A Confidential Unit is a secure environment able to receive, assess, analyse, enhance and disseminate covertly obtained intelligence by providing a ‘firewall’ which protects covert sources and methods, whilst allowing investigators to derive full benefit from the intelligence.

The Regional Confidential Unit (RCU) has oversight of covert and sensitive intelligence and operational activity within all four forces. It works in partnership with the North East Counter Terrorism Unit (NECTU) and the National Crime Agency (NCA). The RCU also provides intelligence support to Regional and Force Tasked Covert Operations.

The RCU acts as conduit between forces and the NCA National Confidential Unit (NCU) through a process known as Commissioning Covert Services (CCS).  Commissioning Covert Services (CCS) is about making the most effective use of covert opportunities. It is a process devised to assist with the most serious and challenging investigations where local covert activities have failed to resolve intelligence gaps. This process will provide a connection between local, regional and national assets in a more formal manner.

The CCS process aims to improve the tasking of suitable covert methods while maintaining operational security of the actual methods used. The RCU Manager provides the role of Covert Tactical Advisor (CTA) to any SIO where intelligence gaps or operational problems can be discussed by the widest possible range of covert advisers, who will be brought to bear on examining the problem and finding a solution.