Thursday 18 January 2018

Scotland Yard police officer arrested in News Corporation payments probe

David Wilcock

A serving Metropolitan Police officer was arrested by detectives investigating allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials by journalists.

The 33-year-old man, who works in Scotland Yard's Specialist Crime and Operations unit, was arrested at his home in Barnet, north London at 5.45am on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, the force said.

He is the 59th person to be arrested by officers working on Operation Elveden, the inquiry into alleged inappropriate payments.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the officer was being interviewed at a north London police station and his home is being searched.

"Today's arrest is the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee," he said.

"It relates to suspected payments to a police officer and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."

The police officer is the second person arrested this week by officers working on Elveden.

A 42-year-old prison officer was arrested and bailed on Monday after being arrested at his home in Sittingbourne, Kent, on suspicion of conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office.

Of those arrested under Elveden, eight people have faced, or will face, court proceedings and two - a retired police officer and a former journalist - have been told they will face no further action.

Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that ex-Metropolitan Police constable Paul Flattley and The Sun's defence editor Virginia Wheeler will face a charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

It is alleged that the officer was paid at least £4,000 in cheques and £2,450 in cash in exchange for information.

Allegations have also been made against former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, 44, Sun chief reporter John Kay, 69, and Ministry of Defence employee Bettina Jordan-Barber, 39.

It is alleged that Brooks, from Oxfordshire, and Kay, from north west London, conspired to pay Jordan-Barber, from Shrivenham, near Swindon, around £100,000 for information.

Prime Minister David Cameron's former spin doctor Andy Coulson and former News of the World royal correspondent Clive Goodman are charged with conspiracy to pay for information including a royal phone directory known as the "Green Book".

All five are due to appear at the Old Bailey for a plea hearing on March 8.

In another case, Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, was found guilty of misconduct in public office earlier this month for offering to sell information to the News of the World.

She is due to be sentenced at the Old Bailey today.

Operation Elveden is being run alongside two other police investigations.

Operation Weeting, an inquiry into alleged phone hacking, has seen 26 arrests, and Operation Tuleta, an investigation into computer hacking and other privacy breaches, has seen 19.

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