New Unit to Target Prison Corruption

Prison staff who smuggle drugs into jails or have affairs with inmates will be targeted in a new anti-corruption drive.

Ministers have established a specialist unit to root out activity that causes “chaos” and violence behind bars.

The taskforce, which began work earlier this month, aims to “proactively pursue” those suspected of corruption in prison and probation services in England and Wales.

Justice Secretary David Gauke said: “Our prison staff are overwhelmingly dedicated and honest and do their best to instil safety and order in our jails.

“We have seen from recent criminal prosecutions, however, that a small minority continue to engage in corrupt behaviour in our prisons – damaging both the integrity of the system and their profession.

“This unit underlines our determination to stamp out criminality in prison in all its forms and will make sure we are closing the net on the individuals driving this, allowing the focus to be on safety and rehabilitation and ultimately keeping the public safer.”

The Counter Corruption Unit is comprised of 29 personnel, including expert intelligence analysts, split into a national team and five regional teams.

Officials emphasised that the taskforce will serve to protect the vast majority of prison and probation staff who are honest and hard-working.

It will take action to “counter the chaos and violence caused by the few who smuggle illicit items into our jails or impede our ability to supervise offenders in the community effectively”, the Ministry of Justice said.

Potential examples of corruption the teams could investigate include cases where staff have inappropriate relationships with prisoners or bring in drugs and other banned items for individual inmates or crime gangs.

The taskforce will work with law enforcement agencies to investigate and disrupt criminality and bring more prosecutions against those “causing harm” behind bars, the MoJ said.

The unit has been set four main aims – to protect against corruption by building an “open and resilient organisation”; prevent people from engaging in corrupt activity, strengthening professional integrity; to pursue and punish those involved in corruption; and to prepare prisons to minimise the impact of corruption when it occurs.

Police will also join the effort as authorities attempt to stop “criminal kingpins” using corruption to continue their illegal activity from their jail cells.

It is the latest in a series of moves designed to help stabilise the prison system after much of the estate was hit by surging levels of violence, drug use and self-harm.

Stopping the flow of contraband into jails is seen as a key plank of efforts to tackle the safety crisis.

In 2017/18, there were 13,119 incidents where drugs were found in prisons in England and Wales – an increase of 23% compared with the previous 12 months.

Mobile phone finds also went up, by 15%, to 10,643.

In January, a senior police officer told the BBC he “strongly suspects” gangs are getting their associates or family members jobs in the prison service with the intention of smuggling contraband in, although it was difficult to prove.

Appearing at the House of Lords Constitution Committee earlier this week, Mr Gauke emphasised the need to stop inexperienced officers being manipulated and entrapped by “sophisticated” criminal gangs.

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook,  writes:

The reality is that our prison system today helps manufacture its own corruption, the new Offender Management in Custody – OMiC – model being introduced now and fully operational by September is a double-edged sword.

On one hand it ensures prison officers now fully interact with prisoners in key worker roles, which is welcome and necessary, but equally with lots of inexperienced staff that interaction can lead to the professional line being crossed almost imperceptibly and that is the danger area.

Prison staff must remain alert, must know where that line is at all times, and have the skills to recognise when they are approaching it in their relationships with prisoners, and possess the ability to do something about it.

If they don’t then the chances are at some point the CCU will catch up with them and they’ll find they’re quickly on the wrong side of the cell door themselves.

Personally I would like to see an Amnesty for prison officers involved in corruption, they represent an intelligence goldmine. That said, although it makes a lot of sense my information is that, politically, its unsellable.

That is a shame, if Ministers had more courage to implement an amnesty it would provide the CCU with a store of real-time intelligence and allow for the retention of staff who were likely caught up in corruption due to their inexperience and interaction with highly sophisticated criminals.

[View: Prison Corruption Tables 2013-2018/]

[See: New Counter Corruption Unit]


Source: MOJ, London, Issued: May 2019

Table 1) The total number of prison staff investigated for misconduct by year, since 2014, broken down by type of misconduct
Table 2) The total number of prison staff dismissed for misconduct by year, since 2014, broken down by type of misconduct
Table 3) The total number of prison staff dismissed for inappropriate relationship with a prisoner / ex-prisoner broken down by gender of prison officer
Table 1:
Prison staff who were subject to investigations by allegation,  2013/14 to 2017/18
2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Abuse of Sick Leave 49 54 20 16 18
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards prisoners 73 41 35 40 43
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards staff 95 64 91 79 47
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards the public / visitors 5 6 12 9 6
Action or negligence which caused / contributes to the loss, damage or injury to the Prison Service / individuals 73 56 43 44 42
Asleep on duty 16 19 23 21 27
Assault / unnecessary use of force on a prisoner 171 109 164 156 118
Assault on staff 19 10 12 20 8
Assault on the public / visitor 13 10 ~ 9 6
Breach of flexible working procedures 12 8 7 4 ~
Breach of security 508 446 449 461 406
Bringing discredit on the Prison Service 95 94 65 77 90
Bullying / Harassment 91 94 88 64 67
Corruption 7 9 6 14 11
Criminal Conviction 33 23 23 20 17
Exploitation of working relationships 9 5 12 4 7
Failure to obey a lawful and reasonable order or written instruction 116 156 92 101 61
Failure to report misconduct by others 22 36 8 12 9
Financial affairs 3 5 6 ~ ~
Fraud 50 35 44 52 19
Inappropriate relationship with a prisoner / ex-prisoner 36 34 35 38 31
Inappropriate relationship with a prisoners visitor ~ ~ ~ 4 ~
Making / Prompting false statements 71 51 58 53 37
Membership of a racist organisation ~ ~ ~ ~ 0
Misuse of IT 27 29 19 19 15
Negligence likely to endanger the security of an establishment / escape of a prisoner 61 74 69 56 27
Performance of duties 398 367 407 342 398
Police caution 15 9 9 9 11
Poor timekeeping 3 4 8 6 3
Racial harassment 17 30 17 14 9
Sexual harassment / assault 34 14 30 23 29
Theft / Fraud 20 24 25 11 13
Trafficking 14 7 17 15 18
Unauthorised absence ( AWOL) or lateness 66 69 47 50 18
Unauthorised disclosure of official information 22 19 12 11 10
Undefined 4 ~ 3 ~ ~
Undertaking secondary employment without permission 16 10 9 6 7
Unfit for duty through drink / drugs 10 9 11 14 7
Unprofessional conduct 328 313 346 322 264
Total2  2,605  2,344  2,326  2,199  1,902
Total if each member of staff only counted once2  1,512  1,362  1,368  1,288  1,067
Prison Staff relates to anyone working in HM Prison Service or the Youth Custody Service (YCS). Therefore it excludes anyone working in HQ or National Probation Service.
Staff subject to at least one investigation that was concluded during the year. If an individual had multiple charges then they will be counted multiple times, one for each charge. Therefore the total if each member of staff is only counted once is included as well at the bottom of the table
~ denotes suppressed values of 2 or fewer or other values which would allow values of 2 or fewer to be derived by subtraction. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2018.
Table 2: Prison staff dismissed after conduct and discipline action by charge type, for years 2013/14 to 2017/18
2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Abuse of Sick Leave 5 6 3 ~ ~
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards prisoners 5 5 4 3 ~
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards staff 9 3 ~ ~ 7
Abusive Language / Behaviour towards the public / visitors ~ ~ ~ 0 ~
Asleep on Duty ~ ~ 4 5 7
Assault / unnecessary use of force on a prisoner 13 13 11 16 15
Assault on Staff 0 ~ ~ ~ ~
Assault on the Public/ Visitor ~ 0 0 ~ ~
Breach of flexible working procedures 0 ~ ~ ~ ~
Breach of security 21 12 13 20 18
Bringing discredit on HMPPS 11 9 14 17 23
Bullying/Harassment 5 ~ 3 3 4
Corruption 3 0 0 ~ ~
Criminal Conviction 14 17 15 11 6
Exploitation of Working relationships ~ 0 3 0 0
Fail to report misconduct by others 3 ~ ~ ~ ~
Failure to follow order/instruction ~ 8 6 6 ~
Financial Affairs ~ ~ ~ ~ 0
Fraud 6 8 8 6 4
Inappropriate relationship with a prisoner / ex-prisoner 11 9 9 3 7
Inappropriate relationship with a prisoner Visitor 0 0 0 ~ ~
Making/Promoting False Statements 6 6 8 3 5
Membership of a racist organisation ~ 0 0 0 0
Misuse of IT 3 ~ 0 0 ~
Negligence – Loss/Damage to HMPPS/Individual 3 ~ ~ 0 ~
Negligence – Security est./escape of Prisoner ~ ~ 3 ~ 0
Performance of Duties 17 8 12 16 17
Police Caution ~ ~ ~ 5 ~
Poor Time Keeping 0 0 ~ 3 0
Racial Harassment 3 ~ ~ ~ 0
Sexual Harassment/assault 7 3 ~ 3 6
Theft 3 3 5 0 0
Trafficking 5 0 4 5 5
Unauthorised absence (AWOL) or Lateness 7 8 4 5 0
Unauthorised disclosure of information ~ ~ 5 ~ 0
Undertaking secondary employment W/O Permission 0 ~ ~ 0 0
Unfit for Duty through Drink/Drugs ~ ~ ~ 5 0
unknown 0 0 0 0 ~
Unprofessional Conduct 34 32 28 22 50
Total4  208  170  181  176  196
Total if each member of staff only counted once4  129  107  113  105  113
Prison Staff relates to anyone working in HM Prison Service or the Youth Custody Service (YCS). Therefore it excludes anyone working in HQ or National Probation Service.
Information on the outcomes of any appeal is not included.
Conduct and discipline cases are defined as where a penalty has been imposed on a member of HMPPS staff for a reason of conduct
Staff subject to at least one conduct and discipline that was concluded during the year. If an individual had multiple charges then they will be counted multiple times, one for each charge.Therefore the total if each member of staff is only counted once is included as well at the bottom of the table
~ denotes suppressed values of 2 or fewer or other values which would allow values of 2 or fewer to be derived by subtraction. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2018.
Table 3: Prison staff dismissed for inappropriate relationship with a prisoner / ex-prisoner broken down by gender of prison staff member, for years 2013/14 to 2017/18
2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17 2017/18
Male 6 5 ~ 0 3
Female 5 4 ~ 3 4
Prison Staff relates to anyone working in HM Prison Service or the Youth Custody Service (YCS). Therefore it will not relate to anyone working in HQ or National Probation Service.
Information on the outcomes of any appeal is not included.
~ denotes suppressed values of 2 or fewer or other values which would allow values of 2 or fewer to be derived by subtraction. Low numbers are suppressed to prevent disclosure in accordance with the Data Protection Act, 2018.

Prison Staff Caught Smuggling – Up 58%

The number of prison staff caught smuggling contraband items into jails in England and Wales has increased 58% since 2012, it has been reported.

More than 340 people have faced either disciplinary or judicial proceedings for bringing drugs, mobile phones or other banned items into prisons in the last six years, according to The Observer.

The paper’s data, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act from the Ministry of Justice, showed that the year with the highest number of staff caught was 2017, where the figure stood at 71. This compares to 45 in 2012.

Centre for Social Justice director Andy Cook told The Observer the figures were “deeply concerning” and said ministers needed to “get a grip”.

He added: “Drugs are at the heart of this, fuelling violence, suicide and completely undermining the likelihood that prisoners will be able to turn their lives around.”

Drugs were found 35 times a day in prisons in England and Wales on average last year, while the number of finds has trebled since 2014, the paper said.

Corrupt Prison Officer Earned 40K From Stories


A News of the World reporter is facing jail after becoming the first journalist to be found guilty of paying a corrupt official for stories in the wake of Operation Elveden, the high-profile police investigation into newspapers – and it can only now be reported that a corrupt prison officer was also convicted earlier in the week.

The case revolved around the activities of prison officer Scott Chapman, 42, who made £40,000 from selling tips to various newspapers about James Bulger killer Jon Venables after he was sent back to prison in 2010 for child porn offences.

The NotW journalist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted on Wednesday of conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office in relation to two stories following the trial at the Old Bailey.

Chapman and his ex-partner Lynn Gaffney, 40, were also convicted of misconduct in a public office, it can now be reported.

But co-defendant Daily Star Sunday reporter Tom Savage, who only knew Chapman as the anonymous source Adam, was cleared of wrong-doing.

In a courtroom packed with journalists and supporters, there were cheers and shouts of “yes” as Savage, 37, was found not guilty, followed by stunned silence as the jury foreman read out the verdict on the second reporter.

Chapman and the NotW reporter were given conditional bail until they are sentenced by judge Charles Wide on a date to be fixed.

The judge warned Chapman that he should expect his jail term to be counted in years, rather than months.

He told the NotW reporter he was conscious that the conviction was on the basis of just two of the stories that Chapman sold but he warned the journalist to be “under no illusions”.

To date, despite the conviction of public officers, the NotW journalist is the first to be found guilty of paying corrupt officials since police launched its multimillion-pound investigation into newspapers in 2011.

During the trial, the court heard that Chapman first contacted the Sun in 2010 after Venables was sent back to jail.

He went on to sell stories to a host of other newspapers including the NotW and the Daily Star Sunday, using Gaffney’s bank account to channel payments in exchange for a third cut of his earnings.

The tabloids then published a string of articles about Venables’ life behind bars which ranged from his efforts to lose weight to his love of Harry Potter books.

A security chief from the prison where he worked told the court that Chapman’s leaks had a “catastrophic” effect on the operation of the prison and left Venables feeling “very suspicious” of staff charged with his care.

But under cross-examination, it emerged that she had formed that view from secret talks with Venables in her search for the source.

The fact that she did not file a report on any of the meetings was a “serious breach of duty”, according to the defence.

In his evidence, Chapman said he first contacted the Sun about Venables because he was unhappy about the way he was given special treatment and then turned to other newspapers in an attempt to stop his Sun contact “pestering” him.

He told jurors he would send images of his prison ID card and a wage slip as confirmation to journalists, although there was no evidence he sent it to Savage.

But prosecutor Jonathan Rees QC queried the public interest of stories he described as “drivel” and “tittle tattle”, and asked Chapman: “Is it important that Jon Venables likes Harry Potter?”

In turn, Savage denied knowing the identity of his source, saying he used Chapman’s knowledge of Venables’ new name as a codeword to check his credibility.

He told the court it never occurred to him that he was in fact a serving prison officer but, if he had known, it would not have mattered “in the slightest”.

The NotW journalist also denied knowing who Chapman was or receiving images of his ID card and wage slip, despite an email to a NotW boss which suggested the opposite.

The defendant went on to insist that it was in the public interest that the newspaper exposed Venables’ “comfortable” lifestyle behind bars.

The journalist said: “This was a public interest story we were writing about Jon Venables, who abducted a two-year-old from a shopping centre, tortured and murdered him.

“He had been taken in by the Prison Service, given millions of pounds for a new identity, then repeat-offended and the Prison Service deal with it by making his life as comfortable as possible.”

Chapman, 42, and Gaffney, 40, of Corby, Northamptonshire, denied misconduct in a public office. Savage, 37, from south London, and the NotW reporter denied conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office.

For legal reasons, the convictions on Tuesday could not be reported until today.


Under their noses? 52kg of Cocaine Nicked From Police HQ!


A French police officer is facing preliminary charges relating to the disappearance of 116lb (52.6kg) of cocaine from Paris police headquarters’ evidence room.

Prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said the unidentified anti-narcotics officer faces charges including transport, possession and sale of narcotics and covering up a drug ring.

The cocaine has not been found. It had been held in a locked room at the Paris police headquarters, close to Notre Dame Cathedral, and was reported missing on July 31.

The suspect has denied the charges, according to French press reports. They said the cocaine has an estimated street value of 2 million euros (£1.6 million).

Two corrupt cops sacked


Two Nottinghamshire police officers have been sacked after allowing a meeting between a prisoner and his girlfriend while he was being questioned.

The force said the officers had “facilitated a meeting between a prisoner and his girlfriend while questioning him about further crimes, and then lied about their actions”.

The men, aged 52 and 54, who worked at Nottingham’s Bridewell station, were dismissed for gross misconduct.

Both officers subsequently lodged an appeal against their dismissal, but the original decision has now been upheld.

In a statement confirming the outcome of the appeal, Nottinghamshire Police said: “An internal investigation was launched after questions were raised about unauthorised contact between the prisoner and his partner.

“Both officers admitted breaching standards of honesty and integrity and were also found to have committed discreditable conduct.”

Two Thieving Cops face Jail

Det Sgt Phillips (L), Det Con Evans (R)
Det Sgt Phillips (L), Det Con Evans (R)

Two senior policemen from Neath in South Wales are facing jail after being caught stealing in a sting operation at a fake “crime scene” – by their own colleagues.

Det Sgt Stephen Phillips and Det Con Jason Evans were filmed on secret cameras taking cash and biro pens planted in the sting house.

A court heard how Phillips, 45, was caught taking £250 when he was called to a house under criminal investigation – not realising it was a set-up by other police officers.

Evans, 44, was also videoed pocketing two pens while he carried out the investigation using a search warrant at the same time.

The court heard the officers thought they were investigating a burglary, but were set up as part of “trust exercise” by suspicious police chiefs.

A team of officers including Evans and Phillips were sent to the house which was filled with “evidence” including Viagra, bags, mobile phones, watches and £21,647 of cash.

But Phillips and Evans did not realise the property had been fitted with hidden cameras and covert microphones – and the woman posing as a resident was an undercover detective.

The pair – who are suspended by South Wales Police – were warned they faced custody after admitting theft.

Judge Bodfan Jenkins told them: “There can be few examples of a graver breach of trust.

“This is a gross breach of trust in relation to the force and what the public expect from the police.

“It’s not about the cost, it’s about the breach of trust and at first blush it appears to me that this is a custody case.”

The officers, who are based in Neath, were part of a team investigating organised crime.

The pair were investigated by South Wales Police’s corruption unit for theft and misconduct.

Cardiff magistrates court heard how the force decided to carry out an “intelligence led integrity test” on the pair.

They pretended they were asked by Greater Manchester Police to investigate a property allegedly linked to a series of burglaries.

Prosecutor David Roberts said: “Phillips was filmed putting his hand inside a coat pocket and finding £240.

“He removes his hand and leaves the scene – but then returns 20 seconds later when he removes the cash and places it in his pocket.”

Phillips also took £10 from a bedside table. But he did not realise all the notes had been marked with invisible ink and the serial numbers recorded.

Evans was filmed going into the bedroom and taking two pens during the raid in March this year.

The pair then drove up the M5 to meet plain clothes officers from Greater Manchester Police at a service station.

While waiting for the meet Phillips spent £60 of the money on a Monopoly-themed gambling machine.

As they drove back to South Wales they were pulled over by a marked police car and arrested by members of their force’s Professional Standards department.

The court heard Phillips, of Skewen, Neath, claimed he was going to return the money to the woman who lived at the house.

Evans, of Cilfrew, Neath, admitted stealing the pens while he was interviewed under caution.

The pair both pleaded guilty to theft. They were given unconditional bail while pre-sentence reports are prepared.

Phillips and Evans have 26 and 19 years service to their names respectively, and will face misconduct proceedings in due course according to South Wales Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Richard Lewis said: “Police officers take a vow to serve the public and uphold the law with fairness, integrity and impartiality. Any who fall short of those standards or who abuse their position, will face disciplinary action, the prospect of criminal prosecution and dismissal.

“As soon as the officers were suspected of acting improperly, an investigation, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, was launched which culminated in the dedicated integrity test and their subsequent arrest and suspension.”

“I want to reassure the public that we take this type of behaviour very seriously and continue to work hard to root out any corrupt officers and staff.”

Corrupt ‘Fit-Up’ Cop Jailed


A former police officer who accepted a bribe to plant a shotgun in a bid to frame a man has been jailed for four years, police said.

Daniel Withnell, 31, was approached by Claire Smethurst to put the weapon in the man’s car for £19,000 between September 30 and October 30 last year.

He admitted two counts of misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice at an earlier hearing and was today jailed at Manchester Crown Court.

Withnell, of Cranark Close in Bolton, also sent a fake tip-off by text to an officer on March 16, in which he claimed a hitman had been offered money to kill him.

He also used his position to access the force’s database to research a money laundering investigation, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Smethurst, 48, of Westhoughton, Bolton, was found guilty of of perverting the course and was given a 15 month suspended sentence for her role in the plot at the same court on October 9, the force added.

Assistant Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “The conduct of former DC Daniel Withnell fell well short of what is expected of a police officer.

“Police officers, staff and the communities of Greater Manchester would be appalled by his actions, which detract from the hard work that our officers and staff do on a daily basis.

“GMP expects the very highest standards of all its officers and staff. They should be honest and act with integrity and should not compromise or abuse their position.

“As soon as this conduct came to light, the Professional Standards Branch carried out a thorough investigation, supervised by the IPCC and as a result Mr Withnell has been convicted of two counts of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice and Ms Smethurst has been convicted of perverting the course of justice.”

Mark Leech, editor of Converse the national newspaper for prisoners in England and Wales said Withnell faced a dangerous time in jail.

“Going to jail as a former cop is dangerous at any time, but going to jail as a former cop jailed for trying to fit up an innocent man and send him to jail marks Withnell out as a man with a price on his head.

“Withnell is the worst kind of corrupt cop, a loathsome individual who was willing to sacrifice the freedom of an innocent man in exchange for cash – a despicable low life whose past criminal arrests and convictions should now be the subject of review lest he has done this before – and got away with it.”

Corrupt cop jailed


A former police sergeant has been jailed for 10 months for trying to sell a story about celebrity Katie Price’s daughter to the News of the World.

James Bowes contacted the now defunct Sunday tabloid newspaper and told a journalist that police child protection officers had gone to the home of Price’s former husband Peter Andre in Brighton.

This followed a report that the couple’s daughter, Princess Tiaamii, then aged two, had been injured in 2010, the Old Bailey heard.

The team found no untoward injuries to the child and the matter was not taken further, the court was told.

But Bowes, who worked for in Brighton for Sussex Police, emailed the newspaper asking for money for the information.

The story was printed with information from another source and Bowes was never paid.

Bowes, 30, from Steyning, West Sussex, pleaded guilty last month to misconduct in public office.

The court heard that he passed information to the Sun newspaper about a child who was bitten by a fox and was paid £500.

And he passed on details of a psychic who had contacted police about a search for bodies in two former Brighton homes in 2010 of serial killer Peter Tobin, but was not paid.

Bowes was charged by officers from Operation Elveden, the Metropolitan Police investigation into police corruption.

Mr Justice Fulford told Bowes: “You have made available to the press confidential information concerning children.

“Your explanation is that it was a foolish attempt by you to be in some part associated with notorious or high-profile cases.”

Bowes had abused his position of trust and undermined the relationship the police had with the public.

Stephen Wedd, defending, said Bowes had now given £500 to the Crimestoppers charity, and had been dismissed by Sussex Police.

Mark Bryant-Heron, prosecuting, told the court that Bowes had access to the police computer to get information about the three reports in 2010.

Andre and Price had separated and there was a report of injuries to the couple’s daughter.

“The child protection team established no untoward injuries,” said Mr Bryant-Heron.

The following day Bowes emailed the News of the World news desk but was told that the newspaper already had the information.

“Clearly, the News of the World had access to other sources for information,” he added.

Bowes had emailed the Sun after a fox attacked a child at a birthday party and was paid after providing the contact details of the parents.

The father told the court he had to move his family away from their home until the fuss died down after the story was printed.

He also contacted the newspaper about the psychic who was later contacted by a journalist.

No story was published and Bowes was not paid, but the psychic said she had lost confidence in the police.

Mr Bryant-Heron told the court the child protection team “established very quickly that there were no bruises or injuries” to Tiaamii.

He said: “Peter Andre has made a statement saying he was hurt and embarrassed by the story.”


A retired Scotland Yard officer arrested by officers investigating inappropriate payments from journalists has been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The 57-year-old – who served on the force’s command that defends Britain against terror – was held on suspicion of misconduct in a public office, relating to the phone-hacking scandal.

Officers from Operation Elveden swooped on his Surrey home during a dawn raid before taking him into custody and conducting a search at the property.

The suspect, who became the 27th person arrested under Elveden after information was provided to police by News Corporation’s management standards committee, was released and bailed to a date in August, Scotland Yard said.

He worked as part of the force’s Specialist Operations command, which has a host of security responsibilities from providing armed protection services for ministers and the Royal Family to counter-terrorism intelligence gathering.

The inquiry into allegations of inappropriate payments to police and public officials runs alongside the force’s Operation Weeting investigation into mobile phone interceptions.

The arrest comes a fortnight after The Sun’s royal editor, Duncan Larcombe, was arrested along with a 42-year-old former member of the armed forces and a 38-year-old woman as part of the same inquiry.