Detective Chief Inspector April Casburn, 53, the former head of the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit at Scotland Yard, was arrested as part of Operation Elveden, the Met investigation into inappropriate payments by journalists.

She is the first person to be charged in connection with the investigation, which was set up in the wake of the phone hacking scandal and has so far seen 50 arrests.

DCI Casburn has worked for the Met for 17-years having joined following a career in the financial sector.

She headed up two Fraud Squad teams within the City of London police before moving to the National Terrorist Financial Investigation Unit (NTFIU).

The unit uses financial intelligence to investigate the funding of terrorist organisations both at home and overseas.

The charge relates to an incident in September 2010 when DCI Casburn allegedly contacted a journalist at the now defunct Sunday tabloid and offered to provide sensitive information.

It is not clear whether she asked for or received any payment for the information.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "We have concluded, having carefully considered the file of evidence, that there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and that it is in the public interest to charge DCI Casburn with misconduct in public office.

"The particulars are that on 11 September 2010, April Casburn, being a public officer, and acting as such, without reasonable excuse or justification, wilfully misconducted herself to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust in that office. This charge relates to an allegation that DCI Casburn contacted the News of the World newspaper and offered to provide information."

DCI Casburn is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court on Monday October 1.

Operation Elveden is running alongside Operation Weeting which was launched to investigate phone hacking at the News of the World.

A total of 70 officers are working on the investigation and five police officers have so far been arrested.

The News of the World was closed down by owner Rupert Murdoch following revelations that journalists from the newspaper had hacked hundreds of people's phones from celebrities and politicians to members of the public and victims of crime.

Particularly damaging were claims that reporters had hacked into the voicemail of the murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler.

A total of eight people have so far been charged in connection with phone hacking allegations including News International's former Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks and David Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson.

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