Rebekah Brooks' police bribery claim may face criminal investigation

Scotland Yard confirm they are considering launching an official investigation.

Scotland Yard confirm they are considering launching an official investigation.

Scotland Yard is considering a criminal investigation into claims journalists paid police officers for information.

Earlier this week, Rebekah Brooks denied "knowledge of any specific cases" of police officer bribery under her watch as editor of the News of World. "My intention was simply to comment generally on the widely-held belief that payments had been made in the past to police officers", she said.

Now Scotland Yard has confirmed that it may launch a criminal investigation into the claims which Brooks had appeared to confirm in 2003. At the time she told the Culture, Media and Sport committee: "We have paid the police for information in the past."

Referring to the statement, today Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick said police planned "to conduct a scoping exercise to establish whether there are now any grounds for beginning a criminal investigation".

Brooks was editor of the News of the World from May 2000 to January 2003. Detectives arrested a third senior journalist from the paper this week.

Meanwhile yesterday the Press Complaints Commission chair Baroness Buscombe called phone-hacking "a deplorable practice, and an unjustifiable intrusion into an individual's privacy. The commission has always said that it is a breach of the Editors' Code."