A female police officer tasked with protecting government officials has been arrested over alleged leaks to the press about the so-called “plebgate affair”.
The 46-year-old, who works in diplomatic protection at the Metropolitan Police, was arrested at her workplace in central London on suspicion of misconduct in a public office.
She was arrested over alleged leaks linked to the row which led former Tory chief whip Andrew Mitchell to quit the Cabinet after claims he called officers “plebs”.
The officer arrested was present at Downing Street during the incident in September, Scotland Yard confirmed. This was the fourth arrest in the investigation, known as Operation Alice.
A 46-year-old male officer arrested on Thursday has been bailed to March and has been suspended, the Met said.
Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe had said a file on the case could be handed to prosecutors by the end of January. But Scotland Yard yesterday said that because of “ongoing developments” no interim report had yet been submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Investigators have taken statements from all 800 officers in the Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) as part of the inquiry.
Two other men have been arrested, both of whom have been released on bail until February. A 52-year-old Pc who is also from the DPG and currently suspended was held on suspicion of misconduct in public office, while a 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an indictable offence.
Four other constables in the unit, which protects government officials and diplomats, have been placed on restricted duty over misconduct claims.
Mr Mitchell was accused of a rant against officers as he left Downing Street. Pressure on him intensified after the Daily Telegraph published a police log of the incident, which claimed he called officers “plebs” and swore at them repeatedly. He insisted he did not use the words attributed to him, and later said he was the victim of an attempt to ruin his career.