Met chief refuses 'false' apology over dead children's identities

 

Britain's most senior police officer said today an apology for the use of dead children's identities would be “pretty false” as investigators do not yet know who is affected.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe insisted that there is no reluctance to say sorry after claims that undercover officers used the details to shore up their fake personas.

“I regret if anybody's been hurt by what happened. The main issue we've got is not a reluctance to apologise to anybody badly affected by it, it is actually establishing the facts,” he said.

“These are historical events. We are desperately trying to understand what happened, how many times did it happen and who is affected by it.

“Frankly, it would be a pretty false apology if we were to make it today because we don't even know who is affected by it.

“There's no reluctance to apologise once we've established the facts.”

His comments echo those of deputy assistant commissioner Patricia Gallan, who told MPs earlier this month that investigators were focusing on getting to the truth and that “at the appropriate time statements will be made”.

She said that the force had received two complaints but the parents concerned had not been informed.

Today, Sir Bernard said police had to consider the consequences of revealing the identities of former undercover officers.

“If we identify the name of the person who was involved, presumably as an undercover officer, and if the person against whom that undercover officer was deployed is unaware of it, but discovers through publication of that name that person was an undercover officer or may be, we've got to consider the consequences of that.

“Even though that's a fair amount of time ago, those officers are still around or retired.

“We've got to unpick all of that before we start approaching families. We've really got to think it through. If we do go to the family, we've got to accept that makes that information open.”

Yesterday it was announced that Derbyshire Police chief constable Mick Creedon has been asked to oversee the investigation into the Met's Special Demonstration Squad, which began in October 2011.

Sir Bernard said he had recommended calling in someone independent around six months ago.

He said: “I proposed about six months ago we had someone independent to lead this. It's the sort of allegations where if the Met concluded in an investigation we didn't find anything, people might say 'well that would be the case, wouldn't it'. That's a danger. The more independence the better.”

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable