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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Tristan Kirk

Ex-Met Police sergeant nicknamed ‘Sheriff of Soho’ faces jail for taking luxury bribes

A corrupt Metropolitan Police officer who earned the nickname the ‘Sheriff of Soho’ as he took a series of bribes from West End club owners is facing jail.

Ex-Sergeant Frank Partridge, 49, received tickets for a Metallica gig, he was wined and dined by those he was supposed to be policing, he received a tailored suit and shirts, and was even handed a £7,000 family holiday.

Partridge held a key role at the time he received the bribes, as he was in charge of the Met’s Westminster licensing unit and was responsible for monitoring safety at some of London’s top nightspots.

In the dock at Southwark crown court alongside Partridge was Ryan Bishti, the 43-year-old businessman behind celebrity haunt Cirque le Soir in Soho, as well as security bosses Terry Neil, 56, and Anna Ginandes, 46.

A three-month trial explored how Partridge, between 2013 and 2015, developed inappropriate relationships with business owners and security bosses while having an influential say in their licensing conditions.

Former police sergeant Frank Partridge arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is one of eight people accused of bribery offences (PA Wire)

Partridge admitted three charges of bribery before the case began and was convicted by a jury on Wednesday of a further four counts of bribery.

Bishti, Neil, Ginandes, and a man who cannot be named for legal reasons, were all found guilty of one charge of bribery.

Opening the case, prosecutor Philip Evans KC accepted Partridge has worked diligently for many years within the Met, including in the force’s Clubs and Vice unit. However it was said he “developed and nurtured relationships with those he was charged with policing, and he used those relationships for his own benefit and in turn for their benefit.

“They were people who owned, operated or were linked to, licensed premises, nightclubs and the like, as well as with those who operated security companies which relied on the licensed premises to provide their firms with work and income.”

A bespoke suit given to Sgt Frank Partridge (CPS)

Partridge, who left the Met in 2016, received upgrade work to his own home and received free tickets to see Metallica in concert thanks to Bishti. Ginandes, who operated security for a series of West End venues, was convicted of laying on a £7,000 holiday to Morocco for Partridge.

The corrupt officer was under surveillance in 2014 when he and Neil visited Clerkenwell Collection Tailors, and Partridge came away with a £1,350 bespoke suit and six made-to-measure shirts. Partridge will be sentenced on 18 July, while his co-defendants will be sentenced on 21 September.

“As a police sergeant in the Westminster Licensing Unit, Frank Partridge had a central role in ensuring that venues and businesses operating in the West End of London did so within the terms of their license and were meeting licensing objectives to reduce crime and maintain public safety”, said Debbie Jeffrey, senior specialist prosecutor with the CPS’ Special Crime Division.

Frank Partridge was a sergeant in the Metropolitan Police when he was taking bribes (CPS)

“It was clearly wrong and unlawful for someone in his position to receive financial and other advantages from those who owned, operated or were linked to such premises, and against whom he had a duty to take direct enforcement action if required. 

“Partridge was nevertheless the recipient of significant bribes and developed and nurtured relationships for his own benefit – and in turn for the benefits of others.

“As a police officer, Partridge abused his position of power by cultivating unprofessional and inappropriately close relationships with a small number of individuals involved in providing entertainment and security at the venues he was charged with policing.

“He was found to have performed his professional duties improperly for the benefit of those individuals, in a manner that was incompatible with his position as a police officer, and for which he was rewarded with hospitality at exclusive events and high-end venues, bespoke clothing, a family holiday and house renovations as a result.”

Partridge, Neil and Ginandes were each also found not guilty of a count of bribery they faced. Co-defendants Soraya Henderson and Eamonn Mulholland were cleared of all wrongdoing.

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