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UK Police Investigate Alleged Phorm Lunch With Officer 46

twoheadedboy writes "City of London Police are looking into claims one of its officers was given hospitality by Phorm months before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to not take the company or BT, which was using the software, to court. BT was trialling Phorm, which uses uses cookies to build a profile of users' habits and interests based on websites they visit, in 2006 and 2007, attracting the scorn of privacy campaigners. After much back and forth, the CPS dropped the case in April 2011. Now, privacy campaigner Alex Hanff, who discovered a document appearing to show an officer had been taken to lunch by Phorm in 2010, wants the case to be reopened."
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UK Police Investigate Alleged Phorm Lunch With Officer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:15AM (#39557153)

    He's got Phorm.

  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:29AM (#39557209)

    Lunch is hardly reasonable as evidence of corruption.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:30AM (#39557213)
      There's no such thing as a free lunch
    • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:31AM (#39557219) Journal
      Especially when the CPS makes the decision whether to prosecute or not, not the police.
      • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:40AM (#39557261) Homepage

        A decision they make based primarily on information provided to them by the police...

      • by Jancen ( 2609331 )
        the lunch was months from when the decision was made, and lunch makes a good interview tool and makes a person more at ease/trusting but so does sending a pretty young woman to answer questions. Sure it makes thing run smoothly during the interview but 8 months of thinking, investigating and paper work will far out weigh an hour and a half of lunch
        • Sure it makes thing run smoothly during the interview but 8 months of thinking, investigating and paper work will far out weigh an hour and a half of lunch

          Unless there's corruption involved.

          But at first glance I'm inclined to agree with what the GP said.

          • by M1FCJ ( 586251 )

            There's likely to be corruption. This is the police force who was paid significant amount of money by the Murdoch Media.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It was just an innocent "interview" lunch, to set up an even more innocent all-expenses-paid "interview" cruise, to negotiate the conditions of a most innocent job "interview" - which would be held in a newly built summer home - for a lucrative consulting position which was so innocent, it would make the virgin Mary look like a filthy harlot.

      • I know in theory they're independent. In practice... not so sure.

        Remember the clerical error that let that bent bastard Harwood literally get away with murder?

      • by thomst ( 1640045 )
        I say! Jolly bad Phorm, Bobby!
      • They also the acronym CPS wrong, it "Criminal Protection Service" - schoolboy error.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      My wife is a public employee, so let me explain how this works. Every so often politicians get caught taking something from some special interest. Their response is to pass a tough new ethics bill. The catch is that it doesn't apply to *them*, it applies to public employees. So things get a little ridiculous.

      When we bought our house, the realtor tried to buy us lunch and my wife had to refuse, because under state law for practical purposes she's not allowed to take gifts from anyone she's not related to.


    • Lunch is hardly reasonable as evidence of corruption.

      Any police officer that can be bought with a mug of tea and a dried up cheese sandwich really needs to think bigger.

  • I initially read the story title as "UK Police Investigate Alleged Porn Lunch With Officer," and was greatly saddened to learn the story was significantly less exciting than I had expected.

  • by Maxmin ( 921568 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @02:39AM (#39557259)

    Seems this is pattern and practice within Met, or rather was.

    One could suppose this luncheon happened prior to Operation Elveden having had effect upon allegedly corrupt officers' behavior.

    • Not the Met (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:36AM (#39557495)
      This was the City of London police, who are traditionally less prone to corruption than the Met*. Because they investigate sensitive fraud cases and the like, and because many of the criminals in the City have vast resources, the expected standard of police behaviour is much higher. If this officer did not file a proper report on the lunch, he should have done. (I don't know whether he did or not, so I have no opinion on that aspect of the matter.)

      *To understand the Metropolitan Police, read the history of the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Boris Johnson knows his classics, and I suspect that is one reason why he fired the head of the Met soon after taking office.

      • by Maxmin ( 921568 )

        Ta for the correction.

      • by M1FCJ ( 586251 )

        I guess what you mean is they're more careful than the Met and don't get caught since their advisers and bribers are way more clever than the Met's? There's never a case of "no corruption at the Police force", there'always a "not caught yet-corruption case".

  • I know those words, but that sign makes no sense.

  • I don't get it, is this some new British euphemism for an illicit sex act???

    ...No Doctor... all I had was a little "Hosptality by Phorm!" Well that explains it son, you're lucky it didn't fall off!"

  • by kikito ( 971480 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:47AM (#39557535) Homepage

    The article uses local expressions every time it mentions the *bad thing that happened*.

    If I'm reading it correctly, it seems the problem is that they "took a policeman to lunch". Does this mean that they literally invited him to eat in a restaurant? Am I understanding it right?

    If that's the case, why is it newsworthy? Is it not legal to have lunch with people? And even if it's not legal - How much does a single meal cost in the UK? Are we arguing about 30 pounds?

    • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @03:56AM (#39557569)

      There are rules about public servants accepting hospitality. In my department, we're not even allowed to let someone buy us a few sandwiches for a stand-up buffet.

      It sounds rather strict, but it's proven that it skews your judgement - it's human nature to feel obligated to someone who does something nice for you, something that pharmaceutical reps understand only too well, with their habits of feeding doctors well and providing them with plenty of (branded) free geegaws like laser pointers, pens, etc.

      • by Inda ( 580031 )
        We also have the new Bribery Act 2010.

        If someone buys me a sandwitch, it's no problem as long as I buy the next one.

        Anything under a &#194;&pound;20 gift is fine, but must be recorded.

        But, it's a minefield. The safest bet is not to accept anything.
    • by oldredlion ( 1663421 ) on Tuesday April 03, 2012 @06:39AM (#39558121)
      If that's the case, why is it newsworthy?

      From the article

      According to Hanff, the officer taken out by Phorm in 2010 was overseeing the initial probe and was asked by the force to investigate the company after the CPS requested it take another look at the case.

      How many times does a police officer, during an investigation, go out to dinner with the subject of that investigation?

      I could be showing my naivete but I don't think it happens that often. Is it a common thing?

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