Feeds

Scotland Yard under fire over ex-Murdoch man role

Cop watchdog: 'Professional boundaries became blurred'

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

Senior Met police officials "breached" Scotland Yard employment policies and demonstrated "poor judgment" when it came to their relationship with Neil Wallis – a former News of the World deputy editor – the UK's cop watchdog said today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also confirmed today that it had planned to bring allegations of gross misconduct against Scotland Yard's erstwhile public affairs director Dick Fedorcio. It could not pursue the allegations after Fedorcio resigned, however.

Wallis left the NotW in June 2009. By August of that year Fedorcio asked the-then Met assistant commissioner John Yates if Wallis' company, Chamy Media, could be employed by the Yard to provide additional public relations support while his deputy was out of action.

The IPCC noted that Yates considered it a "sensible proposal". However, the commission said Fedorcio had "a case to answer" in relation to the hiring of Wallis at the MPS.

"We found that he employed Mr Wallis prior to a written contract being agreed thereby compromising the competitive process that should have been followed," it said.

"Mr Fedorcio also failed to monitor the contract and to ensure Mr Wallis was appropriately vetted and he did not identify to the police authority the nature of Mr Wallis’ employment.

"The MPS decided that he faced allegations of gross misconduct. Mr Fedorcio chose to resign shortly afterwards."

IPCC deputy commissioner Deborah Glass said that it was not possible to prevent a police employee from quitting ahead of any gross misconduct proceedings. She acknowledged that the practice of cops quitting before such scrutiny could take place was "hugely damaging to public confidence".

The IPCC separately probed Yates' decision to forward the CV of Wallis' daughter to the Met's now-retired human resources director, Martin Tiplady, had not amounted to misconduct but concluded he had used "poor judgment".

Yates left the capital's police service in July just as the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's Sunday tabloid, News of the World, erupted.

In the same month, Wallis was arrested by police and later bailed on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications. No charges have been brought against the ex-Wapping exec.

Yates came under sharp criticism after it was revealed that he had spent just one day in 2009 looking at the initial investigation into voicemail interception evidence, but that he had concluded at that point that there was nothing worth pursuing further.

"Despite the growing phone-hacking scandal, which must have exercised the MPS at a senior level and which was beginning to damage the reputation of the Metropolitan Police in late 2009, senior people appear to have been oblivious to the perception of conflict," Glass said.

"It is clear to me that professional boundaries became blurred, imprudent decisions taken and poor judgment shown by senior police personnel."

She added that "none of the senior personnel referred to in these reports are still serving” and said that the cop watchdog had recommended to Scotland Yard that they review their practices to ensure that they "are not susceptible to allegations of interference or favouritism."

Murdoch empire faces phone-hack lawsuits in US

Separately, it has been reported that News Corp, which owns News International, is facing three phone-hacking lawsuits in the US.

Fleet Street lawyer Mark Lewis, who represented the parents of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, told the Daily Beast that cases were expected to be filed in the States within the next few weeks.

He did not reveal specifics of the planned lawsuits, but did tell the website that all the subjects were "high-profile".

It's understood that one alleged victim of phone-hacking is connected to the royal household and the late Princess Diana. Another victim is reportedly linked to England's football team, while the third is said to be someone who was an associate of a Hollywood celebrity, and therefore alleged to have been a target for phone-hacking.

“It’s not just the people who were A-list or celebrities, but people who were in their circles — people who might call them or work with them, what I would call the ordinary people who just got caught in the crossfire,” said Lewis. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
US Social Security 'wasted $300 million on an IT BOONDOGGLE'
Scrutiny committee bods probe derailed database project
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves
Big Content could get the right to order ISPs to stop traffic
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.