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65-year-old woman held on suspicion of Official Secrets Act offence

The Metropolitan Police said the 65-year-old woman was arrested at an address in north London.

A 65-year-old woman contracted to carry out work for a Government department has been arrested on suspicion of an offence under the 106-year-old Official Secrets Act.

The woman was held in north London on Wednesday by officers from Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command, who were “acting upon intelligence received”, the Metropolitan Police said.

She was arrested on suspicion of an offence contrary to section 1 of the Official Secrets Act 1911, and detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

The woman is in custody at a south London police station, while officers are carrying out a search at an address in north London as part of the investigation.

A Met Police statement said: “A woman has been arrested at an address in north London on suspicion of an offence under the Official Secrets Act.

“The 65-year-old woman, who is contracted to carry out work for a Government department, was arrested on Wednesday September 27 by officers from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) acting upon intelligence received.”

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(Nick Ansell/PA)

The force has not identified the Government department, and no further details of the suspected offence have been given.

Arrests under the 1911 Act, which was drawn up prior to the First World War, are rare.

Section 1 is headed “penalties for spying” and covers activities that amount to an offence if they are carried out “for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State”.

A Government spokeswoman said: “An individual who was contracted to work for the Government was arrested today for an offence contrary to section 1 of the Official Secrets Act, 1911.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further as there is an ongoing police investigation.”

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