A report into corruption between police officers and journalists will be made public “imminently”, the Independent Police Complaints Commission told the Leveson Inquiry today.
Shortly after the Metropolitan Police began investigating bribery by newspapers last July, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, ordered the IPCC to investigate the scale of corruption of police officers.
Sue Akers, Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met, revealed at the Leveson Inquiry last month that evidence examined by her force’s Operation Elveden into corruption of public officials suggested The Sun had been paying bribes of tens of thousands of pounds to a “network of corrupted officials”.
Giving evidence to Lord Leveson’s inquiry into press standards today, Jane Furniss, IPCC chief executive, said that between 2006 and 2011 the IPCC received 5,179 complaints about improper disclosure of information, ranging from information being sold to organised crime to an officer accessing the Police National Computer to check his daughter’s new boyfriend.
However Ms Furniss, who revealed the IPCC would “imminently” send its report to Parliament, said: “It doesn’t reveal endemic corruption between police officers and journalists. It’s much wider...it will provide a lot of context.”
She added there was misconception about the extent of corruption by the media. “There are often times when people believe that information has found its way into the press as a result of leaking when actually it’s the result of people both in the police, in the IPCC, in public bodies having information and other members of families, friends, individuals providing information - and journalists who are good at this, add it all together and then it looks as if someone has leaked information,” she said.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officer, warned against making the rule of contact between journalists “so rigid… that we actually spoil what is a crucial relationship with the media and that officers don’t feel too fettered in having sensible, professional conversations across all ranks."
Referring to his tenure as the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Sir Hugh praised Ulster based reporters for informing him. He described the relationship as “parasitic”, saying he benefited “far more from their information than anything I had to say to them”.