by an unsanctioned investigation, the document also stipulates that the informant “will not participate in any investigations or any criminal activities, unless the investigations is being directly supervised by an officer of the Boston Police Department.”

However, clause 4 continues the trend of the Procedures manual ambiguously mapping out an informant’s ability to break laws while in the service BPD. Any crimes committed unrelated to the investigation could find an informant subject to arrest and prosecution, “except when the criminal is justified in connection with authorities police investigation to obtain evidence.”

Our early reporting on the procedures for informants discussed the BPD’s views on why a person would become an informant. Along with revenge and rivalry, the list also included “avoiding criminal prosecution.”

Depending on your definition of “voluntarily” or “duress,” a person’s decision to become an informant in order to avoid jail time might contradict the Informant Working Agreement’s final clause that the person has entered into the agreement “freely and voluntarily, and without duress.”

The same could be said of a person becoming an informant as a way to offset a dire financial situation. Without knowing the stories of any specific informants, the basic power dynamics between the BPD, which could provide institutional legal and financial assistance, and a wanting person, are still enough to raise critical questions about the “voluntary” nature of informant recruitment.

You can read the full document - in both languages - on the request page, or embedded below.


Image via Wikimedia Commons