Saturday, February 27, 1999 Published at 02:30 GMT
Two senior police officers suspended
A major corruption investigation has begun after the suspension of police officers from two elite squads.
The head of the north east National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) and a detective sergeant from the National Crime Squad (NCS) have been suspended.
A team from an independent force are looking into what have been described as very serious allegations.
The inquiry is understood to be investigating several claims, according to The Guardian newspaper.
'Relations with informant' examined
It says the issue of relations with a key police informant is among those being examined.
This comes in the wake of Friday's criticisms of police connected with the Stephen Lawrence case. Police informants involved with the case inadvertently had their names revealed.
Officers from Greater Manchester police were called in several months ago to investigate the corruption allegations.
A police spokesman said that following the suspensions of Tony Blockley of the NCIS and the other officer, the inquiry would now focus on whether they had committed serious discliplinary offences.
Other suspensions 'unlikely'
Both men had been on secondment at the time and have now returned to their forces in Derby and South Yorkshire.
The National Crime Squad took over a regional force of detectives less than one year ago.
It is possible the investigation could affect more people, but a police source said it was unlikely other officers would be suspended.