12 July 2023 16:24 Former Westminster licensing officer convicted of bribery Another four people were also found guilty of bribery.

A police officer who took bribes from licenced premises in the West End has been convicted of seven offences following a complex anti-corruption investigation.

Former Sergeant Frank Partridge, 50, who worked as a licensing officer in Westminster, was convicted by a jury of bribery following a three-month trial at Southwark Crown Court.

Another four people were also found guilty of bribery.

The trial heard Partridge accepted money and gifts to make favourable recommendations about licenced premises to Westminster Licensing Unit, run by the local authority, influencing licensing hearings and protecting venues from enforcement activity.

The way the Met now runs its licensing units has been transformed and many changes put in place to minimise the chance of this ever happening again.

Partridge was dismissed from the Met in April 2016.

Commander James Harman, Professionalism, said: ”This has been a complex and long-running investigation that began in 2013 and has involved the painstaking examination of thousands of files on 178 digital devices plus huge volumes of paper records to piece the case together. I commend the diligent work of colleagues in our Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command.

“Partridge’s job was to consult with the local authority about licensing applications and supervise licensed premises to make sure they were complying with their conditions.

“But he developed unprofessional and inappropriately close relationships with people who owned, ran or were linked to those premises as well as with firms providing security to the venues.

“These matters happened almost a decade ago and how we run licensing units in the Met is now very different. Once we identified Partridge’s activities, we acted quickly to introduce measures to ensure no one officer can abuse their position of power in the way he did.

“This case is a clear example of the robust approach we take to corruption. Where a crime has been committed we will investigate and bring it before the courts, dealing not just with our own, but also with those who seek to influence and corrupt our officers and staff. ”

Licensing is now structured differently, with better knowledge and understanding of the important role licensing plays in helping to police London. Along with greater oversight of local licensing officers by a Central Licensing Team and strong working relationships with the industry and London’s Night Czar, this helps us identify and manage risks. It also means a more consistent approach to licensing across London, and helps the industry understand how we police.

All police licensing officers must complete initial training and then attend professional development days, where standards and expectations of behaviour are re-enforced. This investigation – Operation Joseph – is used as a case study, focussing on how to manage corrupt approaches and how officers can be corrupted unintentionally.

London’s licensed economy is complex with more than 30,000 licensed premises, some operating 24 hours a day selling alcohol and providing entertainment. Our licensing officers help support a diverse and vibrant economy by preventing crime and ensuring a safe environment for Londoners and visitors.

The court heard Partridge, previously from Wing, Bucks but now living in Spain, took bribes from four groups of people linked to venues or security companies in the West End. The bribes included free meals and drinks, bespoke tailored clothing, tickets to exclusive events, free tickets and a family holiday to Morocco worth almost £7,000, although Partridge never took it due to his arrest.

In return, Partridge failed to carry out his duties. He downplayed allegations of crime at a nightclub, a company co-run by Anna Ginandes, 46, who provided the security. This included two allegations of rape in September 2014, with Partridge claiming a police investigation had ended with no further action several months before it actually did to paint a better view of the venue before a licensing hearing. Partridge also told the hearing an expedited licence review was not necessary as he had been working hard with the club in the preceding three months and, as a consequence, there had been no further crimes. This was true.

Instead Partridge came up with conditions to be added to the venue’s licence, however, this was never followed through.

If the club’s licence had been revoked, it would have meant a significant loss of revenue for Ginandes’ company.

The two allegations of rape were thoroughly investigated by specialist officers, separate from the licensing team. Despite extensive enquiries, neither case resulted in anyone being charged.

In another example, the trial heard that in January and February 2014 Partridge helped TSS, a security company run by Terry Neil, 56, and Soraya Henderson, 57, win a contract. He applied pressure on a venue to employ the company plus extra security staff.

In September 2013, officers from the Anti-Corruption and Abuse Command began a range of enquiries, including covert deployments, before making arrests and seizing a large number of electronic devices in June 2015. Henderson and Mulholland were not arrested and attended voluntarily for interview.

All were charged in November 2021.

Partridge joined the Met in May 1992. He worked in Clubs and Vice and gangs units before joining Westminster police licensing unit in early 2013. He was suspended upon arrest.

Partridge was dismissed without notice in April 2016 for gross misconduct after abusing the ATOC travel scheme four times by travelling in first class carriages.

At an earlier hearing, Partridge had pleaded guilty to three counts of bribery between February 2013 and June 2015. He was found guilty of another four counts of bribery and acquitted of one count.

Anna Ginandes, 46 (25.5.77), previously from Camden but who lives in New York, was found guilty of one count of bribery and acquitted of one count.

A man who can’t be identified and ran a security company was found guilty of one count of bribery.

Terry Neil, 56 (20.8.66), of Kimbers Drive, Slough was found guilty of one count of bribery and not guilty of another count. He ran a security company called TSS.

Ryan Bishti, 43 (16.3.80) of Exhibition Road, SW7 owned nightclub Cirque le Soir in Soho and was found guilty of one count of bribery.

Soraya Henderson, 57 (10.1.66) of Glenmore Close, Flackwell Heath, High Wycombe was found not guilty of two counts of bribery. She co-ran TSS.

Eamonn Mulholland, 56 (31.5.67) of Florence Street, Islington, was director of a nightclub called Beat and found not guilty of two counts of bribery.

Partridge will be sentenced on Tuesday 18 July. The others will be sentenced on Thursday, 21 September.

+ Anyone with information about a police officer or member of staff who works for the Met and is corrupt, abusing their position and power, can call the Anti-Corruption and Abuse Hotline, run by the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 085 0000 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-org.uk.