Feeds

Scotland Yard under fire over ex-Murdoch man role

Cop watchdog: 'Professional boundaries became blurred'

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.