Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'Criminal in police uniform': Sergeant who helped run brother's drug gang jailed for 11 years

A crooked police officer who took over his 'enforcer' brother’s drug gang was caught with a stash of machine guns, ammunition and cash hidden at his home.
Sergeant Salim Razaq, 33, who had a reputation as a dedicated officer, had already been picked out for promotion.

But his brother Hafiz - known as ‘Big Haf’ or ‘The Enforcer’ - was the feared ‘muscle’ for a local cocaine ring.

When Hafiz was locked up on remand accused of kidnapping a rival in a vicious turf war, his policeman brother plotted to help intimidate a key prosecution witness and hid a deadly cache of weapons and ammunition for him.

For those of you who do not know, the dark patch on Hafiz's forehead is a sign of piety, ony achieved by those whose prostrate regularly during prayer. This, plus the large beard, would single out this man as a pillar of Muslim society.

Razaq was jailed for 11 and a half years at Liverpool Crown Court after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice, possession of firearms and ammunition as well as misconduct in a public office.

senior police chiefs in Lancashire said they were dismayed Razaq, a trusted officer, could have betrayed the force.

Assistant Chief Constable Andy Cooke said: ‘Salim Razaq was nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform and I am appalled by the fact that a police officer was involved at the level he was in this criminality.’

Judge Henry Globe QC, told the disgraced officer: ‘Your actions have brought potential discredit to the police force.

‘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.

‘The guns were being kept by you to return to gangs who kill, maim, intimidate and terrorise.

‘Those who provide a safe hiding place for weapons and ammunition make a significant and distinctive contribution to the use of firearms on the streets and elsewhere. A significant and lengthy sentence is justified.’

The court heard Razaq, who was stationed in Nelson, Lancashire, was regarded as a promising young officer, while his brother was becoming notorious as an enforcer for the Deepdale drugs gang in nearby Preston.

His gang was involved in a feud with the rival Fishwick mob, and in April 2007 suspected associate Mohammed Beg, 22, was snatched from his BMW by a masked gang, held captive for three hours and tortured and beaten.

Hafiz, 25, was arrested and sent to prison charged with kidnapping from where his calls to his brother Salim were secretly taped discussing money laundering, witness intimidation and a ‘tick list’ of drug deals.

Officers swooped on the sergeant’s home in March and discovered an armoury of guns and ammunition.

They found a Sten machine gun and two Uzi machine guns hidden under the stairs and 228 bullets stashed in socks and plastic bags under the garden shed, as well as a bullet-proof jacket and £72,000 in cash.

He was thrown out of the force in June after a rarely-used Special Case Hearing procedure was held to fast-track his dismissal.

In mitigation Andrew Menary QC, said: ‘Salim Razaq did not start out as a bad and corrupt police officer. But his problems and his downfall came about because of his divided loyalty.’

Lancashire Police now runs an ‘in-service’ vetting programme so officers were routinely checked to highlight any cause for concern with family members.

His brother, who is already serving a six-year prison term for kidnap, was jailed for three and a half years to run consecutively for perverting the course of justice and conspiracy to transfer criminal property.

The brother’s mother Gulshan Razaq, 58, was given a suspended sentence and a three month curfew for perverting the course of justice.

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