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Police probing a sex for favours scandal were yesterday accused of a cover- up.

Civil rights campaigners and MPs have called for a full inquiry.

And Scottish Home Affairs Minister Henry McLeish is to be asked to investigate.

It follows claims a man is being set up by police, who have accused him of posing as an officer to get free sex from prostitutes.

James Beck, 32, says he is being framed following Record revelations that vice officer George Watson used hookers for free sex.

Beck said: "The police are trying to cover their tracks because Watson was using prostitutes for sexual favours.

"It was well known what he was doing, but now they are trying to pin this on me."

Officers called at his home in Townhead, Glasgow, and told him they'd had an anonymous tip- off about him posing as a policeman.

That was on February 10 - days after police heard the Record were investigating Watson's involvement with hookers.

Police also asked Beck for a DNA sample as part of their probe into the murder of hooker Margo Lafferty - but Beck had already been DNA tested at the time of vice girl Tracy Wilde's killing.

Beck claims that 10 days later, a junkie prostitute approached his mother, Catherine Lorimar, and told her she'd made a false claim against him to police.

But she offered to withdraw the allegation if his mum handed over pounds 1500.

Mrs Lorimar said: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

"She said that she had never meant it to go this far.

"She said it was all because George Watson had been getting sexual favours from prosititutes that she had been asked to do this."

Mrs Lorimar complained to a senior officer at Pitt Street police station who promised to investigate. She has heard nothing more from them.

Then the door of Beck's flat was kicked in by police who ransacked it and removed a black jacket.

When his solicitor phoned London Road police station to find out what was going on, he was told there was a warrant out for Beck, and that the charges were of a serious nature.

The warrants turned out to be for motoring offences.

Beck, who is unemployed, complained to Strathclyde Police after fears he was being framed.

And he was so worried he took his case to civil rights campaigners two weeks BEFORE the Record broke the sex- for-favours story.

Yesterday, Douglas Hamilton, of the Scottish Centre for Human Rights, demanded an independent investigation.

He said: "We are deeply disturbed at the allegations Mr Beck has made against police.

"This highlights the need for proper investigation by an independent mechanism other than the police."

And Glasgow Labour MP Michael Martin said: "I am very disturbed at the claims that have been made and I intend to take this up with Henry McLeish.

"For the sake of public confidence in the police this affair has to be thoroughly investigated."

Beck said: "When police came to my house to question me about the Tracy Wilde murder, I was quite happy to provide them with DNA.

"But I was stunned when they suddenly told me that they had information I was posing as a policeman to get sexual favours from prostitutes.

"Now they want to ask me about the Margo Lafferty murder - I am really worried where all of this might be going.

"I was completely shocked - the whole idea was just nonsense.

"However, as I have nothing to hide, I co- operated with their request to provide DNA swabs and fingerprints as well as photographs."

His lawyer, John Carroll, said: "Mr Beck had already provided DNA samples to police and to approach for further samples seems to be quite contrived."

And he added: "I will be looking into the possiblity of a civil action against police.

"Bringing in an outside police force to investigate may not be appropriate, as the public confidence in the police investigating themselves is probably little above zero."

Beck's former girlfriend, who died in 1990, was a prostitute and heroin addict.

Beck himself is known to police - but his only convictions are for driving offences.

The cover-up allegation is the latest twist in the sex scandal that has rocked police in Glasgow.

Plain clothes officer Watson, 43, was suspended last week after the Record revealed claims from Barras market traders that he was being paid cash bribes.

One woman says she had sex with him in the back of her Transit van so she could sell bootleg audio tapes at her Barras stall.

Police chiefs are still probing the bribe claims, which followed allegations against Watson by two vice girls.

They said they had sex with him in return for a guarantee they would not be prosecuted.

A police spokesman said last night: If an official complaint has been made to police, it will be throughouly investigated."
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Smith, Anna
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 26, 1998
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