Sunak’s protection officer arrested for betting on date of election

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak - Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

A police officer working in Rishi Sunak’s close protection team has been arrested as part of an investigation into bets placed on the date of the general election.

The Metropolitan Police was contacted by the Gambling Commission last Friday and informed that the commission was looking into the activities of a member of Scotland Yard’s Royalty and Specialist Protection (RaSP) command.

The police constable, who has not been named, was immediately removed from operational duties.

On Monday, the officer was further arrested on suspicion of committing misconduct in public office. He was questioned before being bailed, and the matter was also referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The Met’s RaSP command is an armed unit that protects members of the Royal family, leading politicians and VIPs. Officers accompany their subjects around the clock and keep them safe when they are out in public and at home.

Many members have been with the unit for years and developed good working relationships with the people they protect. It is regarded as one of Scotland Yard’s elite units, with members required to show the utmost professionalism and integrity.

‘Gambling Commission continues to lead investigation’

The news of an officer being arrested will rock the tight-knit command, which has been working flat out protecting politicians during the election campaign.

Earlier this year, The Telegraph revealed that the unit faced a looming resources crisis, with more than 60 members expected to leave next June when a Met retention scheme comes to an end.

Highly experienced officers who were eligible for retirement were allowed to remain in their posts while receiving their salary and pension. But the scheme is ending next summer, meaning many of the most experienced will leave.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “We can confirm that on Friday June 14 the Met was contacted by the Gambling Commission. The matter was immediately referred to officers in the Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards, who opened an investigation, and the officer was also removed from operational duties.

“The officer was subsequently arrested on Monday June 17 on suspicion of misconduct in public office. He was taken into custody and bailed pending further enquiries. The matter has also been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

“The Gambling Commission continues to lead the investigation into the alleged betting offences, and our investigation is running in parallel to that.”

‘Answers are needed’

The development comes after Craig Williams, a a senior aide of the Prime Minister, reportedly bet £100 on the date of the election just before it was called.

Mr Williams bet on the election being held in July three days before the announcement was made, according to The Guardian. Mr Sunak’s decision to hold a summer rather than autumn election surprised the nation.

The reporting has not been disputed by Mr Williams, who admitted that he had a “flutter” on the election a few weeks ago. He has since apologised for a “huge error of judgment”.

The Gambling Commission is understood to have sent Mr Sunak a letter about an inquiry into the “flutter”.

Daisy Cooper, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, said: “Rishi Sunak must call a Cabinet Office inquiry into what is shaping up to be yet another scandal at the heart of government.

“This stinks of yet more sleaze and answers are needed. An inquiry is needed to understand who knew what and when.”

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