Ex-Met Police officer who took bribes including £7,000 holiday found guilty

Former Sergeant Frank Partridge arriving at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery between February 1 2013 and June 25 2015. Picture date: Thursday April 20, 2023.
Frank Partridge formed an “inappropriately close” relationship with people linked to West End nightclubs. Credit: PA

A corrupt former Metropolitan Police officer is facing jail for accepting bribes while policing London’s West End bars and nightclubs. Ex-sergeant Frank Partridge, 50, was found guilty of four counts of bribery by a jury at Southwark Crown Court today. Jurors found he accepted a £7,000 luxury family holiday to Morocco, tickets to exclusive events and renovation of his own home while working in the Westminster Licensing Unit between 2013 and 2015. Partridge was cleared of a further count of bribery by jurors and admitted three others at an earlier stage in the case. He was responsible for consulting with the local authority over applications for licensed premises and supervising venues to ensure they were complying with conditions, the trial 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 Cirque le Soir nightclub owner Ryan Bishti, the court heard.

Partridge arriving at Southwark Crown Court during a hearing in April. Credit: PA

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Philip Evans told jurors: “Those relationships directly benefited Frank Partridge financially and the individuals because they had someone with Frank Partridge’s powers in their pocket.” Partridge "nurtured" relationships with those he was charged with policing “for his own benefit and, in turn, for their benefit”, the lawyer said.

He said that there was "no sensible" explanation for what was happening, but the former officer later told jurors he believed his work was "always impartial".

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. Jurors took 15 hours and 46 minutes to reach their verdicts, all of which were unanimous. Commander 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.”

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Senior specialist prosecutor with the CPS’s Special Crime Division, Debbie Jeffrey, said: “Frank Partridge had a central role in ensuring that venues and businesses operating in the West End of London did so within the terms of their licence and were meeting licensing objectives to reduce crime and maintain public safety. “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. “Partridge was nevertheless the recipient of significant bribes and developed and nurtured relationships for his own benefit – and in turn for the benefits of others.

“As a police officer, Partridge abused his position of power by cultivating unprofessional and inappropriately close relationships with a small number of individuals involved in providing entertainment and security at the venues he was charged with policing. “He was found to have performed his professional duties improperly for the benefit of those individuals, in a manner that was incompatible with his position as a police officer, and for which he was rewarded with hospitality at exclusive events and high-end venues, bespoke clothing, a family holiday and house renovations as a result.” Partridge will be sentenced on Tuesday while his co-defendants who were convicted will be sentenced on September 21.