Detective Chief superintendent David Cook (left) was allegedly under surveillance by News of the World during an investigation into the murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan (right)

Friday, May 25, 2012

#Leveson #pressreform : Scotland Yard And Lord Stevens Grim Joke. The MET Are Murdoch's Boys!

Scotland Yard Operation Elveden is a grim in-joke to indicate they would make sure the accusations never went anywhere!
Operation Weeting is the investigation into the News of the World phone hacking itself. Weeting is the village at the southern end of the notorious Elveden traffic jam.” There was never going to be any form of justice for Daniel Morgan ever !

2.25pm: Stevens has now finished his testimony.

2.21pm: Jay asks id Stevens is being "diffident" about his reasons for leaving the News of the World because he was picking up rumours about phone hacking. Stevens says no, this wasn't the reason for ending his column at the News of the World.
[It was the] convictions of Goodman and Mulcaire, my thoughts about that and the thoughts about the admission of that and the resignation of Andy Coulson....
The whole thing just didn't seem right to me and I had to get out.
2.19pm: Stevens is asked about the investigation into the murder of Daniel Morgan and if he was aware the News of the World put detective Dave Cook and his wife Jacqui Hames, under surveillance.

Stevens says: "No."

2.18pm: Stevens says he became aware that a number of newspapers were receiving information from an unidentified police officer.

This individual and those surrounding him were selling stories to whoever would buy them. Some of it was "salacious gossip".

2.17pm: They are now talking about private investigator Southern Investigations.
Stevens says he was never aware that News of the World used it.

In his book his says that at the end of the 1990s it kept coming up in the "anti-corruption squad's radar".

The agency was set up by murdered private eye Daniel Morgan.

2.15pm: Stevens says he used to meet the MPA at least once a week. Most of them were experienced people.

Lord Harris of Haringey, the first chair of the MPA, had decided that all of these meetings should be open. Stevens said it was an examination beyond what he had experienced before.

2.05pm: The inquiry has resumed and Jay is revisits Stevens's remarks about "unethical behaviour" that led him to sever his ties with the News of the World, where he was contracted to write a column.

He says this revolved around an article concerning Max Mosley.

Jay points out that the infamous article about Mosley appeared in April 2008, but Stevens had terminated his contract in October 2007.

Stevens is pressed on what he means by "unethical behaviour". "General behaviour," he says.

Asked whether this means phone hacking or behaviour more widely, he says: "Just more widely."

1.00pm: The inquiry has now broken for lunch and will resume at 2pm.

1.00pm: Stevens says he had a system called "ethical testing" and that strategy – which wasn't far from being an "agent provocateur" – did not turn up "any real issue on my watch".

12.58pm: Stevens says he was aware of allegations of corruption in relation to the press.
"Every now and then" he heard stories that people either still employed or retired were being paid for stories or for tipping people off about where raids were taking place.

12.56pm: Asked about politicians, Stevens says the former home secretary David Blunkett briefed the press against him behind his back.

He says Blunkett didn't understand his relationship with the Metropolitan Police Authority.

12.54pm: Jay returns to the issue of leaks – this time in relation to Stevens's Northern Ireland inquiries.

He says he can usually work out who is gaining by the leak, but it is a "very difficult business" identifying the person responsible.

However, there were prosecutions for leaks in Northern Ireland.

He says at the Met his deputy, Ian Blair, would have been responsible for leak inquiries.

12.49pm: Stevens says he does not think "professional relationships could have been fostered without some sort of hospitality".

"This is the way they did business – if you didn't do it that way, they probably wouldn't see you," says Stevens.

12.48pm: Stevens revisits his dealings with Rebekah Wade and Paul Dacre, reiterating that his meetings with the former concerned Sarah's Law and the latter was very keen on the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

12.46pm: Stevens says he has heard people in the Met "are terrified" of picking up the phone to the press in the current climate.

12.37pm: Stevens says he was paid £5,000 each for the first two News of the World articles, which was a vast amount as far as he was concerned, but he "was told this was the going rate". Wallis edited the articles.

He quit after two articles because of the conviction of NoW royal editor Clive Goodman and investigator Glenn Mulcaire for phone hacking in 2007.

Stevens resigned the contract in October 2007 which was nine months or so after the convictions.

He revealed however that when the convictions were taking place, "certain other information was coming to my ears" which alarmed him. "I didn't just want to do it," he adds.
Stevens says:
I didn't complete that contract because of the conviction that took place of the two people in the News of the World, and I saw Colin Myler and Neil Wallis and told them I didn't want to continue. I never gave them specific reasons, but from that night on I never saw them again.
The remaining five articles were negotiated at £7,000 apiece.
"With five articles to write it was throwing away a lot of money," he says.
"I'd never have written the articles had I known what I know now."

12.34pm: Jay moves on to the "revolving door" between police and the press following retirement.
Stevens was hired to write seven articles for the News of the World, arranged by his book publisher through managing editor Stuart Kuttner. This was part of the package negotiated around his autobiography Not for the Faint Hearted.
He reveals he lost all the proceeds from his autobiography after the Northern Rock bank collapsed.

12.30pm: Jay quotes the Met's 2003 gifts and hospitality policy. It says the perception of suspicion is as important as the facts.

It says light working lunches in the region of £10 are acceptable, but £150 dinners are not, except in exceptional circumstances.

Jay says private dinners raise a difficult issue.

12.29pm: Stevens says he found it difficult to get some stories into the papers. For example, Scotland Yard held awards to commend officers on their bravery every six weeks to two months, and it was "incredibly difficult" to get coverage.

12.27pm: Stevens agrees with Condon's evidence that the press should not be "pariahs".
To use Lord Condon's pharase they weren't pariahs; they were highly professional people who I respected immensely.
12.26pm: Stevens says he had to sue the press twice.
Once was when he complained to the PCC after it was reported he believed in legalising cannabis and the second time was inaccurate reporting on his level of pay.

12.22pm: Stevens says he finds it hard to criticise his successors, but says he thinks he would have been "ruthless" on phone hacking.
I would like to have thought the issues that the Guardian raised I would have picked up as commissioner. I think I would have been quite ruthless in pursuing it.
Stevens says he would have gone where the investigation took him wherever that may be.
"I know of no other way of pursuing wrongdoing," he says.

12.22pm: Stevens is asked how he would describe his relationship with Neil Wallis.
"It was totally professional," says Stevens. "I never went to his house or he to mine."

12.19pm: In 2002, there was dinner with Neil Wallis at Convivio. This was one of the two charity events Stevens referred to ealier.

In September 2003, Stevens dined with the News of the World's Wallis, Andy Coulson and Stuart Kutter, as well as Dick Fedorcio. This was part of the general pattern of meeting with editors, he says.

12.16pm: In 2002, there was dinner with Rebekah Wade and her then husband Ross Kemp at the Ivy.

Stevens says from 2000 to 2005, he met up with Wade 12 times, three times of which were for charity.

"Ross Kemp very kindly agreed to front an evening," he says. "My wife was at two of these and on one of those ocassions I personally paid at the Ivy."

12.14pm: In Oct/Nov 2000, there was a meeting with Wallis and Waheed Alii – the former Planet 24 owner and now Labour peer. Stevens wanted Alli, who was a friend of Wallis, as an adviser to the Met.

In June 2001 there was a dinner with Neil Wallis, editor of the People.

12.12pm: On 16 October 2000, Stevens had lunch with Rebekah Wade, editor of the News of the World, with Andy Coulson in a hotel in W1 – he thinks that was the Sanderson Hotel.
"I always saw Rebekah Wade with the DPA," he says. "She was pursuing Sarah's Law and at that stage she had threats to her … so the conversations were Sarah's Law and [issues] pursuant to that."

12.11pm: Stevens's diary details a dinner with Neil Wallis, the former deputy editor of the News of the World, at the Birdcage, a restaurant in London W1, in 2000.
Stevens says he met Wallis twice with their wives in relation to a charity.

12.10pm: Stevens's diary shows he had frequent meetings with the press across all newspapers. On occasion there were dinners with Paul Dacre, editor-in-chief of the Daily Mail.

He says he did not favour one newspaper group and the diary bears this out.

12.09pm: Lord Stevens's witness statement has now been published on the Leveson inquiry website.

12.07pm: Stevens said he had lunches with the editors of all papers but Dick Fedorcio, the director of public affairs, would always attend.

He had more frequent – quarterly – meetings with Evening Standard editors Sir Max Hastings and Veronica Wadley because he considered it the "local newspaper for London".

12.06pm: Lord Condon's witness statement has now been published on the Leveson inquiry website.

12.05pm: Stevens says he was keen to take media on police operations because it showed how the Met was tackling crime.

However, like Condon, he says it shouldn't interfere with an individual's right to a fair trial.

12.04pm: Stevens says the people who are on the frontline tell the story "far better" than senior officers. But there are always inherent risks in allowing officers to speak to journalists.
"The risk is you are exposing people who haven't had full training in dealing with the press," he adds.

11.57am: Stevens explains what he means by "off the record", and says it depended on the context. He says if a police officer is offering comment it is "very dangerous territory".
He says it is in the public interest for the police to give off-the-record briefings to editors, for example, on anti-terrorism.

Stevens adds he is cynical about the phrase "police sources" as it could cover an officer who is not involved in the story or someone who may not even be in the police force.

11.52am: Stevens drew up a policy to reinforce confidence in the force and part of this involved a strategy in relation to the media covering three areas: proactive; reactive; and media training.

He says he was one of first officers to get media training, and was told on an an FBI course: "Never to tell lies to the press."

Stevens says the policy required officers to be "open and honest".

11.49am: The Met's relationship with the media was built on mistrust before he arrived as deputy commissioner in 1998, says Condon.

He adds that the reason people didn't want to deal with the media was because they thought it would be counterproductive and they would be criticised.

11.47am: Stevens is currently the chair of Labour's "independent review" into the future of policing, which has all-party support.

He says he hopes it will take into account the Leveson inquiry's findings and report next year.

11.46am: Stevens says he wanted to engineer a culture change, which he says were successful.
Complaints against the police had dropped 50%; crime was coming down; and the Met had managed to divert IRA terrorist attacks.

11.45am: Stevens says his new policy was not to banish bad news stories – the nature of policing means there are always bad news stories – but he wanted to allow "officers on the street to tell their stories far more in a positive fashion".
"I know good news doesn't sell newspapers or the media, but we were going to try and do some of that," he tells the inquiry.

11.44am: Stevens says the Met was dealing with crisis management, but dealing with the media was only one part of the strategy.
"The media were a major part of it, but it was a matter of getting on the front foot … and getting the anti-corruption practices that we developed at that time.
11.42am: Stevens says the Met lost hundreds of officers in the wake of the Macpherson report and by 2000 it found recruitment difficult.
"No one thought the Met was an organisation worth joining," he adds.

11.40am: As deputy commissioner at the Met from 1998, Stevens oversaw a major anti-corruption initiative.

The Macpherson report into the death of Stephen Lawrence was published in 1999 and found the police force was institutionally racist.
Jay asks how that affected his relationship with the media.
Stevens says it had a "massive effect" because ordinary officers felt they were all being painted as racist.

11.39am: Stevens joined the police in 1962 and remained there for 23 years. He took a break and returned to the force in Hampshire and Cambridge.
He had a standout stint in northern Ireland where he led what turned out to be a 20-year investigation into alleged collusion between loyalists and the police force.

11.35am: The inquiry has resumed and Condon's successor as Met commissioner, Lord Stevens, takes the stand.

Robery Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, is doing the questioning.