Dating an undercover cop
Criminals are also increasingly aware of undercover penetration.
Organised rings are known to watch police stations and keep a note of the registration numbers of unmarked cars, though most police operations are more sophisticated: one experienced undercover officer has been driving a pounds 50,000 convertible sports car for nine months as part of his identity.
There has been no official comment on either of the cases.
Some officers who have been involved in unrelated undercover operations are privately dismissive, saying the young officer has spotted a way of making money out of her former employers.
One policeman tells of the time a pounds 3 purchase gave him away: while pretending to be a wealthy arms-dealer, he bought a pair of rubber stick-on soles for the Gucci loafers he had been provided with.
The next day, he met his suspect as planned in the Dorchester; after that meeting he never heard from him again.
But, he says, volunteers for undercover operations go through a rigorous selection mechanism. You need someone intelligent and with social insight, able to react quickly in a given situation and adapt different qualities.
"In real-life, most of them are self-confident and gregarious, though the way they behave is inevitably affected by the nature of the operations they have done before.
Informed sources told us about their mechanisms for dealing with these questions convincingly; we have chosen not to reveal them. Officers can live under assumed identities for months, socialising with people they are employed to arrest, aware that one false move can give them away.
Two black Scotland Yard undercover policemen are suing the West Midlands force, claiming their counterparts botched an operation in Birmingham in which they were gunned down and disabled for life.
`Lizzie James', the detective who pretended to woo Colin Stagg, once the prime suspect in the 1992 murder of young mother Rachel Nickell, by pretending to share his deranged sexual fantasies, is in the news again.
An ostensibly larger-than-life, outgoing man could be destroyed by the job, a small, meek woman could do very well." Before going on dangerous jobs, the undercovers are subjected to real- life simulations to test how they would react in typical situations.
The undercover source says inexperienced and macho policemen usually don't survive this stage. You just don't take risks." Cover-stories and alibis are painstakingly constructed.