Police officer 'sold royal family contact details'


News of the World 'paid royal police officer' for details

I have learned that News of the World e-mails uncovered by News International in 2007 contained evidence that the Sunday newspaper was paying a Royal Protection Officer for the contact details of senior members of the royal family, their friends and their relations.

According to a source, the e-mails include requests by a reporter for sums of about £1,000 to pay police officers in the royal protection branch for the information. The phone details could have been used to hack phones of the royal family.

"There was clear evidence from the e-mails that the security of the royal family was being put at risk," the source said. "I was profoundly shocked when I saw them."

The source added that the e-mails were unambiguous signs of criminal activity at the News of the World.

"It is quite astonishing that these emails were not handed to the police for investigation when they were first found in 2007", he said.

The e-mails were not passed to the Metropolitan police until 20 June this year, when they were re-obtained - from the offices of the solicitors Harbottle and Lewis - by a recently appointed new team of News International executives.

James Murdoch, News International's chairman, has said he was not in the picture about the full extent of wrongdoing at the News of the World until recently.

You can read more about these e-mails in my blog of yesterday. And I will publish some additional details in a bit.

Update, 13:55: I can now disclose more detail about the extraordinary e-mails that appear to show royal protection officers were selling confidential information to the News of the World.

In one of the dynamite e-mails, Clive Goodman - the paper's disgraced former royal editor - was requesting cash from the newspaper's editor, Andy Coulson, to buy a confidential directory of the Royal Family's landline telephone numbers, and all the phone numbers - including mobiles - of the household staff.

The relevant e-mail implies that a police officer in royal protection had stolen the directory, which is known as the Green Book, and wanted £1000 for it.

The Green Book contains, for example, the home numbers of Princess Anne, Prince Edward and so on. It provides more complete contact details of officials working for all the Royal Family.

The directory is stamped "secure" on the cover. When members of the royal household receive a copy they have to sign for it. And it is supposed to be locked away when not in use.

The implication of the e-mails is that the News of the World had bought the Green Book on at least one previous occasion.

The e-mails also suggest that the News of the World had police contacts in a number of royal palaces, and had bought information from several of them.

Robert Peston, economics editor Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 98.

    The former editor of the NOTW has admitted, before a Parliamentary committee, that SHE authorised payments to police officers, for information.

    That has to be either aiding and abetting or procuring, a criminal offence.

    Why has she not been arrested?

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    Perhaps, Murdoch being a vociferous anti-monarchist, (though as he's American it's none of his business) a mass assassination was what they wanted?

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    Well said @ KZwent
    Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was pushed around by Press barons , as Rupo pushes ours around
    Baldwin refused to play ball

    He said "These Press Barons lust after Power without Responsibility - this has been the Hope of the Harlot throughout the centuries "

    Cameron's almost First ever visitor to No. 10 ?
    King Murdoch, up the back stairs !!

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    Come on Robert, that's enough well timed drip feed from your "horses mouth" NI sources. Why the silence about other organisations involvement? There have been substantial reports published by other reputable UK sources implicating Daily Mxxx and Mxxx on Sunday as by far the biggest and most active p(l)ayers. And why so few lead reports at this detailed level from BBC media editor Torin Douglas?

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 93.

    I believe (may have been scrapped) that treason still carries the death penalty....

  • rate this

    Comment number 92.

    'I was profoundly shocked...!' Robert Peston's willingness to drip feed us all News International stories serves the company at least as well as the public

  • rate this

    Comment number 91.

    Robert Peston's source saying 'I was profoundly shocked!' brings to mind the police officer in the film Casablanca who closes down Rick's Bar saying 'I'm shocked to find drinkning and gambling taking place here!'....

  • rate this

    Comment number 90.

    48. elkoolio01
    Oi Peston! How about starting your piece with the British irregular verb "learnt" rather than the US regular verb "learned".

    The pedant rides again........ gawd help us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    It appears that the police are simply another aspect of criminality in the UK today but I never thought that they'd become so clumsy, careless and arrogant in their nefarious activities. I suppose it illustrates an "I'll never get caught" mindset. Whose next in the frame? The NHS, State schools, the Church of England, the Samaritans?
    I omit the judiciary of the most obvious of reasons.

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.


    "Should you not be Blogging about the failure of the Southern Cross rescue?"

    There was a rescue? I thought it was simply "a failure". I'm sure the BBC are non-too concerned about the elderly as they have shown with their dismissal of high profile 'older ladies' in the past.
    I did hear a patheitc excuse for a SC spokesman on radio4 this morning - quite the surrealist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    to regain some credibility the met should arrest the murdochs and brookes, they have some serious questions to answer under caution, at very least for obstructing investigations.
    the met then need to take swift and effective action against their own, most of the phone details will have come from the met.
    an evil cabal came together: dishonest policemen and dishonest media

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    does anyone else look into James Murdoch's dead eyes and just think, he doesn't give a tuppence what anyone else thinks, Daddy knows best.. the words coming out are so glib ....yarder yarder yarder yarder......

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    This just seems like the perfect opportunity for a "media revolution" in the UK. Many people have known how corrupt it was for ages but it seems to have reached the climax, if nothing significant changes now, it never will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    An excellent summation.

    Next question - "how do we rectify this?"
    It seems that we cannot rely on our lawmakers or law enforcers to solve this anymore....I guess that just leaves us.

    The only thing that it going to change this situation is the end of this structured capitalist society where the wealthy can ignore the law and the poor must obey it. For that we require disobedience.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Go Robert go.........!
    I suppose that you must appear incorruptible and inscrutable to many which is why you're the chosen vessel for the current set of leaks. Or maybe Nick Davies simply irritated the source of these leaks a while back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    "Who is drip dripping these stories out?"

    This is Et Tu Brutus - as every journalist in the land has been waiting for this day. The day when they would feel brave enough to drop their scoop without fear of reprisals.

    Isn't it great that the press can act in a 'free manner' without fear - so what was the problem before then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    As I am not a fan of N.O.W. do not buy it,and since learning of the recent goings on, will not buy any of News Internationals publications.However it seems that in this case it is the police officers concerned that really need rooting out and disciplining,they broke the trust of the people that they were meant to protect

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Should you not be Blogging about the failure of the Southern Cross rescue?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    What a great week.
    Not only the demise of 168 years of drivel but a real chance that we (the great British punter that is) may escape having our pockets picked by an organisation that is almost beyond reach.
    Only sad thing is my respect for David Cameron has become a little tarnished by his emergence as the new Tony Blair.


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