Undercover Operational Lead

Job Family Intelligence
Job Sub Family Covert operations
Code INT-COV-ME-Undercover Operational Lead v1.0

Role Purpose

The Operational Lead is responsible for managing the investigation where the undercover operative deployment may form one of the tactics utilised to achieve the operational objective.

The Operational Lead is in charge of the undercover operation and sets clear objectives for the Undercover Operative (UCO) deployments.

Key Accountabilities

• Consult and engage with the undercover unit prior to the submission of application for the use and conduct of the UCOs.

• Continuous engagement with the undercover unit to agree an approach for all deployments and tasks for the UCOs to ensure they are compatible with operational objectives.

• Uphold and monitor compliance with relevant legislation and guidelines during undercover operations to ensure the integrity of the undercover unit, the safety of UCOs and the effectiveness of covert activities.

• Plan and lead undercover operations, ensuring the de-confliction of supporting and corroborating tactics, all intelligence checks are made to support appropriate risk assessment and that sufficient resources are in place to ensure operational effectiveness and that UCOs are briefed and debriefed properly.

• Ensure timely submission of UCO reviews (at the direction of the Authorising Officer), including the reasons why executive action has not taken place.

• Ensure (in consultation with the COM UC and or cover officer) the Authorising Officer is notified at the earliest opportunity if there is significant change in circumstances to UCO deployment and/or it is intended to task the UCO in a significantly different way.

• Ensure timely submissions of UCO renewals and cancellations to ensure accurate details of UCO eligibility for deployment.

• Ensure that all materials, documents and decisions are appropriately and effectively prepared, logged, maintained and securely stored to ensure the security of the operation and compliance with Government Security Classification requirements.

• Engage and consult with the COM-UC and/or cover officer to ensure that the authorising officer is notified at the earliest opportunity if there is a significant change in circumstances and/or it is intended to task the UCO in a significantly different way.

• Manage effective lines of communication with the COM-UC and/or cover officer to ensure early consultation with the prosecutor at an appropriate level when a UCO deployment acquires material suitable for use as evidence in legal proceedings.

• Negotiate with the COM-UC to determine the dissemination, disclosure and handling requirements of intelligence, information and materials from UCO operations with due regard for potential impact on the safety or identification of the UCO and/or operational effectiveness.

• Develop and consult with the COM-UC and Authorising Officer on any media strategy that may allude to undercover operations or have an impact on UCO security and welfare to maintain operational effectiveness and the safety of staff.


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:

• Officer of at least Inspector rank or equivalent, although if required an officer of Sergeant rank can deputise.

• Experience of managing criminal investigations and preparing cases for legal proceedings.


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

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

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

• 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 manage the delivery of change initiatives within own team.

• Able to maintain personal resilience and wellbeing in complex and challenging situations.

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 synthesise 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 Head of Unit
• Cover Operations Manager

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