Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Police watchdog probes Milly claims

The police watchdog is investigating claims a Surrey officer told the News of the World about the Milly Dowler investigation

The police watchdog is investigating claims that a Surrey Police officer gave information about the Milly Dowler murder probe to the News of the World.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it received a voluntary referral from the force about an allegation that an officer gave information to the newspaper in relation to the investigation into Milly's murder in 2002.

A statement said: "The IPCC has received a voluntary referral from Surrey Police regarding information they received alleging that a Surrey officer gave information to The News of the World in relation to the investigation into Milly Dowler's murder in 2002.

"A decision has been made that the IPCC will independently investigate. An IPCC Deputy Senior Investigator has been over at Surrey Police this morning to get more information about the case and will be writing to the Dowlers' solicitor at the family's request."

The probe comes just weeks after revelations that a detective was removed from the case for leaking information.

Last month Surrey Police confirmed the unnamed officer was "given words of advice" and permanently taken off the probe in 2002 for telling a friend, a retired police officer, details about the investigation.

At the time, a spokeswoman said there was no suggestion of any officer sharing information with the News of the World. She said a serving colleague reported the officer after they were told about the "inappropriate disclosure" by the person who had heard it.

Of the IPCC's announcement, the Dowler family's solicitor Mark Lewis said: "The Dowler family welcome the full investigation into what happened at the time of the initial inquiry into Milly's disappearance.

"It would not be appropriate to make any further comment at this stage."

News International would not comment, but a spokeswoman for Surrey Police said: "Surrey Police has referred a matter relating to the conduct of an officer involved in the Operation Ruby investigation to the IPCC."

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