Daily Mail (London), November 5, 2010
A respected police sergeant who led a secret double life as head of a ruthless underworld crime family was behind bars tonight.
Salim ‘Sal’ Razaq, 31, became a ‘mob boss in police uniform’ after assuming control of a drug and dirty money racket when his brother went to jail over a vicious turf war.
Officers found two Uzi sub-machine guns and a 9mm Sten sub-machine gun hidden in a suitcase under the stairs, when they raided his suburban home.
They also recovered 224 live rounds of ammunition from a shed, £72,000 in cash plus a knuckle-duster, balaclava and bullet-proof jacket.
Inside the house was a ‘tick list’ of names and amounts of money which police believe refered to drug contacts.
It is suspected he had also been using the police national computer to check on the movements of rival mobsters.
Razaq’s amazing double life emerged at Liverpool Crown Court where he was convicted of misconduct in a public office, perverting the course of justice, possession of fireams and ammunition and money laundering.
Colleagues at Nelson Police station in Lancashire regarded Razaq as a ‘copper’s cop’. They had no idea he had turned his home in Chorley Road, Preston, into a gangland HQ.
He was eventually caught after officers routinely picked up on a prison telephone conversation between him and his brother, 25-year old Hafiz in which they talked about a key witness to a kidnapping ‘being taken care of.’
Hafiz was known in the Preston underworld as ‘The Enforcer’, ‘Big Haf’ and ‘The Muscle’.
Now in Manchester Prison, he admitted perverting the course of justice and money laundering. His mother Gulsham Razaq, 58, of Chester Road, Preston, also admitted the perversion charge.
After Razaq was remanded in custody for sentencing, Andy Cooke, Lancashire’s Assistant Chief Constable said: ‘Razaq was nothing short of a criminal in a police uniform.
‘I am appalled that a police officer could be involved at the level he was in this criminality.
‘We are resolute in our commitment to root out any bad apples that fail to maintain the high standards of professional behaviour and integrity which the vast majority of our staff adhere to.’
Razaq. who was sacked from his £32,000 a year job, had joined the Lancashire force in 2001 and became a sergeant after serving as a traffic officer on the motorway patrol.
At the same time he was being promoted, his brother was rising through the criminal ranks of the Deepdale drugs gang.
But a turf war broke out in April 2008 when Mohammed Begg, 22, who was linked to the rival Fishwick mob was snatched from his hijacked BMW by a masked gang’
He was held captive for three hours during which he was tortured and beaten.
As a result of the kidnapping a 26 year old man from Hafiz’s gang was shot in the throat in a revenge attack.
Hafiz himself and four other members of the gang were arrested over Begg’s kidnapping and all were jailed for a total of 21 years with Hafiz ordered to serve six.
But police bosses became concerned when they were alerted to telephone calls made by Hafiz to Razaq from Liverpool prison in which they chatted about the case.
Hafiz was later jailed for six years but inquiries continued into his brother and he was arrested in March this year when police staged nine raids at houses across the county.
During the investigation, officers found large amounts of dirty money passing through Razaq’s bank accounts.
Jason Lawrenson, 26, of Manchester and Daniel Cookson, 25, of Yewtree Avenue, Ribbleton, admitted money laundering whilst Louis Bamber, 22, of Liverpool, admitted possession of a firearm.
Lancashire Police said there was now an ‘in-service’ vetting programme within the force, where officers are routinely checked to highlight any causes for concern with family members.