Agent Provocateur, sometimes also referred to as inciting agent, is an individual, who works for the police or some other powerful agency and is usually hired to provoke the target to involve in an illegal or criminal act. In short, an Agent Provocateur intends to harm other by the means of provocation on enticement.
Usually, these agents are hired by the police, or are police officers themselves, in order to collect evidence against an individual or an entity. These agents usually create an environment, where the target is more likely to commit a crime or an illegal activity.
These agents can also be hired by a political group in order to infiltrate and provoke the opponent. If the opposite party takes an illegal step, the act is made public, which automatically makes the other party strong. However, if the provocateur is a major reason for any such crime, the law of entrapment might be applicable.
This has been a common practice for people around the world. In 2004, the police of New York City was accused of being the agent provocateur during the upheaval against Republican National Convention. Later, during 2008, Denver police was accused of a similar provocation against Democratic National Convention.
There is a huge list of examples of agent provocateurs in the Europe. Sir John Retcliffe was an agent provocateur, reportedly for the Prussian police. Father Gapon and Yevno Azef were too of the same profession.