Two more police officers held: Plebgate arrest number three and Elveden number 59

A 33-year serving Metropolitan Police officer was arrested this morning on suspicion of taking payments from journalists.

This follows the arrest last night of a second policeman questioned on suspicion of leaking information about an altercation between former chief whip Andrew Mitchell and police officers at the gates of Downing Street.

The latest arrested this morning is number 59 in the Operation Elveden inquiry into inappropriate payments.

The 33-year-old man, who works in Scotland Yard's Specialist Crime and Operations unit, was arrested at his home in Barnet, north London at 5.45am on suspicion of misconduct in a public office.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the officer was being interviewed at a north London police station and his home is being searched.

"Today's arrest is the result of information provided to police by News Corporation's Management and Standards Committee," he said.

"It relates to suspected payments to a police officer and is not about seeking journalists to reveal confidential sources in relation to information that has been obtained legitimately."

A police officer responsible for protecting Government officials was  arrested last night in central London over alleged leaks to the media about the "plebgate" affair.

The 46-year-old from the Diplomatic Protection Group was held at his work place on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

He was arrested over alleged leaks linked to the row which led chief whip Andrew Mitchell to quit his Cabinet post amid a storm of protest over claims that he called officers "plebs".

The man was not present at the time of the dispute between Mr Mitchell and officers on duty outside Downing Street.

Three weeks ago Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said that a file of evidence on the case could be handed to prosecutors by the end of this month.

Scotland Yard said that because of "ongoing developments" no interim report had yet been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service. Investigators have taken statements from all 800 officers in the Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) as part of the inquiry.

Two other men have been arrested so far. A 52-year-old Pc who is also from the DPG was held on suspicion of misconduct in public office and bailed until a date in February.

A 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an indictable offence and also released on bail. Four other constables in the unit, which is responsible for protecting government officials and diplomats, have been placed on restricted duty over misconduct claims.

The plegbate row began after Mr Mitchell was accused of a heated rant against officers as he left Downing Street. The story was broken in The Sun and pressure on him intensified after The Daily Telegraph published a police log of the incident, which claimed he called officers "plebs" and swore at them repeatedly.

He insisted he did not use the words attributed to him, and later said he was the victim of a deliberate attempt to "toxify" the Tories and ruin his career. An email from a civilian witness backing up the police account of events was also called into question.

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