Undercover Head of Unit

Job Family Intelligence
Job Sub Family Covert operations
Code INT-COV-ME-Undercover Head of Unit v1.0

Role Purpose

Undercover Head of Unit is responsible for the overall management, strategic direction and development of the undercover discipline and associated work in an undercover unit.

Key Accountabilities

• Direct and oversee covert structures, operational security and the security of assets and data to ensure the integrity of the undercover unit, the safety of UCOs and the effectiveness of covert activities.

• Develop and oversee processes and procedures for the maintenance and storage of accurate records pertaining to working hours, operational disagreements, the issue, movement and return of UCO original notes and the deployment management record.

• Manage the undercover unit finances and resources to ensure their effective and efficient use and value for money.

• Oversee and monitor staff vetting, working hours and access to covert facilities and information to manage the associated risks to undercover work and workers.

• Provide independent oversight of the recruitment, selection and training of UCOs and undercover staff to uphold professional standards and enable a high performing team.

• Ensure the provision of generic and occupational health and safety risk assessment and psychological support to enable the ongoing safety and welfare of undercover unit workers.

• Lead the undercover unit and take overall responsibility for the welfare and wellbeing of all staff working for or on behalf of the undercover unit.

• Develop and maintain effective internal and external stakeholder engagement to drive collaboration and inform the priorities and plans of the undercover unit.

• Ensure a reintegration strategy is in place to enable UCOs return to other policing or agency duties.


All roles are expected to know, understand and act within the ethics and values of the Police Service.

The Competency and Values Framework (CVF) has six competencies that are clustered into three groups. Under each competency are three levels that show what behaviours will look like in practice.

It is suggested that this role should be operating or working towards the following levels of the CVF:

Resolute, compassionate and committed

Inclusive, enabling and visionary leadership

Intelligent, creative and informed policing

Education, Qualifications, Skills and Experience

Prior Education and Experience:

• Must be an officer of at least Chief Inspector rank or equivalent


• Able to plan to short and medium-term cycles, to coordinate a range of activities appropriately within the function, to match these to available resources, and to identify and mitigate known risks to delivery.

• Able to develop and implement an effective stakeholder relationship plan which develops trusts and enables contributions.

• Able to engage a variety of audiences through a range of media to inform and/or persuade.

• Able to develop and motivate a diverse team and create strong engagement of individuals with their personal and team objectives and with Force values, behaviours and strategic priorities.

• Skilled in setting, monitoring and enabling high performance against team and individual performance objectives.

• Able to identify potential applications of new or improved practices related to own area of work to improve ways of working.

• Able to contribute to resource planning, to manage financial budgets and utilise commercial acumen to make risk-based decisions that deliver effective outcomes within the resources allocated.

• Able to seek out and identify a range of information to identify patterns, trends and options, to solve multifaceted and complex problems.

• Skilled in coaching and mentoring to enable appropriate career and professional development.

• Able to lead the delivery of change initiatives within a complex team.

• Able to maintain personal resilience and wellbeing in challenging situations and enable others to develop their own personal resilience and wellbeing.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

• Maintain knowledge and understanding of Police Regulations and College of Policing Guidance, best practice and any local policy applicable to the operational police context and leading and managing teams.

• Maintain and update key knowledge, understanding and skills relating to legislation policy and practice across all functional policing areas of operational responsibility.

• Maintain knowledge and understanding of new approaches identified by evidence based policing research, problem solving and team working and synthesis these into working practice.

• Maintain a working knowledge and understanding of new and evolving crime threats and priorities; and current best practice to tackle these in order to enable a pro-active and preventative approach.

• Complete all annual and mandatory training.

• Maintain knowledge and understanding of performance management and assessment process and ensure they are implemented effectively when leading and managing teams.

• Keep up to date with guidance and best practice on health, safety and welfare.

Professional Registration/Licenses

Not applicable.

Links to other Profiles

• Undercover Operational Lead
• Cover Operations Manager

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