Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Met chief urged to probe corruption

A leaked secret report looked into corruption at the Met in 2002
A leaked secret report looked into corruption at the Met in 2002

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will be asked to ensure that corruption no longer exists in the force after a confidential report into organised crime infiltrating Scotland Yard was leaked to a newspaper.

The Independent said organised criminals "were able to infiltrate Scotland Yard at will by bribing corrupt officers", according to the results of the secret internal report written in 2002.

It said the likes of "underworld king'' David Hunt were able to corrupt police and access sensitive information to help evade prosecution.

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz said he would be writing to Sir Bernard at the Met to "ensure that these allegations have been fully investigated and to confirm that he is satisfied that corruption no longer exists", the Independent said.

He told the newspaper said: "I am deeply concerned by the findings of this report. It is vital that the police have the utmost integrity.

"The public must be able to trust them to do their job and ensure justice prevails.

"The Met have made vast progress rooting out corruption in the force in the last 20 years but it would appear more may still need to be done."

The secret report said only a few of the corrupt police were convicted, but that the problem went to the heart of operations at Scotland Yard, with bent officers alleged to have fraternised with known criminal and informants.

It resulted in prosecutions being botched and investigations being compromised.

In a statement tonight, the Met said it is " determined to pursue corruption in all its forms and with all possible vigour".

It said: " The dedicated anti-corruption command (ACC), part of the Met's directorate of professional standards, pro-actively investigates any allegations or intelligence relating to either corrupt police officers and staff and those that may seek to corrupt our officers staff.

"All such allegations and intelligence are taken extremely seriously and any any lessons learnt from resulting investigations are used to further our efforts to reduce the likelihood of such offences occurring in the future.

"There is no complacency in the Met's determination to succeed in this task and the work of the officers and staff of the ACC is undertaken relentlessly and determinably, fully recognising that criminals who seek to corrupt our officers and staff will remain a threat to the work of the MPS, the criminal justice process and therefore a threat to public safety."

The report said notorious gangs were able to infiltrate the Met - including Hunt.

Last year the Sunday Times won a landmark libel action brought by Hunt, said to have been part of a major criminal family in north London, after the newspaper described him as an ''underworld king''.

Hunt claimed the May 2010 article - which the newspaper said was based on years of careful research - meant he was the head of a crime organisation who had been shown to be concerned with murder, drug trafficking and fraud.

Hunt's lawyers told London's High Court it was a libel of ''exceptional gravity'', and Hunt himself gave evidence that the allegations were ''heartbreaking'', had ''crucified'' him and impacted badly on his business relationships.

But Mr Justice Simon said he was satisfied that it was reasonable for the newspaper to describe Hunt as "a violent and dangerous criminal and the head of an organised crime group implicated in murder, drug trafficking and fraud".

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