`Zero tolerance' police investigated

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The Independent Online
THE NUMBER of police officers being investigated for corruption in the force that piloted "zero tolerance" policing has risen to 46 - making it one of the biggest inquiries of its kind - it was announced yesterday.

The officers, most from Middlesbrough CID, face 321 complaints, including 223 allegations of criminal wrongdoing. Eight officers are suspended, including Detective Superintendent Ray Mallon, the former head of CID, who became known as "Robocop" for his tough approach to fighting crime. Det Supt Mallon was told on Monday that he was to receive an official warning after a second inquiry into whether he had been fiddling expenses. No further action is to be taken but his supporters claimed this investigation was purely a witch- hunt by officers desperate to convict him.

The main inquiry, known as Operation Lancet, is focused on the conduct of a hard core of Middlesbrough CID officers who are alleged to have been involved in trading drugs for information from criminals, and threatening and beating up suspects or potential informers.

The inquiry, which is being overseen by the Police Complaints Authority, is also looking at allegations that Det Supt Mallon passed information to the press and "alleged activity which could be construed as criminal".

Det Supt Mallon is to be interviewed next week - almost a year after he was first suspended.

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