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NEWS > 06 July 2007

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06 July 2007
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Metropolitan Police, UK

UK: Corrupt Cop Jailed For 15

A corrupt cop who leaked confidential information to a private eye in exchange for backhanders was jailed for 15 months today.

Paul Dennis teamed up with former colleague and decorated officer Owen Griffin in a "corrupt relationship" where he passed on highly sensitive information.

Detective Sergeant Dennis, 48, was working in the Police Protection Unit monitoring paedophiles and sex offenders in north London.

But he was also investing hours of public time and money illegally assisting Griffin by forwarding secrets, including details of police investigations.

At least one major operation was said to have been jeopardised because of the leaks.

Sentencing Dennis, a twice divorced father of three, to 15 months in jail at Southwark Crown Court, Judge David Higgins called his actions "a gross breach of trust" and an attack on the British public.

He said: "The conduct was deplorable, disgraceful and deeply antisocial. It involved gross moral turpitude. Such behaviour is rightly of the gravest concern to the public, particularly at a time when there is much anxiety about the extent to which their affairs, no matter how lawfully or innocently, are increasingly known to numbers of people including various organs of the state.

"In such circumstances, the need of those having access to the information to behave with probity and integrity is both obvious and paramount. It is plain that wrongdoing such as yours cannot be tolerated and if you chose to behave in this way, you do so at your peril and you must suffer the consequences.

"The situation was made worse because your conducts amounted to gross breach of trust, virtually as a matter of routine.

"Police officers who dishonour their calling, as you have done, are in effect making an attack on the very fabric of the society which they are meant to protect, and upon which ultimately we all depend.

"It is a step towards anarchy and the barbarity to which anarchy is usually coupled."

Over several months Dennis, of Barnet, north London, passed on secret information to Griffin, a former Metropolitan Police colleague who had set up a private investigation firm called Surelock.

The information included car registration numbers, immigration details, crime reports, criminal records and addresses.

The trial heard that Griffin used one crime report obtained by the police insider to scupper an investigation into a friend who was under suspicion for bouncing cheques.

The pair got to know each other when they were Met officers working together at Hillingdon police station in west London in the early 1990s.

Dennis was an experienced officer and Griffin, 53, received two police commendations for his work and reached the rank of detective inspector.

He left after 25 years to set up the agency with other people in Hampshire.

Dennis was convicted after trial of four counts of misconduct in a public office between April 12 and September 8 2005.

He was cleared of a further eight counts of the same, and one of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Griffin, of Staines, was found guilty of four counts of procuring misconduct in a public office, but not guilty of a further three counts.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail while his fall from grace was described by the judge as "tragic" because of his previously distinguished career.

Judge Higgins added: "In my judgement the premeditated, sustained, systematic and even routine nature of your wrongdoing is only consistent with a venal motive and a corrupt relationship in respect of which concern as to consequences and dissemination would not be inhibiting factors."

The pair were caught after an undercover police operation, which lasted almost a year and included surveillance and bugged conversations.

Recorded was talk of payment and upon arrest more than 2,000 was seized from Dennis' home in a glasses case.

Dennis was dismissed from his job and now faces losing up to 70 per cent of his lucrative pension.

He had claimed during his trial that he was naive, but insisted he never acted illegally.

Judge Higgins said he doubted either were remorseful.

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Steven Wallace of the anti corruption team at the Met said he welcomed the sentences as a deterrent.

He said: "These cases are rare but it only takes one case to undermine the reputation and integrity of our staff. I'm pleased by the sentence, it sends a strong message to staff of the kind of sentences they can expect if they engage in this behaviour."

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