By BBC Radio 5 live

What's Gangster about?

Gangster presents... A 6-part true crime podcast documenting the biggest organised crime bust in British policing history. It happens in 2020 when police in France penetrate an encrypted phone network called EncroChat. According to police, the phones were used exclusively by criminals.

For over two months, police forces across Europe were reading the secret communications of major league criminal networks. The Metropolitan Police, working with the National Crime Agency and other forces, used this information to uncover the workings of organised crime groups.

“It was like being in a room with them and they are talking freely, and they don't see you there,” says DCI Driss Hayoukane, the Senior Investigating Officer who led the Met’s EncroChat operation.

Police went public about the EncroChat hack in July 2020. This is the first time that the inside story of some of the Met’s biggest EncroChat cases has been told to a broadcaster.

Talking exclusively to BBC Sounds, police officers reveal how they used the gangsters’ messages to uncover arms dealing and expose murder plots as well as major drug trafficking and money laundering operations. Stories featured in the series include: - A murder plot unearthed by the Met in a joint operation with South Wales police.

- Two apparently legitimate businessmen, living in a Buckinghamshire village, whose wealth really came from cocaine trafficking and major league money laundering,

- A corrupt police officer who was working for a notorious London crime group.

At a time when the Metropolitan Police Service has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it’s a rare story of an extraordinary success: nearly 1000 arrests; over 400 convictions; the seizure of £19 million in cash, three tonnes of Class A and B drugs and 49 guns.

But presenter Mobeen Azhar does not shy away from what have been difficult issues for the Met police: an officer from the Met’s anti-corruption unit speaks for the first time about how hacked EncroChat messages helped to expose the worst case of police corruption he had ever seen; and Mobeen asks the officer leading theMet’s EncroChat investigation about the experience of being an ethnic minority officer in a force found to be institutionally racist.

Catching the Kingpins is a BBC Studios Production for BBC Sounds.

Presenter: Mobeen Azhar

Series Producer: Andrew Hosken

Editor and Executive Producer: Innes Bowen

Sound designer: Peregrine Andrews

Assistant Commissioner: Lorraine Okuefuna

Commissioning Editor: Louise Kattenhorn

Production Executive: Laura Jordan-Rowell

Creative Director for BBC Studios: Georgia Moseley

Unit Manager: Lucy Bannister

Production manager: Elaina Boateng

Development Executive: Anya Saunders

Editorial Policy Advice: Su Pennington

Legal advice: Hashim Mude and Andrew Downey

Consulting editor: Steve Boulton

Production Co-ordinator: Juliette Harvey

Thanks also to Beena Khetani, Adele Humbert, Hugh Levinson, Ali Rezakhani, Rhiannon Cobb, and Jack Griffith.

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