THE Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police said he had "no doubt" some officers within his force were taking payments for information.

Stephen House yesterday revealed he has held 45 inquiries into leaks to the media in the past five years, with one suspected officer being reported to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).

He admitted there have been occasions where the leaks have hampered or compromised the investigation of serious crimes.

Giving evidence at the Leveson Inquiry into press standards, he said most of the suspected leaks related to celebrities.

Mr House, a candidate for the position of Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police last year, said: "It would be naive to say it does not happen.

"I have no doubt that there are specific individuals in my organisation who are in receipt of money from various people.

"I'm not suggesting it is individual newspapers, but various people who are looking for exactly the sort of information that we've just been discussing, celebrities coming into police custody, that is inevitable. Bound to be happening."

Questioned by Lord Leveson on the leaks of information from police to the press, the chief constable said it was "damaging and disappointing" although the allegations were investigated "thoroughly".

He said he did not think the force had a significant problem with leaks. But added: "I am bound to recognise, however, that unauthorised disclosure of confidential information to the media is an ongoing concern for Strathclyde Police. Whilst such incidents are relatively rare within the Strathclyde area, there have been occasions where the leaks to the media have hampered or even compromised the ongoing investigation of serious crime."

One of the 45 inquiries into suspected leaks resulted in an officer being reported to the COPFS. Mr House said the report was with Crown counsel for further direction while the question of disciplinary action remains "under consideration". Of the remaining 44, eight were disproved, 29 were said to be unsubstantiated and seven were subject to review, he said.

Mr House said after taking over as chief constable in 2007 he met editors to outline the relationship he wanted. He added: "Contact with the media is part of the job but must be within certain bounds, professional and for the public good."

Jonathan Russell, editor-in-chief of The Herald & Times Group, told the inquiry there should be no payments made by the media to police officers for information.

But he felt individual officers could be "better trained to be less distrustful and more open" with the media where it does not interfere with investigations.

"In my experience, my paper's current relationship with the police is a good template for how a force and newspaper interact. It is professional, mutually beneficial and conflicts of interest are avoided," Mr Russell said.

Earlier, questions were raised about News International hiring Andy Hayman, an ex-assistant commissioner of the Met who oversaw Scotland Yard's probe into phone hacking at the News of the World in 2006. Sean O'Neill, crime editor of The Times, denied the paper had made him a columnist as a "favour". He said a report criticising relations between police and the media had created a "climate of fear".