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Met police representatives and crime reporters before Leveson inquiry this week

March 12th, 2012 | 1 Comment | Posted by in Legal

Copyright: Sean Dempsey/PA

The Leveson inquiry moves into week three of module two today, starting with evidence from Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick of the Metropolitan Police and Sir Dennis O’Connor, head of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

On Tuesday Dick Fedorcio, director of communications at the Met Police, will give appear before the inquiry.

It is expected that Fedorcio will be asked about his relationship with journalists at News International and also about the advice he gave senior officers on socialising with journalists.

On Wednesday morning Jeff Edwards, representing the Crime Reporters’ Association, will give evidence, along with journalists from the Guardian, the Independent and the Times. A written statement from a Daily Telegraph journalist will be read.

On the last day of this week’s hearings evidence will be heard from the Sun’s Mike Sullivan, who was named in the press as one of four current and former journalists at the Sun arrested and bailed by officers from Operation Elveden on Saturday, 28 January.

See the full witness list here.

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Guardian: Number of possible phone hacking victims close to 5,800, say police

The number of possible phone hacking victims is now close to 5,800, the Met police have confirmed.

This is 2,000 more than previously stated by the force.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said:

It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been hacked but we can confirm that as of today’s date, 3 November 2011, the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material, and who may therefore be victims, where names are noted, is 5,795. This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.

See the full story on Guardian.co.uk at this link.

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John Yates resignation statement

July 19th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism, Newspapers

Metropolitan police assistant commissioner John Yates resigned yesterday (18 July), after being told he would be suspended.

Yates becomes the second casualty in the Metropolitan police in the wake of phone-hacking allegations, after Britain’s top cop Sir Paul Stephenson resigned on Sunday.

The former assistant commissioner yesterday spoke to the media, paying tribute to the staff he served with:

It is with great regret that I make this decision after nearly 30 years as a police officer.

I wish to pay tribute to the many fine officers and police staff with whom I have served. I will miss them hugely, but I know that they will continue to do their utmost to protect the public and, of course, this great capital city.

Yates said that police, especially those in the “difficult” jobs, must be accountable:

When we get things wrong, we say so and try and put them right. As I have said very recently, it is a matter of great personal regret that those potentially affected by phone hacking were not dealt with appropriately.

He added that with the upcoming Olympic games, he could not allow the “situation” continue, claiming that a “huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed, and malicious gossip” had been published about him.

I have acted with complete integrity and my conscience is clear. I look forward to the future Judge-led inquiry where my role will be examined in a proper and calmer environment and where my actions will be judged on the evidence rather than on innuendo and speculation as they are at present.

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Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson’s resignation statement

July 18th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Legal, Newspapers

Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson resigned yesterday in the wake of new arrests and allegations in the News of the World phone-hacking scandal and payments to police.

Here is his full resignation statement:

“I have this afternoon informed the palace, the home secretary and the mayor of my intention to resign as commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service.

“I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met’s links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week.

“Firstly, I want to say what an enormous privilege it has been for me to lead this great organisation that is the Met. The recent example of the heroism and bravery of Met officers in chasing armed suspects, involving the shooting of one of my officers, is typical; but is in danger of being eclipsed by the ongoing debate about relationships between senior officers and the media. This can never be right.

“Crime levels in the Met are at a 10 year low. You have seen the Met at its glorious and unobtrusive best on the occasion of the royal wedding; the professional and restrained approach to unexpected levels of violence in recent student demonstrations; the vital ongoing work to secure the safety of the capital from terrorism; the reductions in homicide; and continuing increased levels of confidence as the jewel in our crown of Safer Neighbourhoods Teams serve the needs of Londoners.

“I am deeply proud of the achievements of the Met since I became commissioner.

“Let me turn to phone hacking and my relationship with Neil Wallis. I want to put the record straight.

“I met Mr Wallis in 2006. The purpose of that meeting was, as with other journalists, to represent the context of policing and to better inform the public debate carried out through the media on policing issues.

“I had no knowledge of, or involvement in, the original investigation into phone hacking in 2006 that successfully led to the conviction and imprisonment of two men. I had no reason to believe this was anything other than a successful investigation. I was unaware that there were any other documents in our possession of the nature that have now emerged.

“I have acknowledged the statement by John Yates that if he had known then what he knows now he would have made different decisions.

“My relationship with Mr Wallis continued over the following years and the frequency of our meetings is a matter of public record. The record clearly accords with my description of the relationship as one maintained for professional purposes and an acquaintance.

“In 2009 the Met entered into a contractual arrangement with Neil Wallis, terminating in 2010. I played no role in the letting or management of that contract.

“I have heard suggestions that we must have suspected the alleged involvement of Mr Wallis in phone hacking. Let me say unequivocally that I did not and had no reason to have done so. I do not occupy a position in the world of journalism; I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging; nor of its apparent reach into senior levels. I saw senior figures from News International providing evidence that the misbehaviour was confined to a rogue few and not known about at the top.

“One can only wonder about the motives of those within the newspaper industry or beyond, who now claim that they did know but kept quiet. Though mine and the Met’s current severe discomfort is a consequence of those few that did speak out, I am grateful to them for doing so, giving us the opportunity to right the wrong done to victims – and here I think most of those especially vulnerable people who deserved so much better from us all.

“Now let me turn to the suspicion that the contractual relationship with Mr Wallis was somehow kept secret. The contracting of Mr Wallis only became of relevance when his name became linked with the new investigation into phone hacking. I recognise that the interests of transparency might have made earlier disclosure of this information desirable. However, my priority, despite the embarrassment it might cause, has been to maintain the integrity of Operation Weeting. To make it public would have immediately tainted him and potentially compromised any future Operation Weeting action.

“Now let me turn to the reported displeasure of the prime minister and the home secretary of the relationship with Mr Wallis.

“The reasons for not having told them are two fold. Firstly, I repeat my earlier comments of having at the time no reason for considering the contractual relationship to be a matter of concern. Unlike Mr Coulson, Mr Wallis had not resigned from News of the World or, to the best of my knowledge been in any way associated with the original phone hacking investigation.

“Secondly, once Mr Wallis’s name did become associated with Operation Weeting, I did not want to compromise the prime minister in any way by revealing or discussing a potential suspect who clearly had a close relationship with Mr Coulson. I am aware of the many political exchanges in relation to Mr Coulson’s previous employment – I believe it would have been extraordinarily clumsy of me to have exposed the prime minister, or by association the home secretary, to any accusation, however unfair, as a consequence of them being in possession of operational information in this regard. Similarly, the mayor. Because of the individuals involved, their positions and relationships, these were I believe unique circumstances.

“Consequently, we informed the chair of the MPA, Mr Malthouse, of the Met’s contractual arrangements with Mr Wallis on the morning of the latter’s arrest. It is our practice not to release the names of suspects under arrest, making it difficult to make public details of the arrangements prior to Mr Wallis’s release the same day. The timing of the MPA committee that I appeared before at 2pm that day was most unfortunate.

“Now let me briefly deal with the recent story in relation to my use of Champney’s facilities. There has been no impropriety and I am extremely happy with what I did and the reasons for it – to do everything possible to return to running the Met full time, significantly ahead of medical, family and friends’ advice. The attempt to represent this in a negative way is both cynical and disappointing.

“I thought it necessary to provide this lengthy and detailed account of my position on aspects of the current media questions and speculation concerning my conduct. I do this to provide the backcloth to the main purpose of this statement.

“There are a great number of things I value as part of my professional life – very high in this list are my reputation for judgement and integrity.

“On judgement: running a large and overwhelmingly successful organisation like the Met must be dependent to a great extent on others providing the right information and assurances. I could reiterate that I had no reason to doubt the original investigation into phone hacking or be aware of the documents and information in our possession and only recently provided by News International. I could point to the many other successes of the Met. I could point to the long history of how and why the relationship between the Met and media has developed a way of doing business that has brought real benefits but perhaps runs the risk of misinterpretation or worse. In this particular regard it is clear to me that the current furore marks a point in time, a need to learn and change.

“However, as commissioner I carry ultimate responsibility for the position we find ourselves in. With hindsight, I wish we had judged some matters involved in this affair differently. I didn’t and that’s it.

“I do not believe this on its own would be a matter for me to consider my position as commissioner.

“However, the issue of my integrity is different. Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact. I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity.

“Nevertheless, I must accept that the intense media coverage, questions, commentary and indeed allegations, as demonstrated by this weekend’s attempt to misrepresent my arrangements for my recovery from illness, not only provide excessive distraction both for myself and colleagues, but are likely to continue for some time. In particular the public inquiry must take time, with even the first part scheduled not to report within a year. A year in which the Met must face not only the enormous challenges that are the staple diet of this incredible organisation, but also the Olympics.

“This is not a 12 months that can afford any doubts about the commissioner of the Met, I have seen at first hand the distractions for this organisation when the story becomes about the leaders as opposed to what we do as a service. I was always clear that I would never allow that. We the Met cannot afford this – not this year.

“If I stayed I know that the inquiry outcomes would reaffirm my personal integrity. But time is short before we face the enormous challenge of policing the Olympics – this is not the time for ongoing speculation about the security of the position of the commissioner. Even a small chance that that there could be a change of leadership must be avoided.

“Therefore, although I have received continued personal support from both the home secretary and the mayor, I have with great sadness informed both of my intention to resign. This will allow time for the appointment of my successor and for that person to take a firm hold of the helm of this great organisation and steer it through the great challenges and necessary change ahead, unencumbered by the current controversy. I will miss many things, but most of all it will be the overwhelming majority of honest, hard working professionals who it has been such a great pleasure to lead.”

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Peston: News of the World emails allegedly show police payment requests

July 11th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Legal, Newspapers

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston claims to have learned from a source that News of the World emails uncovered by News International in 2007 appeared to show money requests from a reporter for payments to be made to royal protection officers for information.

According to a source, the e-mails include requests by a reporter for sums of about £1,000 to pay police officers in the royal protection branch for the information. The phone details could have been used to hack phones of the royal family.

Read more on Peston’s blog here…

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Police remove teenage photographer from parade, citing terrorism act

Jules Mattsson, a 15-year-old photographer, challenged police officers attempting to restrict his photographing of an Armed Forced Parade in Romford on Saturday. As the recording posted to YouTube demonstrates, Mattsson was unrelenting in asserting his rights to the policeman, who eventually resorted to telling him he was a “threat under the terrorism act” and confiscating his camera. Mattsson can then be heard accusing the officer of pushing him down a flight of stairs.

Mattsson writes about the incident on his blog:

Especially poignant this incident took place the day after photojournalist Marc Vallee and videographer Jason Parkinson won their case against the met for an incident outside the Greek Embassy where Marc had his camera grabbed and Jason had his lens covered by an armed police officer. Many have hailed this ruling as ‘a victory for press freedom’, and I would be inclined to agree. However, until the met’s guidance on photography and a clearer understanding of the law filters down to the streets, we will continue to see incidents like this.

Read more on the Marc Vallee/Jason Parkinson case on Journalism.co.uk.


Source: Boing Boing

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Journalism Daily: Candy Box billboards; Chicago Tribune’s new innovators; VentnorBlog reports Vestas

July 29th, 2009 | No Comments | Posted by in Journalism Daily

Journalism.co.uk is trialling a new service via the Editors’ Blog: a daily round-up of all the content published on the Journalism.co.uk site.

We hope you’ll find it useful as a quick digest of what’s gone on during the day (similar to our e-newsletter) and to check that you haven’t missed a posting.

We’ll be testing it out for a couple of weeks, so you can subscribe to the feed for the Journalism Daily here.

Let us know what you think – all feedback much appreciated.

News and features

Ed’s Picks

Tip of the Day

#FollowJourn

On the Editors’ Blog

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BJP: Photographers sue Met Police for treatment at Greek embassy protests

“Two photographers have filed a legal claim against the Metropolitan Police after they were unlawfully prevented from reporting the protests outside the Greek embassy last year,” the British Journal of Photography reports.

Photojournalist Marc Vallée and videojournalist Jason Parkinson are seeking an apology and damages from the Metropolitan police. Vallée makes the announcement on his blog here.

“The photographers were covering protests outside the Greek embassy in London on 08 December 2008 when a police officer deliberately obstructed them in their work. They also claim they were physically removed from any area from which they could document events.”

British Journal of Photography story at this link.

More to follow from Journalism.co.uk.

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BBC Radio 4: The Jean Charles de Menezes IPCC leak

December 23rd, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Editors' pick, Journalism

BBC Radio 4’s Fergal Keane talks to Lana Vandenberghe, the office worker who leaked documents concerning the Jean Charles de Menezes case.

‘As files passed across secretarial worker Lana Vandenberghe’s desk at the Independent Police Complaints Commission in London, she began to feel that facts of the case were being misrepresented – or not presented at all – to the public,” Keane reports.

“Her decision to take a stand and leak the story to the press would contribute to the pressure on the then Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to resign, but did it also undermine the IPCC?”

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NUJ speaks out against Met Police ‘heavy-handedness’ at Greek Embassy Protests

December 10th, 2008 | 4 Comments | Posted by in Photography, Press freedom and ethics

Further to our blog post this morning, showing police interfering with photojournalist Marc Valleé while he was attempting to photograph protests at the Greek Embassy on Monday, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has released a statement criticising the Metropolitan Police for the way they handled media coverage of the protests outside the Greek Embassy on Monday.

The NUJ said it had received reports that ‘at least one of its members suffered physical injury as a result of their handling by the police’.

“There are clear guidelines which discuss how the police should work with the media and officers policing demonstrations need to be made aware of their responsibilities. The police know very well our concerns around cases like this and it’s simply unacceptable for our members to continue to have problems when covering protests. Such basic infringements of our members’ rights must stop,” the release said.

“Heavy-handed policing meant journalists were prevented from doing their jobs as they tried to report on the protests which took place on Monday. Photographs from the protests show the police deliberately obstructing photographers in their work and journalists have complained of being physically removed from any area from which they could document events.”

“The police must remember that they have responsibilities towards the media,” said NUJ Legal Officer Roy Mincoff, in the release. “Even where a protest is itself illegal, the media have a right to report on events and the police should not be taking action with the intention of obstructing journalists in their work,” he added.

Journalism.co.uk is following up, and will report more when further information is received.

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