Thursday, December 14, 2017

U.K. hacking scandal claims third senior police figure

LONDON — Scotland Yard's communications chief resigned Thursday, the third senior police figure to part with his job over the force's failure to come to grips with Britain's phone hacking scandal.

Dick Fedorcio stepped down after the police force decided he would face disciplinary proceedings over a contract awarded to a former executive at Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct News of the World tabloid. The Independent Police Complaints Commission ruled that Fedorcio had to answer questions over the decision to hire Neil Wallis, the former News of the World executive later arrested on suspicion of breaking into voicemails.

New allegations of police impropriety emerged late Thursday when a British news station reported that a leaked document shows corrupt police officers helped private investigators working for organized crime gangs access and delete sensitive police intelligence records.

Channel 4 News reported it has seen a confidential Serious Organized Crime Agency report delivered to the Home Office in 2008 that describes activities of private investigators that threaten to "undermine the criminal justice system."

The broadcaster said the report found incidents of unauthorized access to details of criminal investigations, confidential locations of witnesses under police protection and attempts to determine informants' identities.

Channel 4 News said the report has been passed to the Leveson inquiry into police corruption and media ethics. A spokesman for the inquiry declined to comment.

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