London: Almost one in five members of the Metropolitan Police`s public relations team is a former News International (NI) employee, the Daily Express reported Wednesday.
According to Met media chief Dick Fedorcio, 10 of the "50-odd" team had worked for media mogul and owner of News Corporation Rupert Murdoch.
The astonishing figure was revealed Tuesday as MPs on the home affairs committee quizzed him over the appointment of ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who was later arrested in connection with the phone hacking scandal.
Defending the decision to bring in Wallis as a 1,000 pounds-a-day part-time consultant on top of his army of existing staff, Fedorcio said he needed extra support after his deputy developed a long-term illness.
Meanwhile, court papers since 2000 have revealed a key suspect in the phone-hacking scandal, ex-chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, worked as a police source under the codename George.
It has triggered fresh fears of police-press collusion, the Daily Express report stated.
Thurlbeck and a Scotland Yard detective had been charged with corruption and both were acquitted in July 2000.
On Tuesday, Murdoch appeared before the House of Commons media committee. It was the first time he faced direct scrutiny by MPs during his 40-year media career in Britain. His newspaper News of the World (NoW) has been alleged to be involved in phone-hacking scandal.