Met chief to face hacking questions

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The Independent Online

Scotland Yard's new commissioner, Bernard Hogan-Howe, will appear at the Leveson Inquiry next week to answer questions about the police investigation into phone hacking.

Mr Hogan-Howe was appointed to replace Sir Paul Stephenson, who resigned over a free stay at a health spa marketed by a journalist he employed as a media consultant – Neil Wallis, the deputy editor of the News of the World – who turned out to be a phone hacking suspect.

In Mr Hogan-Howe's first week in office last September, the Metropolitan Police launched an abortive legal attempt to seize the notes of the Guardian journalist Amelia Hill, following the arrest of an alleged mole in the new phone hacking investigation, Operation Weeting.

He will give evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday, when he is likely to be asked why in 2006 Scotland Yard failed to properly investigate widespread voicemail interception at the News of the World. That was despite seizing 11,000 pages of incriminating notes with names, phone numbers and PINs from a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire.

Mr Hogan-Howe may also be asked for an update on the progress of Operation Weeting and his force's two other linked criminal inquiries into News International – Operation Tuleta,into computer hacking, and Operation Elveden, into the corruption of police and public officials.

Since he took up his post, London's force has cracked down on social contact between journalists and officers, according to the testimony of crime reporters who complained last week that the move would limit their ability to hold police to account.