The incident of poachers exposed yesterday was a great disappointment to me, from the perspective of a person who has been helping law enforcement .Premature disclosure of the identity of the person in a FM Radio channel website and in FB pages/ Groups seems to have acted as a forewarning, thwarting law enforcement..
Hence, thought of sharing these observations that I have gleaned from the three decade long experience in helping law enforcement and which I think are important to adhere to, if we are to help prevent wildlife crime.
* Seek information about culprits and collaborators in secrecy, or discreetly as possible.
*Never arouse the suspicion of others that you are on a trail.
*Seek information publicly, if there are no possible discreet ways available.
*Keep all information secretly, and share them only on a very strict “Need To Know Basis” only.
*Keep the identity of information confidentially. Never ever disclose anything that may betray an informant.
*Check and verify information before providing them to law enforcement bodies.
*Follow-up on all possible leads, as far as possible.
*Decide to act, as soon as possible.
*Help law enforcement bodies with identification, verification, laws and regulations if you can,or get them in contact with relevant subject matter specialists.
*Keep egos in check. My motto is: “Do the best and be happy about it. No need to seek fame and fortune.”When you claim and get credit publicly, opponents know what you are up to, the next time.
*Disclose identities of people in public before culprits are apprehended.
*Publicly request law enforcement bodies to take action. The only exception is when they refuse to act after repeated attempts to get them to act.
*Disclose information to unknown FB profiles, groups or pages. This is because they may be “Set-Ups,” or those operated by the culprit or friends to track opponents.
*Give the details of informants to others.
*Discuss or share information with those who are not working with you on the issue.
*Provide unverified information with law enforcement bodies. This will erode your credibility if information is incorrect.
*Threaten culprits. It will only forewarn them and help them escape.
*Let opponents know that you would be after them.
*Try to engage in undercover work if you are “Blown.”( which means,your identity or face is known publicly.)
Jagath Gunawardana Attorney-at-law