Scotland Yard to root out 'bent' officers

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The Independent Online
Scotland Yard is to use undercover detectives to target suspected "bent" police officers in an anti-corruption initiative announced yesterday.

The move was outlined in the Metropolitan Police's strategy for the millennium, which also stated that the role of bobbies on the beat would become a "specialist" function to recognise its importance. Traffic wardens were also identified as a group that could provide a "patrol" function in the future.

Concern that some corrupt officers could be escaping detection will lead to a reorganisation of the complaints pro- cedures and the introduction of more "pro-active" investigations. This will include officers using covert methods, including phone taps, against suspects and obtaining tip offs from underworld informers.

Sir Paul Condon, the Police Commissioner, said: "We want the small number of the people who are corrupt to be in constant fear of exposure."

Under the five-year plan, routine complaints about police will be handled by area units rather than the 40-strong central Complaints Investigation Bureau. This will free up time for the CIB to investigate suspected corrupt officers.

The Metropolitan Police is still reeling from the imprisonment earlier this year of John Donald, a senior drugs squad detective, who was exposed by the BBC for selling information to criminals.

Another part of the police's openness and accountability to the public would be extending the trials of closed-circuit television systems in police stations.

The plan also places emphasis on making better use of patrol officers by giving them spe- cific tasks, and using performance indicators to ensure they were used to maximum effect.

Sir Paul made recruitment of officers from ethnic communities a priority. There are currently about 800 black or Asian officers in London - about 2.5 per cent of the total - and Sir Paul wants the figure to exceed 1,000 within three years.