Met loses diary that may have proven former chief's links to Rupert Murdoch

 

Scotland Yard has lost crucial documents which would have disclosed whether the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Lord Stevens, frequently met senior News of the World executives while he was in office, including an editor at the tabloid who is alleged to have been involved in the illegal hacking of emails.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) confirmed to The Independent that it is currently investigating the missing diaries of the former Commissioner.

In response to a Freedom of Information request made by Ian Hurst, a former British Army intelligence officer who was involved in running IRA informers in Northern Ireland, the Met said that its officers had been "unable to locate the diary of Lord Stevens and cannot therefore answer your questions in relation to him".

Mr Hurst, who is a "core participant" in the Leveson Inquiry that will examine illegal practices at Rupert Murdoch's News International, asked the Met whether two former Commissioners, Lord Stevens and Sir Ian Blair, had held meetings with Alex Marunchak, a former editor of the NOTW's Ireland edition, between 2000 and 2011.

The Met said there were no recorded meetings with Sir Ian – but that Lord Stevens' appointments diary could no longer be located.

Mr Marunchak, who left NI in 2006, denied allegations in a BBC Panorama programme broadcast in March this year that he paid a private detective to hack into emails on Mr Hurst's computer. The BBC film showed footage of a meeting between Mr Hurst and a former Army intelligence colleague who claimed he had accessed the emails under instruction from Mr Marunchak. Mr Hurst is suing the NOTW, alleging that the newspaper employed private detectives to hack into his computer and obtain information relating to his handling of a senior IRA informer.

The ICO confirmed that the missing diaries cover the period 2000 to 2005 when Lord Stevens was head of the Met. During this period he conducted an external police inquiry in Northern Ireland that concluded there had been collusion between the British Army, the Royal Ulster Constabulary and loyalist terrorists that had led to the murder of nationalists in the province.

One colleague of Lord Stevens during his time as head of the Met described him as "a master" of dealing with the media, and said he cultivated associations with Fleet Street's editors. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, later said she had concerns over the closeness of the relationship between News International and the police. Officials investigating the disappearance of the diaries will have to decide if there has been a breach of the Data Protection Act.

The is the first time the ICO has had to deal with such a high-profile disappearance from what should be a public archive.

A spokesman for Lord Stevens said last night: "The diaries of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner are the property of the Metropolitan Police and therefore they must be approached for that information."

The Metropolitan Police, however, said that Lord Stevens' diaries were not a public document, and added that "there is no requirement to keep the dairy of the outgoing Commissioner, which is a working document to support the running of the office on a daily basis".

How 'Captain Beaujolais' became a master of the media

Lord Stevens

During his time as head of the Met, from 2000 to 2005, John Stevens' colleagues noted his fondness for fine wine: he became "Captain Beaujolais". He also divided their loyalty. For some he was "a copper's copper", the man responsible for a rise in the number of officers and improved crime figures. Others noted the charm offensive deployed on Fleet Street, aided by the Met's public affairs head, Dick Fedorcio.

One senior officer said he was "a master of the media" who hadn't appreciated the costs attached to close media relationships.

After he left the force, his police experience delivered significant wealth: he is the executive chairman of Quest Ltd, a corporate security business, and holds four other directorships. His links to the media were maintained. A column for the NOTW saw Captain Beaujolais put to one side in favour of "The Chief". The NOTW's closure saw the chief's demise.

James Cusick

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Manchester United's kit for the 2014/15 season
football
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
peopleNobel laureate was a powerful anti-Apartheid voice
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Technical Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £450pd

£400 - £450 per day: Orgtel: Technical Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £450pd O...

Marketing Comms / Digital Marketing Specialist

Not Specified: Recruitment Genius: An exciting and rewarding role exists for a...

Search Engine Optimisation/ SEO Executive

£25000 - £28000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Excellent opportun...

Junior Professional Services Consultant - SQL, Implementation

£30000 - £40000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading prov...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor