Deploying undercover agents is far from ideal

Deploying undercover agents to collect evidence in a criminal case is a heavy investigative tool that is used only several dozen times a year. Undercovers are also deployed in prison. According to a crime reporter from De Telegraaf, this is sometimes even more successful than an action outside the prison. However, Joost Nan, professor of Criminal (Procedural) Law at Erasmus School of Law, does not think this method is ideal. He tells RTL Nieuws what the shortcomings are.

An undercover operation in prison can be effective, according to Mick van Wely, a crime reporter for De Telegraaf: "Such an undercover agent becomes your buddy because you are in the same boat. The suspect and undercover are going to talk to each other about crimes. It can even be more successful than setting up an undercover operation outside the prison." Nan is critical about this method, however: "In normal interrogation, it is made clear that you do not have to answer the questions that are being asked. That is not the case now." There is also no lawyer to protect the suspect's rights, so there are no important guarantees in an unofficial 'interrogation' if the undercover agents keep asking about the fact.

True or False?

Another problem is that it is unclear whether everything suspects say to an undercover agent is actually true. This undermines the effectiveness of the operation, Nan explains: "There is a macho culture in prison. The inmates have to deal with peer pressure and want to belong. Then, you sometimes make incorrect statements. In previous cases, suspects have stated that they have said some untrue things under the pressure of the situation." Although an undercover operation can be very effective, there are also some snags to this investigative method.

More information

Click here for the entire report from RTL Nieuws.

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