Blunders not corruption led to bungled police response

Report finds no reason to question Met’s integrity, but casts doubt on competence

The senior Scotland Yard officer John Yates misled the public when refusing to open a new investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World, the inquiry found.

Lord Justice Leveson decided that the Metropolitan Police was right to limit its original inquiry in 2006 because of a surge in terrorism following the 7/7 bombings on the London transport system the previous year. But he said Mr Yates should not have dismissed the need for a new inquiry in 2009 amid accusations of widespread wrongdoing at News International’s headquarters at Wapping.

In 2009 a story in The Guardian suggested hundreds of people could have been the victim of hacking by the NOTW. Then, Mr Yates, an Assistant Commissioner, dismissed any need for a new investigation after a review lasting just a few hours. He maintained there was no evidence of widespread wrongdoing at Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper. Lord Justice Leveson said: “The error of judgement in deciding on immediate and prompt dismissal of the allegations by press announcement that afternoon should have been apparent at the time.”

By 2009, Mr Yates had been a long-standing friend of the NOTW’s deputy editor, Neil Wallis, which, the Leveson Inquiry said, meant that “he would have been better advised to arrange for a different officer to conduct” the review. Among Mr Yates’s “inaccurate” public statements was the assertion that hacking had only been used against “a far smaller number of individuals” [rather than hundreds] and that there was insufficient evidence of hacking “in the vast majority of cases”.

The Leveson Report said: “Given the discoveries Operation Caryatid [the original hacking inquiry] had made, these statements were wholly inaccurate.” The inquiry said: “Mr Yates ought to have known it was not safe to state that there was nothing to warrant any reconsideration of the investigation.”

Overall, the report said Scotland Yard had mishandled the accusations against the NOTW because of “a defensive mindset” and combination of blunders. However, it said there was no evidence of corruption among senior ranks at Scotland Yard and said a fear of the NOTW was not responsible for the inadequacy of its investigations.

The report acknowledged there was “a concern” that senior police officers had become too close to News International’s executives. However, it concluded: “I am satisfied that I have seen no basis at any stage [to question] the integrity of the police, or that of the senior officers concerned. What is, however, clear is that a series of poor decisions, poorly executed, came together to contribute to the perception that I have recognised.”

Clean hands: Recommendations

*Chief police officers should keep public record of meetings with media.

*Forces should consider banning officers taking jobs in the media for 12 months after leaving the police.

*Police should not name or identify those arrested, except in exceptional circumstances.

*They should not term briefings “off the record”, which can be misunderstood, but, instead, “non-reportable” or “embargoed”.

*HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, rather than a force’s own professional standards department, should investigate whistleblowers’ allegations against senior officers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Analytics Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client who are a leading organisation...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices