Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Sir John Stevens, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

  Thank you for your letter dated 11 December 2000 requesting information on the role of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) in combating corruption in developing countries and details of any investigations into corruption carried out by the MPS in developing countries.

  It may be helpful if I first set out the role of the MPS in combating corruption. In 1994, the Service initiated its current anti-corruption campaign by undertaking a long-term intelligence gathering exercise to strategically scope the extent to which police corruption was undermining MPS operations. This exercise, codenamed operation "Othona", concluded in December 1997 when, as you may recall, the then Commissioner, Sir Paul Condon, publicly acknowledged that there were a number of corrupt officers within the ranks of the MPS and announced the launch of the Met's Anti-corruption campaign,

  The first element of the campaign was the introduction, in January 1998, of the Met's Anti-Corruption Squad—C1B3 (now called Internal Investigations Command). Since January 1998 the Internal Investigations Command have been undertaking intelligence-led anti-corruption operations targeting corrupt members of MPS and staff and those who corrupt them. The has been accompanied by a developing organisational anti-corruption strategy—The MPS Corruption and Dishonesty Prevent Strategy. The strategy is a pervasive and innovative strategy designed to detect, deter and ultimately prevent corruption within the MPS.

  The strategy and the advanced investigation methods developed by the MPS in tackling corruption have won acclaim around the world and the MPS is now widely regarded as one of the world's leading anti-corruption agencies. This view is reinforced by the number of delegations from around the world who come to London to examine the Met's strategic response to corruption and its advanced anti-corruption operational methodology. The MPS is a member of the "Interpol—International Group of Experts on Corruption". Through this group the MPS is working with anti-corruption agencies from other countries including, United States, of America, Holland, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and South Africa in developing an "Anti-Corruption Manual of Best Practice" and a generic anti-corruption strategy for law enforcement agencies around the world. It is hope that these products will be published on the Internet during the course of 2001. The Interpol group is supplemented by representatives from the OECD. UN, Transparency International and anti-corruption practitioners from the private sector.

  It is under the auspices of the MPS's membership of this group that I was invited to speak on the issue of police corruption at the 9th International Anti-Corruption Conference in Durban, South Africa in October 1999.

  Senior representatives of the MPS are now regularly invited to speak on the issue of corruption, and specifically police corruption, to audiences around the world, the most recent event being the "1st Symposium on Corruption" hosted by ICAC Hong Kong in November 2000.

  However, it is important to make clear the expertise of the MPS lies in tackling police corruption. The MPS has, I believe, led in the UK by being the first large organisation or institution to proactively expose and tackle internal corruption by employing quite intrusive methods. This may be justified by the acceptance that police services are uniquely vulnerable to corruption consequent of the role of police officers and that corruption is an insidious activity that rarely surfaces by way of public complaint. Although as a "by-product" of investigating police corruption, corruption has been uncovered by the MPS in other areas of public life and in the commercial sector, the principal task of the MPS campaign is to ensure that the MPS is the most honest and ethical police service in the world. Accordingly the MPS does not have a "proactive" role in the investigation of corruption beyond the organisation itself unless this is to target those who are suspected of corrupting our staff. The Service will however, respond to any allegation of corruption made by a member of the public or organisation.

  The MPS does not conduct corruption investigations in developing countries, although technically it could, subject to FCO approval provide some level of advice or assistance upon request from another sovereign state. The role of the MPS in fighting corruption abroad is currently confined to its role within the Interpol group and participation in anti-corruption seminars on the world stage.

Sir John Stevens

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

January 2001

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