Former Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton would have a case to answer for misconduct in relation to an incident during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry of 1998, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has concluded.But no action can be taken as Mr Walton, the former head of Scotland Yard’s counter terror command, retired earlier this year just six days after the IPCC submitted its findings to the force.The report by the police watchdog found that Mr Walton would have a case to answer over a meeting he held with an undercover officer during which it was alleged he obtained information about the family of the murdered black teenager and their supporters.The report said his actions could have potentially undermined the public inquiry into the case and public confidence in it.
Robbins’s response is now being examined by the Advertiser’s lawyers and the newspaper has 28 days to ask the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate the matter.
I sincerely hope the publisher, Local World, decides to do so. It is, quite simply, unacceptable for the Met to treat a journalist like this. I am beginning to wonder whether the Met is becoming a law unto itself. Witness its use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to access reporters’ communications data. Witness its over-use of police bail against journalists. Witness its policy of unhelpfulness towards crime reporters.
Surely, and I use the word advisedly, the Met is now best described as a rogue force.
Scotland Yard has been accused of obstructing an independent inquiry into one of the biggest scandals in its history, which saw a man murdered allegedly as he was about to expose corrupt officers. The inquiry into the murder of private eye Daniel Morgan – found with an axe embedded in his head in March 1987 – was ordered by the home secretary, Theresa May, in May 2013.
Police promised to cooperate with the inquiry but delayed handing over any case papers for 18 months.
Alastair Morgan, brother of the murdered private detective, has accused the police of obstruction and exacerbating the pain of his family. He has fought for nearly three decades for the truth about those who killed his brother, and those who shielded them. He said: “They have delayed and obstructed the panel.”
A senior backbench MP also criticised the Metropolitan police, blaming the force for delaying the start of the inquiry. Labour MP Tom Watson said: “It is extraordinary that a case involving police corruption has taken nearly two years to yield even a single document. Even for the Met it is a remarkable state of affairs.”
“They are clearly refusing to cooperate with an inquiry that is in the public interest and has the authority of the home secretary.”
The article highlights one extraordinary event which has never really been explained:
The inquiry potentially offers fresh embarrassment for Rupert Murdoch. In 2002, the NoW placed under surveillance the head of the Morgan murder investigation, former detective chief superintendent David Cook – allegedly on the orders of an executive.
The paper followed Cook, “blagged” his personal details from police databases, and tried to access his voicemail and that of his then wife.
Why did the NoW threaten the Cook in this way? Surely not as a favour for someone within the Met. That would be a conspiracy theory too far.
It seemed extraordinary after such an embarrassing public reverse that the Metropolitan police should have continued to charge people who were the subject of Mahmood’s revelations.
That struck Egan, too. Since the collapse of the Contostavlos trial she has fired off letters to the Met, the CPS and Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, calling for a proper investigation into all of Mahmood’s stories.
In her letter to Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, she also expresses her amazement that his force held a secret inquiry called Operation Canopus into Mahmood’s journalistic methodology in the wake of the kidnap trial, but did not contact her.
So there are questions for the Met, the CPS and News UK. I’m afraid it sounds like another job for Sir Brian Leveson all over again.
The Met, the CPS and News UK.
Over the two-year timeframe, Yates repeated his misleading version of events to two Commons select committees and visited the Guardian to complain to the editor, Alan Rusbridger, about the paper’s coverage. Later, he threatened to sue the Guardian for publishing claims that he had misled parliament. Yates and Hayman specifically denied that Prescott had been a victim even though Caryatid in August 2006 had found evidence Mulcaire had been intercepting his voicemail from the phone of his special adviser, Joan Hammell.
The home affairs select committee criticised Hayman for his “cavalier attitude” towards his social contact with News International staff being investigated by his detectives and suggested this had “risked seriously undermining confidence in the impartiality of the police”. They also accused him of “deliberate prevarication in order to mislead the committee”.
Leveson found that Yates had adopted an “inappropriately dismissive and close-minded attitude” to the scandal and had been dogmatic and defensive in his comments.
Neither the select committee nor Leveson concluded Hayman, Yates or anybody else at Scotland Yard had let their judgment be influenced by contact with or fear of News International. Leveson concluded that although there had been “a series of poor decisions, poorly executed”, there was no evidence to challenge the integrity of the senior police officers concerned.
On the specific questions raised by the new information from the Old Bailey trial, there is no evidence at all – no phone records, no diaries, no internal memos, no expenses records, no interviews with the key players – because Scotland Yard has failed to commission the inquiry which might have found it. The questions hang there, looking for an answer.
Andrew Mitchell was repeatedly denied entry on his bicycle to Downing Street by armed police officers more than a year before the so-called Plebgate incident in September 2012, prompting a formal complaint by No 10 to the Met.
A “restricted” letter from the head of security in the prime minister’s office to the Met’s diplomatic protection group in June 2011, released by No 10, warned that there was “no just reason” why Mitchell should have been prevented from entering Downing Street on his bike.
“I am writing formally to complain about the conduct of your officers who manage access into the rear of Downing Street at D11,” John Groves, the head of security and business continuity in Downing Street, wrote in a letter on 7 June 2011 to Inspector Ken Russell of the Met’s diplomatic protection group (DPG). Groves added: “I cannot see any just reason why access was refused.”
This really is all very odd.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) made repeated attempts to silence a whistleblower who exposed the widespread manipulation of crime statistics, it has emerged.
Documents seen by the Guardian show that senior officers made three separate attempts to stop PC James Patrick speaking out over the course of less than five months. In one letter, they went so far as to insist he be barred from having any contact with any member of the public.
He was sent two further letters within a few days this month warning him about interviews he intended to do with the BBC. He was told he faced further disciplinary action if he continued to speak out. He was eventually referred to the directorate of professional standards after he did the interviews, in which he said the Met “puts reputation before the truth”.
As a result of Patrick’s evidence to the public administration select committee, the head of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary Tom Winsor admitted that the manipulation of crime figures was taking place. The UK Statistics Authority withdrew the Met’s gold standard national statistics status.
The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, was forced to admit the numbers were being fiddled and said the issue was a cause for concern.
Bernard Jenkin, the chair of the parliamentary committee that investigated the manipulation of crime stats, said: “The most depressing part of our inquiry is the way in which the Metropolitan police have treated my constituent, PC James Patrick, who was our key witness.”
You can tell a lot about an organisation by the way it treats whistleblowers.
The Metropolitan Police corruption scandal has deepened after The Independent uncovered the existence of a previously secret investigation into criminal officers that went much further than the files destroyed by Scotland Yard.
Operation Zloty, a wide-ranging inquiry spanning at least nine years, found dozens of rogue detectives in the employ of organised crime and operating with “virtual immunity”.
The “long-term intelligence development operation” included information on police corruption originally gathered by 17 other investigations – including Operation Othona, the contents of which were inexplicably shredded sometime around 2003.
Separately, The Independent explores the links between this and the death of Daniel Moran.
The lord chief justice has warned police that they risk damaging their image of independence after Scotland Yard acted on behalf of big business in a private prosecution during which they received a promise of money.
Virgin Media offered the Metropolitan police a 25% share of compensation recovered from fraudsters the company had targeted in a private prosecution, in which the Met used its powers of arrest and search as part of the private prosecution.
Lord Thomas said it was essential that ministers, police chiefs and those supposed to hold them to account gave “very urgent consideration” to the practice.
In the judgment, Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Foskett and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said the agreement between Virgin and the Met risked damaging the police’s reputation for independence.
He said: “It did in fact provide an incentive for the police to devote resources to assisting Virgin in their claim for compensation and gave rise to a perception that their independence was being compromised.”
Just astonishing. I hope the well-paid plod who made this decision considers the Lord Chief Justice’s advice quickly. Once again, where is Boris Johnson’s oversight?
The Leveson Inquiry dismissed a police intelligence report that detailed an apparently corrupt relationship between a very senior former officer and the News of the World.
The classified document, dated April 2006, alleged that the officer was obtaining highly confidential information on decisions taken by Lord Blair when he was the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and passing it on to the now defunct Sunday tabloid.
Robert Jay, the lead counsel to the Leveson Inquiry, who is now a judge, had stated that Scotland Yard did not provide him with a copy of the intelligence report until April 2012 – six weeks after it could have been raised publicly with Lord Blair in the hearings. Mr Jay did say, though, that he had been aware of the report’s existence earlier.
As Tom Watson MP, says: “It appears that the murky relationships between senior police officers and News of the World (NoTW) executives have still not been properly investigated. This should be looked into by a parliamentary select committee.”