Prison officers 'took illegal payments'
Officers at high-security prisons allegedly took illegal payments from journalists working for Mirror, Express and News International titles, the head of the Met's hacking probe has claimed.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers told the Leveson Inquiry the force's investigation had widened to include staff from the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Daily Star, and claimed a number of public officials had allegedly received payments from more than one newspaper.
She revealed details of one prison officer who had received payments from News International, Trinity Mirror and Express Newspapers between April 2010 and June 2011 totalling £35,000.
Stories possibly linked to the payments revealed "very limited material of genuine public interest", she said.
She told the Inquiry that 41 people had been arrested, including journalists from a number of titles, under Operation Elvedon – the probe into alleged corrupt payments to public officials.
However Ms Akers claimed there had been a change in culture and practice at News International following the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
Asked if it was right to conclude there had been a “change in culture, practice and approach” at the company, which had now decided to “come clean” over hacking, Ms Akers said: “Yes, I don’t disagree with any of that."
The Deputy Assistant Commissioner revealed that 2615 people had been contacted by the force about hacking, of which over 700 were “likely to be victims of hacking”.
15 journalists have been arrested and 12 are on bail under the Operation Weeting investigation, of which 11 are due to return to answer bail at various police stations tomorrow, she said.