IPCC to probe four senior officers

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The Independent Online

The police watchdog has been asked to investigate four former and serving senior Metropolitan Police officers over their handling of the phone-hacking scandal.

This includes an allegation that former assistant commissioner John Yates "inappropriately" secured a Scotland Yard job for the daughter of hacking suspect Neil Wallis, a source said.

The conduct of ex-commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson will also be examined. Both he and Mr Yates announced their resignations after coming under intense pressure as the hacking scandal widened.

Five separate issues have been referred by the Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees Scotland Yard, to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

The IPCC has been asked to look into Sir Paul's actions as the officer with overall responsibility for Scotland Yard's investigation into phone hacking at the News of the World.

It is also considering Mr Yates's decision in 2009 that there was no need to re-open the hacking inquiry and allegations that he inappropriately secured a job for a friend's daughter.

The IPCC refused to give any more details about the details of the referral.

The Metropolitan Police Authority has also asked the watchdog to examine the conduct of two former senior Met officers involved in the original phone-hacking investigation.

It is understood they are ex-assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, who was in ultimate charge of the 2006 inquiry and later become a columnist with News International title The Times, and ex-deputy assistant commissioner Peter Clarke, who oversaw the investigation.

IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said: "The role of the Met Police in its original investigation into phone hacking has rightly come under huge public scrutiny.

"These matters are already the subject of a judge-led public inquiry announced on July 13 which is looking into the way in which police investigated allegations of conduct by persons connected to News International.

"I now need to assess these referrals carefully to determine what should be investigated at this stage, bearing in mind the judicial inquiry, and I will seek to liaise with Lord Justice Leveson as soon as possible.

"I will publish our terms of reference once I have carefully reviewed the material referred to us.

"To the extent that these referrals raise serious allegations about senior Met officers, it is right that they be independently investigated - and I will ensure that our investigation follows the evidence without fear or favour.

"It must also be right that people do not rush to judgment until that work is done."

In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) said: "The MPS was informed by the Metropolitan Police Authority, after their professional standards sub-committee meeting this morning, that they had decided to make a referral to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

"We weren't aware that there was complaint against the commissioner prior to this notification.

"We understand the IPCC are now considering the referrals of Sir Paul Stephenson, John Yates and two ex-officers."