Faced with sophisticated rioters organising themselves through Blackberry Messenger, the Metropolitan Police has called in specialist support from telecoms and intelligence-gathering experts who until recently worked for tabloid newspaper the News of the World.
‘What we need is trained detectives with a proven track record in hacking individuals’ phones for personal information, and naturally we’ve gone for the best in the business,’ said Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin. ‘Admittedly they are no longer actually in business, but as the News of the World used to pay us for information, it’s good to be able to return the favour and help some friends in need.’
The Met has confirmed that the covert operation will be overseen by Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks. ‘They’re both at a loose end at the moment, so they were natural choices,’ continued Mr Godwin. ‘A colleague left me a voicemail yesterday suggested them for the role, and before I knew it they were both in touch saying they’d heard there was a vacancy. I knew immediately they were the right people for the job.’
Coulson and Brooks will be supported in their work by a team of other former News of the World journalists. ‘It was easy to get hold of them at short notice,’ continued Mr Godwin. ‘Some were already in the cells anyway, while others were rounded up at riot scenes. They're all jobless now, so it wasn’t any surprise to find a number of them taking the opportunity to do a bit of late-night shopping in Brixton and Hackney to stock up on cut-price clothes and trainers.’
However, the police have not been entirely happy with the work of the former NOTW investigators. ‘It started out with them claiming there was a clear public interest in intercepting messages to disrupt illegal activity, and to name and shame offenders. But having managed to hack into one ringleader’s phone, it turns out they were less interested in where rioters were going to congregate tonight, and more interested in discovering that he was cheating on his girlfriend with his best friend’s missus.’