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Tuesday, January 27, 1998 Published at 12:13 GMT


Corruption probe targets Flying Squad
image: [ The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon ]
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon

BBC correspondent Chris Legard reports on the latest investigation into alleged police corruption (1'54")
Twelve London detectives from the capital's Flying Squad have been suspended following a series of raids by officers investigating corruption.

Dozens of police searched the homes and a workplace of 19 detectives - 14 still serving and five retired - who ranged in rank from detective constable to detective chief inspector.

The Flying Squad, nicknamed The Sweeney, handles serious criminal investigations in London such as armed robbery. Sir Paul Condon, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has publicly declared war on corrupt officers, although he says they are a small minority.

He has also called for a new system to enable corrupt police to be dealt with more quickly.

Raids follow three years of investigation

Documents were seized during the operation just before 6am, but nobody was arrested, a Scotland Yard spokeswoman said.

It followed three years of investigations into the activities of the Flying Squad based in Walthamstow, east London.

[ image:  ]
"There may be further suspensions," Scotland Yard said but admitted it was limited in the action it could take against the retired officers. The raids, at homes in London and the Home Counties, were carried out by the Metropolitan Police's Complaints Investigations Bureau.

The anti-corruption branch is currently investigating a criminal's claims that squad officers helped themselves to 350,000 from an armed raid he carried out.

Suspect officers targeted like criminals

Other allegations being investigated include the bribing of officers, the payment of rewards to people who are not entitled to them, and other bribes to officers for a range of favours, including taking confidential data from the Police National Computer.

The suspect officers are being targeted in the same way as career criminals by using surveillance, bugging devices and hidden videos.

The Metropolitan Police Federation, the union body for police officers in London, said it was concerned about the reputations of innocent officers implicated in the investigation. Pc Bob Elder, its vice-chairman, said: "The thing we are concerned about is that there is no implied guilt." He said the federation believed the number of corrupt officers was nowhere near" the 250 initially suggested by Sir Paul.

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