Informants cost �1,000 every week

SUFFOLK police spent nearly �1,000 per week on informants last year, according to figures released by the constabulary.

However, the force has underlined the value of paying people who may have important information which could help officers prevent or solve crimes.

According to the constabulary's records it has paid out a total of �269,500 over the last five financial years.

This averages out at just under �54,000 annually, which is slightly above the salary of an officer holding the rank of chief inspector.

The highest total payout to informants between the period 2005/06 and 2009/10 came two years ago.

Officers were authorised to pay a total of �64,844 for information between April 1, 2008, and March 31, 2009. That figure reduced by more than �13,000 last year, to �51,380.

The information was made public in response to a Freedom of Information request. Police stressed informants are key part of Suffolk's strategy in finding out things that they would not normally be able to.

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In addition the force also highlighted the value it places on anonymity and trust.

Nishan Wijeratne, a spokesman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: 'Informants will always remain part of policing.

'The use of them is one of many tactics officers use to identify criminals and cut crime.

'Informants give the police access to areas which are otherwise not usually available and so need to remain anonymous for their own safety as well as that of officers.'