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Bent Coppers: The inside story of Scotland Yard's battle against police corruption [Hardcover]

Graeme McLagan
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

9 Jun 2003
Shocked by the extent of corruption within its ranks, Scotland Yard set up a new anti-corruption unit in the early 1990s. Its members had to operate in conditions of unprecedented secrecy. They became known as the 'Ghost Squad'. Corrupt officers had access to the whole police computer system and anyone working undercover against them had to have a 'cover' that withstood scrutiny. Only now can the story of the 'Ghost Squad' be revealed. Award-winning BBC home affairs correspondent Graeme McLagan has followed the investigations since the beginning. He has interviewed undercover officers and many of the bent coppers they have exposed. This is the inside story of the 'Ghost Squad' and how it broke into the secret world of police corruption. Bent coppers really did believe they were untouchable: they stole cash and property, fitted-up innocent people and sold secret information to cripple court cases. Many of the bent coppers are now in jail or awaiting trial but the battle against corruption is not over. Graeme McLagan's gripping account reveals the ugly underside of London's police force and why teams from America and Australia have now come to Britain to find out how the Met is winning the battle against bent coppers.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (9 Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0297830937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0297830931
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Few journalists are better qualified to write on the subject of corruption inside the Metropolitan Police than Graeme McLagan.... Mr McLagan records thefacts of those cases with exemplary care ... it is a very engaging read.' Alasdair Palmer THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (29/6/03) Graeme McLagan wrote a story on the collapse of the Flying Squad trial in THE GUARDIAN (front page news) which also plugged the book. (28/6/03) Serial ran in THE GUARDIAN on Saturday 7 June, a full page in the news section. A news story on the book, and the formation of the 'ghost squad', ran in THE EVENING STANDARD on Tuesday 8th June. PRIVATE EYE ran a story on BENT COPPERS in its 'Books & Bookmen' section (13 June, 03) Graeme McLagan appeared on THE TODAY PROGRAMME (BBC Radio 4) in discussion with Ian Blair, the Deputy Commissioner of the Met, on Tuesday 8thJune. LBC Radio interviewed Graeme McLagan on Friday 13th June and he is appeared on the ROBERT ELMS show (BBC London Live) on Monday 23rd June. Graham McLagan did a 30 min interview on TALKSPORT Radio on Thursday 3rd July. The SIMON MAYO show (BBC Radio 5 Live) are interested in fixing up a discussion on bent coppers which will also tie-in with the current Coronation Street plot line with Curly & Emma, The Bill and the new series of The Vice.

Book Description

The inside story of a secret unit that has worked under cover to expose corruption within the Metropolitan Police since the early 1990s

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repetitious 19 Jan 2004
By A Customer
I found a lot of repetition in this book and self promotion of the author and his time on Panorama. Factually very good but the padding lets the book down.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A biased book? 12 Feb 2012
As one would expect from an investigative journalist, Mr. McLagan has quite a nice style of writing but it must appear to the reader that this book is somewhat one-sided. First, it appears that he received a telephone call and was told that if he went to a certain street, outside a certain building, there he would find a rubbish bag filled with police documents. Lo and behold, that bag fortuitously contained the basis for this book - oh, really! The result is that Mr. McLagan has written a book designed to display the finer points of the Complaints Investigation Branch (CIB). I'm sure that ordinarily, Mr. McLagan would have been marched off to the nick for failing to surrender this interesting batch of documentation, the possession of which could have merited prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. However, perhaps whoever was responsible for the unexpected beneficence of sensitive data was so delighted with the result, they felt the end justified the means.

Still, leaving aside the fairy-tale aspect of the book, Graeme McLagan highlights the incredibly reckless and nonsensical way in which the convicted robber, Hector Harvey was dealt with as an informant by the Flying Squad (who really should have known much, much better) and as a Supergrass by CIB, whose stupidity and jaw-dropping naivety beggared belief.

I knew many of the police personnel featured in this book; some deserved imprisonment, some were exceptionally fortunate but there are many others where the finger of blame was pointed at them and although they were exonerated, they were nevertheless named, leaving a rather grubby question mark over them.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A disgrace to investigative journalism 23 Aug 2005
By A Customer
What a PR puff-piece for Scotland Yard who just want to cover up all the crimes committed by CIB (now re-named the Directorate of Professional Standards). How on earth Graeme McLagan can call himself an investigative journalist is beyond me. He has been spoon-fed lies by Scotland Yard and like an idiot, he has just gone and published them without question. If you want to read a proper book by proper investigative journalists, then read 'The Untouchables' by Gillard and Flynn - the book Scotland Yard don't want you to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Turning a Blind Eye 22 Feb 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Please remove this review. It wasn't written by me. A friend of mine asked me about the book and I gave him a brief synopsis. Unfortunately he decided to write a review without my knowledge. I am a retired Detective Sergeant but I was never on the Flying Squad. He thought it was a good laugh. I don`t share his sense of humour. Please accept my apologies.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars another cover up 10 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a good read....if you are a member of CIB 3....It has been written for them in an attempt to expose innocent policeman to cover their own corruption. For me it was a book written on behalf of the "gods" to save their own necks after they messed up on the macpherson report (stephen lawrence case). It was an attempt to restore public faith ...and 'put off' a public inquiry . The truth, however reveals itself in the shape of The untouchables...a follow up by Michael Gillard who exposes The Ghost Squad at Scotland Yard. What we need now is for the commissioner to call for a public inquiry let our policeman be policeman...and not fear going to work..and ask our judges to look for the evidence...and stop putting convicted criminals back on the streets..............
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11 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A former Scotland Yard detectives thoughts... 20 Aug 2003
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An interesting read, naming many people known to me, and with whom I have worked.

However, the authors sources at Scotland Yard have been very selective with the information they have furnished him. The book would have been far more interesting had he revealed the seedier side of two of the CIB detectives he refers to - both of whom I know personally and who the average reader of this book will mistakenly view as crusaders. Both, had they been caught, would have 'gripped the rails' at Crown Court prior to their postings to CIB. Nonetheless, these issues can be covered in the sequel to my first book, 'The Filth.'

Further research by the author would have revealed CIB are not the élite squad as suggested, and that prior to the creation of the so-called Ghost Squad, was seen within the Met itself as a dysfunctional posting for has-been police officers, many with no detective experience at all. The reader has the right to be made aware of such facts. I noticed, for example, there is no mention of Detective Superintendent Niccol flying with his bag-carrier at tax payers expense to the Caribbean, to investigate matters relating to an arrested informant, a quantity of drugs and an alleged corrupt - information supplied to CIB, ironically, by me! Perhaps such events are more suitable for a book about Metropolitan Police farce.

On a positive side, it was interesting to read about 'DC Larry Hart.' It would be harder to find a straighter, more hard working, detective. Further research by the author would have unearthed this and allowed for the average reader not privy to the internal workings of the Metropolitan Police, to form an honest opinion of the man.
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