Warning for police squad

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GANGSTERS may try to use corrupt police officers to infiltrate the new National Crime Squad, the force's director general warned yesterday, writes Jason Bennetto.

Speaking on the eve of the squad's launch, Roy Penrose said that gangs had in the past used disgraced officers to gain inside information on the activities of regional crime units.

Mr Penrose said special measures would be taken to weed out corruption among any of the 1,450 detectives in the force, which is the first national police squad. "I shall be absolutely ruthless in rooting them out," he said.

The NCS will take over from six regional crime squads in England and Wales and will target national and international organised crime. It will be overseen by its own service authority and will work in partnership with the information-gathering organisation, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, which today gains its independence from the Home Office.