Four Sun journalists held over payments to police

Arrests of existing and former senior staff are linked to information passed to Scotland Yard by employers News International

Scotland Yard detectives were last night questioning four Sun journalists, together with a serving police officer, in connection with a major corruption inquiry. The five were arrested yesterday at addresses in London and Essex in the largest police raid involving News International journalists.

The four journalists arrested include Mike Sullivan, the Sun's long-serving crime editor, Fergus Shanahan, the newspaper's executive editor, Chris Pharo, a senior news editor, and Graham Dudman, its former managing editor. The police officer , believed to be a member of the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Policing Command, was arrested while on duty at a central London police station. All were arrested on suspicion of corruption, misconduct in public office and conspiracy in relation to both offences.

The offices of the newspaper at Wapping in east London were also searched as police sought evidence about its news-gathering methods. Police stressed the arrests were not about "seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately".

The arrests were part of Operation Elveden, which is investigating the relationship between police and the press. Yesterday's arrests were said to concern "suspected payments to police officers". Operation Elveden was launched as the phone-hacking scandal erupted last July but these latest arrests are not connected to phone hacking.

Last November, police arrested Jamie Pyatt, an experienced Sun reporter, in connection with separate corruption allegations.

The latest arrests are understood to have followed information passed to Scotland Yard by News International itself. News Corporation, the parent company of News International which owns The Sun and The Times, said yesterday that the company had "commissioned [its] management and standards committee (MSC) to undertake a review of all News International titles, regardless of cost, and to proactively co-operate with law enforcement and other authorities if potentially relevant information arose at those titles. As a result of that review, which is ongoing, the MSC provided information to the Elveden investigation which led to arrests." It is understood the company passed on internal emails and other financial information.

The standards committee, which is investigating journalistic practices at other News International titles, has provoked widespread anger among journalists at Wapping. Several have protested strongly and warned that morale has been undermined.

Tom Mockridge, News International's chief executive, said in an internal email sent to staff yesterday that the committee's investigation was ongoing. He added: "We are determined that News International will emerge a stronger and more trusted organisation."

The arrests yesterday mean that 13 people have been taken into custody, including two former editors of The News of the World, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson.

Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is overseeing Operation Elveden, said: "It will be clear from today's events this investigation is following the evidence. I am satisfied with the strenuous efforts being made to identify police officers who may have taken corrupt payments."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence