29 Jan 2012

Police officer and journalists arrested over phone hacking inquiry

7:20 am on 29 January 2012

The police in London say they have arrested five people, including a police officer, on suspicion of corruption as part of an investigation into police bribery by a tabloid newspaper.

Scotland Yard said the men, aged 29 to 57, were arrested at addresses in London and Essex.

The 29-year-old, a serving officer in the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Policing Command, was arrested at his work - a central London police station.

The investigation is running parallel to a police inquiry into phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World.

The BBC reports it understands the arrested journalists are all former and current Sun newspaper staff: ex-deputy editor Fergus Shanahan, ex-managing editor Graham Dudman, crime editor Mike Sullivan and head of news Chris Pharo.

A dozen people have now been arrested in the bribery probe, although no-one has yet been charged.

Offices at News International in Wapping in London are being searched.

News Corporation and its management and standards committee (MSC) issued a statement following the arrests saying it had made a commitment last summer that unacceptable news gathering practices by individuals in the past would not be repeated.

An internal email from Tom Mockridge, the chief executive of News International, on Saturday told staff the company was providing legal support to those being interviewed by police, while officers were conducting a limited search at The Sun's offices, supervised by the MSC's lawyers.