London

'Prosecute Met officers over NoW pay': Boris Johnson

Any Metropolitan Police officer found to have taken money from the News of the World should be prosecuted, London mayor Boris Johnson has said.

Mr Johnson said the police watchdog must hold the Met to account over the "disgraceful, disreputable episode".

The comments come after Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said e-mails allegedly showed officers received payments from the newspaper.

The mayor said it was "not a matter of pride" that his phone was also hacked.

Speaking to Vanessa Feltz on BBC London 94.9, the mayor described the News of the World hacking scandal as an "appalling episode" and said the closure of the Sunday newspaper was "tragic".

Police 'reputation contaminated'

Mr Johnson said: "It is not a matter of particular pride. It just so happened that I was one of the first to be alerted by the police, they certainly had evidence that my phone had been hacked."

The mayor said: "There's got to be an investigation led by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into this whole aspect of police collusion with the News of the World or possibly with any of the other papers.

"And if it is true that officers had been taking money... that is corruption. They need to find the culprits, they need to prosecute them as fast as possible, and they need to sack them."

He added: "It's got to be cleared up because there are thousands and thousands of men and women in the Metropolitan Police Service who feel a little bit sick at heart about what has happened, feel that they must be under suspicion, a little bit doubtful about how the public are looking at them, and that is completely wrong.

"It would be very very sad if their reputation was contaminated by what has happened."

Previously Sir Paul also warned that "anyone identified of wrongdoing" as part of the inquiry "can expect the full weight of disciplinary measures and, if appropriate, action through the criminal courts".

On Thursday News International, owners of the News of the World, announced the paper was closing for good in the wake of the scandal, with its last edition being published on Sunday.

Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) chair Kit Malthouse said Sir Paul had assured him that had he not seen any evidence requiring referral to the MPA in respect of any senior officer.

"The MPA has an important governance role to play where the conduct of senior officers is concerned and we will continue to be briefed as the investigation proceeds," Mr Malthouse added.

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