A Salzburg police officer was on trial on Monday for allegedly wrongly documenting a reference to the delivery of hundreds of kilos of heroin. He denies the allegations. The case makes it clear how to deal with clues that are sent by “confidants” to investigators.
Confidants and their information are invaluable in drug investigations, for example. This is how the police get data from criminal circles. This autumn, a confidante from Bosnia is said to have said that hundreds of kilos of heroin were on the way to Salzburg. The police must of course investigate such a tip.
Prosecution alleges false testimony
According to the indictment, the responsible investigator protected the whistleblower and pretended that the information had come from the Bosnian police. He is therefore accused of false certification and false testimony.
The accused policeman protested his innocence in court on Monday. The very first reference to this tipster actually came from the Bosnian police. But the informant was forbidden to stay in Austria, making contact was complicated, but of course you had to take the hint seriously. All of this is correctly documented, according to the defendant.
Correct handling of informants difficult
But this court case shows how difficult it is for the police to deal with people they trust – who do you believe? How do you balance as an investigator in this criminal but indispensable field of informants? It is clear that a delivery of this size was never discovered in Salzburg and probably never arrived here. The police officer’s trial was adjourned on Monday. Negotiations are to take place in December.