Feeds

Scotland Yard under fire over ex-Murdoch man role

Cop watchdog: 'Professional boundaries became blurred'

New hybrid storage solutions

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Show us your Five-Eyes SECRETS says Privacy International
Refusal to disclose GCHQ canteen menus and prices triggers Euro Human Rights Court action
Heavy VPN users are probably pirates, says BBC
And ISPs should nab 'em on our behalf
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Former Bitcoin Foundation chair pleads guilty to money-laundering charge
Charlie Shrem plea deal could still get him five YEARS in chokey
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.