Latest Sun arrest in police corruption probe is 'disappointing', says News International chief

News International chief executive Mike Darcey said today it was "particularly disappointing" that another journalist from the company had been arrested.

Officers investigating alleged bribes to public officials arrested two policemen and a reporter, named by sources as crime correspondent Anthony France, at their homes this morning.

Darcey said in an internal message to staff: "It is particularly disappointing that these incidents, the first under my watch, and which have recently become less frequent, continue to take place.

"We will continue to seek further clarity on the state of the police investigations."

The three men were all held at their homes at 6am on suspicion of offences between 2004 and 2011, Scotland Yard said.

Today's arrests are as a result of information provided to police by News Corporation's management and standards committee.

France, 39, was held at his home in Hertfordshire on suspicion of conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to cause misconduct in a public office, and is being interviewed at a police station in north London.

Darcey said: "We have provided our colleague with a lawyer and we are helping him in any way we can. It goes without saying that we will not prejudge the outcome of any investigation. All those who have been arrested have our full support."

One of the police officers, a 47-year-old man, is from the Metropolitan Police specialist operations command and was arrested in Surrey on suspicion of misconduct in public office and corruption.

The other, a 30-year-old man, is from the Met's specialist crime and operations command and was held in Surrey on suspicion of the same offences.

Today's arrests bring the number of people detained as part of Operation Elveden, the investigation into alleged corrupt payments by journalists, to 56.

Last year deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who was then in charge of the investigations into corruption, phone hacking and other privacy breaches, said that the three inquiries could cost around £40 million over four years.

Specialist crime and operations deals with a range of serious offences across the capital, including murder, rape and organised gangs.

It also provides armed officers and dog handlers and deals with public order issues.

Specialist operations deals with protection of public figures including the royal family and Government ministers, counter-terrorism and security at the Houses of Parliament and City and Heathrow Airports.

Scotland Yard later issued a further statement to say that the Specialist Operations officer does not work in the Royalty Protection unit or the Diplomatic Protection Group.

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