No action to be taken over hacking investigation officer


Click to follow
The Independent Online

A police officer accused of passing information to a News International executive about the phone hacking investigation will face no further action, it was announced today.

The senior Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officer met the member of staff, who was a potential victim of phone hacking, in 2006 to see if they would be willing to give a witness statement.

During the meeting it was alleged that the officer passed on information about the phone hacking investigation.

A file was passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) earlier this year so that prosecutors could consider whether the officer had committed misconduct in public office.

Today legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions Alison Levitt QC said: "The purpose of the meeting was to gauge the willingness of the journalist, as a potential victim of crime, to provide a witness statement to support the ongoing prosecution.

"The evidence showed that the meeting had been convened in accordance with the MPS' victim strategy for this investigation.

"The evidence also showed that the nature of the matters subsequently discussed at the meeting was not such as to amount to wilful misconduct or neglect on the part of the officer, and the conduct was therefore not such as to amount to an abuse of the public's trust.

"There was no evidence to suggest that the officer had behaved corruptly or dishonestly.

"Accordingly, having reviewed the evidence carefully in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors, we have reached the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction in this case."

Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it will now prepare a report, and the Metropolitan Police can then consider whether it needs to take disciplinary action.

Scotland Yard referred the allegation to the IPCC in February on the basis of documents uncovered as part of Operation Elveden, a probe into alleged corrupt payments to public officials by journalists and illegal leaking of confidential information.

The meeting took place during the previous investigation into phone hacking in 2006, and there was no suggestion that any payment was made, the watchdog said.