Thursday, November 18, 2010

Liverpool Crown Court jailed an ex-policeman who led a double life as a senior figure in a Preston, England drugs gang. Salim Razaq, described by his Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke of Lancashire Constabulary as “nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform”, received eleven-and-a-half years imprisonment on Tuesday after being caught during a ‘turf war’ with a rival gang.

The 33-year-old spoke to his brother over the phone while the latter was in jail on remand for kidnap and assault. Hafiz ‘The Enforcer’ ‘Big Haf’ Razaq was involved in hijacking Mohammed Begg’s BMW and abducting him. Begg, linked to the Fishwick gang, was tortured and beaten for three hours by Hafiz and other Deepdale gang members. Salim and Hafiz discussed money laundering and plans to intimidate witnesses in Hafiz’s trial. Other officers bugged the calls, their suspicions aroused when Salim improperly used the force computer system to check on family members and associates.

It cannot be exaggerated that the guns you knowingly had in your possession were three sub machine guns with many rounds of live ammunition

Lancashire Police’s Professional Standards Department then raided Salim’s home in Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, and found £72,000 in laundered cash hidden in the police 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.

Last month he entered guilty pleas to two counts of perverting the course of justice, three counts of possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition, conspiracy to transfer criminal property, conspiracy to acquire or retain criminal property and misconduct in a public office. The conspiracies referred to money laundering; the misconduct was for abusing the police database.

Salim joined the police in 2001 and served as a traffic cop patrolling motorways, before his promotion to sergeant in January last year. He was dismissed in June when the force convened a Special Case Hearing to fast-track the process.

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.

Gulshan was given a 44-week sentence suspended for two years and Hafiz received three-and-a-half years, this in addition to a six-year sentence for the attack on Begg. It was this attack that initiated the war, with a Deepdale member being shot in the throat in retaliation.

In sentencing Salim Judge Henry Globe QC said “The offending took place over an extended period of time. It amounts to a breach of trust, a dereliction of duty and it amounts to extremely serious and persistent criminal offending whilst ostensibly, supposedly upholding criminal justice in your capacity as a serving police officer. Your actions have brought potential discredit to the police force. It would have made the tasks of other officers more difficult. In particular, I make reference to the gravity of your offending in relation to the firearms offences.

“It cannot be exaggerated that the guns you knowingly had in your possession were three sub machine guns with many rounds of live ammunition to be used with them. There was no conceivable, lawful or justifiable purpose that anyone could have had to have them in their possession.”

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