Saturday, November 6, 2010

A judge at Liverpool Crown Court in England, UK has allowed the media to report on crimes committed by a serving policeman involved with gang warfare. Salim Razaq, fired from his position as sergeant by Lancashire Constabulary, entered guilty pleas last month but this information was kept from the public pending the outcome of a separate trial.

Five others have also admitted charges in the case, including the officer’s brother Hafiz and mother Gulshan. Salim was caught when police bugged phone calls Hafiz was making from prison on remand awaiting trial for kidnapping and assaulting a rival gang member. The gangs were fighting a ‘turf war’ over drugs sales.

Salim Razaq was nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform

In the conversations the pair discussed intimidation of witnesses in a bid to prevent prosecution of Hafiz, and money laundering. Lancashire Police’s Professional Standards Department then raided Salim’s home in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, and found £72,000 in cash hidden in the sergeant’s bedroom. Three machine guns — two Uzis and a Sten — were concealed under the stairs. 228 bullets, a bullet-proof jacket, a balaclava, and a knuckle-duster were also confiscated.

Razaq, who became an emergency response officer when he joined the police in 2001 and became a sergeant in January last year, was dismissed in June when the force convened a Special Case Hearing to fast-track the process. He has entered guilty pleas to nine offences: misconduct in a public office, two charges of perverting the course of justice, three charges of possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, conspiracy to transfer criminal property, and conspiracy to acquire or retain criminal property.

Salim and Hafiz’s mother Gulshan admitted perverting the course of justice; her role was to intimidate witnesses. Hafiz entered guilty pleas to money laundering and two counts of perverting the course of justice. Two more gang members — Jason Lawrenson and Daniel Cookson — admitted money laundering, and another man, Louis Bamber, admitted possession of a firearm. The five will be sentenced on November 11.

Details had been kept secret while Salim Razaq faced trial on a charge of fraud by inflating the value of his salary — £33,000 a year — to obtain a mortgage. Judge Henry Globe QC decided he was innocent of that charge and ordered the jury to find him not guilty. He then lifted the restrictions imposed on the media.

Lancashire Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke spoke to the press outside the court. “Salim Razaq was nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform and I am appalled by the fact that a police officer was involved at the level he was in this criminality. However, I am extremely proud of the Lancashire officers who put this case together, the quality of which is reflected in the guilty pleas. I am sure that the sentences will reflect the seriousness of these crimes.”

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