Jenny Jones to re-quiz Met Commissioner over police payments from newspapers

7 July 2011

Jenny Jones, the Green Party's London 2012 Mayoral candidate and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), is to continue to question the police on the issue of illegal police payments from newspaper organisations.

This follows the revelations that News International have email confirmation that such payments have been made. Jenny Jones first brought this to the attention of the MPA in July 2009, when the Assistant Commissioner confirmed that payments to police officers had been made in the past but there was no investigation into police corruption in 2009 with regard to illegal payments. [1]

The challenge will take place at the next MPA meeting later this month [2].

Jenny Jones said:

"I will be asking the Commissioner to reassure the public that all the officers involved in Operation Weeting and Operation Elveden have clean hands and have not received payments or gifts for information from journalists and investigators in the past.

"There is a public suspicion that this has been a widespread practice in the past with the police providing tip offs and nuggets of information to journalists and photographers. I would be happy with a simple statement being made by officers of all ranks involved in both the current investigation and the initial investigation, that they have not received such payments at any point in their careers."

Notes

1) Transcript of the meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority held on 23 July 2009 at 10 a.m. in the Chamber, City Hall, SE1.

Jenny Jones (AM): There were also - not quite allegations - insinuations that police officers had taken money either to give information or to stop exploring criminal activities. Are you looking into that?

John Yates (Assistant Commissioner): Again, I think that refers to a very, very old story back in 2003 when Rebekah Wade [Editor, The Sun; Chief Executive Elect News International], when she was then editor of a national newspaper, where she disclosed to a select committee in 2003 that they had paid money for stories to police officers. So, that was six or seven years ago. Does that ever happen? Yes, of course it does happen on occasion and there have been instances in the past when it has happened and we have investigated it very thoroughly, but are we looking at it at the moment? No, we are not.

Clive Lawton (AM): I am sorry, I want to just return briefly to the matter concerning phone tapping and so forth and then to the other question I wanted to ask. Just to clarify in this matter of what would clearly be corruption, are you saying that no police officers have sold information or access to information or no police officers have been identified as selling access to information or no police officers have been prosecuted for selling access to information? It is not clear to me where we are up to.

John Yates (Assistant Commissioner): Several police officers, past and present, either ex or current, have over the past number of years been prosecuted for selling information like off the PNC and the like.

Clive Lawton (AM): In this particular flurry?

John Yates (Assistant Commissioner): Nothing to suggest that is the case at all in this investigation.

Sir Paul Stephenson (Commissioner): Could I just add something there,
Clive [Lawton]?

Clive Lawton (AM): Yes.

Sir Paul Stephenson (Commissioner): If there was we would investigate it robustly because it is straightforward criminal activity.

Clive Lawton (AM): Yes. No, I understand that.

Boris Johnson (Chairman): Could I just ask a question? Forgive me but do I understand that some officers have been prosecuted successfully for selling information and still remain officers?

John Yates (Assistant Commissioner): That is unlikely.

Boris Johnson (Chairman): No. That is not possible, is it?

John Yates (Assistant Commissioner): It is possible depending on the level of offending. It will be dealt with in a proportionate way in terms of what they have done.

Boris Johnson (Chairman): Right.

Sir Paul Stephenson (Commissioner): As far as I am concerned it is straightforward corruption and ought to be dealt with in that way. It is just something that cannot be tolerated.

Boris Johnson (Chairman): Right, I do not know how many Members of the MPA I speak for but I would have thought that if an officer is successfully prosecuted for selling information then it would be very difficult for him to remain an officer.

2) The next MPA meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday July 28th at City Hall.

 


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