Police consider payment probe

Scotland Yard is considering launching an investigation into illegal payments to police by newspapers following comments by the chief executive of News International.







Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said the Metropolitan Police was carrying out a "scoping exercise" into whether there were any grounds for beginning a criminal inquiry following remarks by former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks.



Mrs Brooks was editor of The Sun when she told the Culture, Media and Sport Committee in March 2003: "We have paid the police for information in the past."



She was responding to a question from Labour MP Chris Bryant about whether the News of the World, which she edited from May 2000 to January 2003, had ever given officers money for a story.



Ms Dick wrote to Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz yesterday in response to a question about the remit of the Met's research into claims newspapers had paid police for information.



She said Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons had been assigned "to conduct a scoping exercise to establish whether there are now any grounds for beginning a criminal investigation resulting from the comments made by Rebekah Brooks" in 2003.



Mrs Brooks, who became News International chief executive in September 2009, told the Home Affairs Committee this week she had no intention of giving the impression that she knew of any specific cases when she made her remarks.



She wrote to Mr Vaz: "As can be seen from the transcript, I was responding to a specific line of questioning on how newspapers get information.



"My intention was simply to comment generally on the widely held belief that payments had been made in the past to police officers.



"If, in doing so, I gave the impression that I had knowledge of any specific cases, I can assure you that this was not my intention."



News International declined to comment on Ms Dick's letter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower