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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Nadeem Badshah

Former Met officer jailed for taking bribes while policing West End nightlife

Frank Partridge arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London
Frank Partridge was a licensing sergeant in the West End when he accepted multiple bribes. Photograph: Kirsty O’Connor/PA

A former Metropolitan police sergeant is facing jail for taking bribes, including a £7,000 luxury family holiday to Morocco and tickets to exclusive events, while policing London’s West End bars and nightclubs.

Frank Partridge, 50, was found guilty of four counts of bribery by a jury on Wednesday. Jurors found that while working in the Westminster licensing unit between 2013 and 2015, he accepted inducements including renovation of his home, a bespoke monogrammed £1,350 suit and concert tickets for his mother-in-law to see Metallica in Milan for her birthday.

The former sergeant was responsible for consulting the local authority over applications for licensed premises and supervising venues to ensure they were complying with conditions, his trial at Southwark crown court in south London was told.

Jurors heard Partridge, who left the Met in 2016, formed an “unprofessional and inappropriately close” relationship with people linked to West End nightclubs and security firms, including the Cirque le Soir nightclub owner, Ryan Bishti.

Philip Evans KC, prosecuting, told jurors at the start of the trial: “Those relationships directly benefited Frank Partridge financially and the individuals because they had someone with Frank Partridge’s powers in their pocket.”

Evans added the former Met officer “developed and nurtured” relationships with those he was charged with policing “for his own benefit and, in turn, for their benefit” and there was “no sensible” explanation for what was happening. Partridge told the court he believed his work was “always impartial”.

He was cleared of a further count of bribery, including allegations he accepted Manchester United tickets and shirts signed by Wayne Rooney, and admitted three others at an earlier stage in the case.

Bishti, 43, Anna Ginandes, 46, Terry Neil, 56, and a man who cannot be named for legal reasons were found guilty of one count each of bribery. Neil and Ginandes were also found not guilty of one count of bribery each. Soraya Henderson and Eamonn Mulholland were cleared of all wrongdoing.

Cmdr James Harman, of the Metropolitan police’s anti-corruption and abuse command, said: “This is the case of an officer abusing his position of trust and responsibility for personal gain.

“Frank Partridge was a licensing sergeant in central London. Licensing officers across London are responsible for working with the local authority to ensure the safe and secure operation of around 30,000 pubs and clubs and to ensure the public can enjoy the night-time economy safely.

“What has happened here is that Frank Partridge has been motivated by greed and by self-interest. He has accepted bribes that he has allowed to influence how he does his duty – that is corruption and that is why we are pleased to see the verdict today.”

Partridge will be sentenced on Tuesday while his co-defendants who were convicted will be sentenced on 21 September.

Debbie Jeffrey, senior specialist prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division, said: “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.”

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