The IPCC has today notified four (senior and former senior) Metropolitan Police officers of decisions made in relation to referrals made to the IPCC by the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) in the wake of the ‘phone hacking scandal’.
The MPA made referrals in relation to former Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, former Assistant Commissioners, John Yates and Andy Hayman and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke.
The IPCC has made an independent assessment of these referrals and has decided the following:
o That in relation to their alleged respective roles in the “phone hacking” investigation, the conduct of none of these officers amounts to recordable conduct;
o That in relation to the separate matter regarding John Yates’s alleged involvement in securing employment for the daughter of Neil Wallis, this will be the subject of an independent investigation.
IPCC Deputy Chair Deborah Glass said, “The role of the Metropolitan Police in its response to allegations of phone hacking by News of the World has rightly come under huge public scrutiny. There can be no doubt about the damaging effect of the perceived inadequate response – in particular, the failure to notify its many apparent victims – on public confidence. Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates both acknowledged this in their decisions to resign.
“But while there can be little doubt of the effect on the public’s mind about the series of revelations regarding connections between senior police officers and News International, the IPCC must identify what is, and what is not, conduct that needs to be investigated. A clear line must be drawn between what is a recordable conduct matter – in effect, conduct that is either criminal or for which an officer should be disciplined - and public concerns that will be addressed and scrutinised by Lord Justice Leveson’s public inquiry.
“In making these decisions I have considered the supporting documentation provided by the MPA and the remit of the IPCC. I have also considered the background to the MPS response to phone hacking, transcripts of evidence of all four individuals to the Home Affairs Select Committee, the report of that Committee, the extensive media reporting of these matters and the role of the Leveson Inquiry, whose team I have met.
“In relation to Sir Paul Stephenson, his conduct was referred by the MPA because of his responsibility for the alleged failings of John Yates. But while he is in principle answerable for decisions made on his watch as Commissioner for the Metropolis, I do not think he committed a misconduct offence because one of his officers may have carried out a poor investigation.
“I also considered whether the public interest requires any other matter to be investigated by the IPCC, including Sir Paul’s acceptance of hospitality from a family friend at Champneys Medical, unconnected to his professional life, while he was on sick leave. The public will make its own judgements about whether any senior public official should accept hospitality to this extent from anyone - or indeed about a policy which regards hospitality as acceptable merely because it is disclosed. But whether or not the acceptance of hospitality amounts to recordable conduct, I do not consider that it is necessary to investigate it further. Sir Paul Stephenson has given a public account of his actions and of course, has resigned.
“In relation to John Yates, considering that he has been questioned about his involvement in phone hacking over many hours in six separate Parliamentary sessions, it is difficult to see what further investigation would achieve. We would agree that he made a poor decision in 2009. He himself has acknowledged that, given what is now known, he made a poor decision for which he has now taken responsibility. Had no new investigation into phone hacking begun this may well have been a recommendation, but the current investigation which started in January 2011 makes this unnecessary.
“In relation to Peter Clarke, who was responsible for the original investigation, he has explained the parameters of the investigation, as well as the reasons why the huge volume of material seized at the time was not subject to analysis. Had a complaint been made about the original investigation, fairness would require any investigation to consider whether his decision to set narrow parameters was reasonable and proportionate in all the circumstances as they existed at the time, which included some 70 live operations relating to terrorist plots.
“In relation to Andy Hayman, while the original investigation was within his command, he was not responsible for it. Although not referred to us by the MPA, his social contacts with News International and subsequent employment by the Times have been criticised. While there are serious issues that need to be scrutinised about the extent of contact between senior police officers and the media, and particularly around hospitality, in the absence of any actual evidence of impropriety these are, in my view, for the Inquiry to explore.
“The IPCC is now involved in three investigations in relation to these matters – an independent investigation into the Chamy media contract and the MPS Director of Public Affairs, an independent investigation into John Yates’s alleged involvement in securing a job for the daughter of Neil Wallis, and a supervised investigation into alleged police corruption that is linked to the current phone hacking investigation, Operation Weeting.
“Should any further evidence emerge, through our investigations or from the Leveson Inquiry, of any impropriety by an officer, retired or otherwise of any rank, I would expect it to be recorded by the appropriate authority and referred to the IPCC. On this basis I will keep all of these decisions under review as the Inquiry progresses”.
The assessment and rationale behind these decisions can be found in full here http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/Documents/MPA%20referrals%20decision%2017%20Aug%202011.pdf
Issued by Trish Keville, Press Officer for London and south east on 0207 166 3130.
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