Leaving aside for today, Assistant Commissioner John, sweep it under the carpet and it will go away, Yates, we shall take a look at his boss, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.
The first page of the many that I opened, all courtesy of the London Evening Standard, was accompanied by an involuntary but familiar groan. Seeing yet another top cop with ties to the north of Ireland, does tend to have that effect on me.
Whether in the case of Stephenson this has any bearing I couldn't say, but given how many other rouges in blue have previously cut their teeth on that particular rusk, I thought it worth a mention. (Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Jim Gamble, Sir Hugh Orde, Matt Baggott, Colin Port, to name but a few.)
Sir Paul Stephenson
...He was a superintendent by 1988, and spells in Liverpool and with the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland during the Troubles followed. He returned to Lancashire and was appointed chief constable in 2002, boosting his reputation by having his force judged the best in the country. Brief Bio
And just like another bent clown that we recently heard from, former assistant commissioner Andy Hayman, the same Andy Hayman that went on to work for News International. Just as Hayman blustered when questioned about his own integrity, even being called a "dodgy geezer" by one MP on the select committee, we have this from Sir Paul Stephenson. (Story and much watch video here, Hayman at the 2m 20s) mark
"I do not believe that on any occasion I have acted inappropriately. I am very satisfied with my own integrity," he said.
You may well be Sir Paul, but something's amiss, if it's not your integrity then it must be your judgement. Why else would you be hauled up before Boris for a right royal bollocking? sorry, Mayoral bollocking, to explain why you as Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Scotland Yard came to employ a former News of the World journalist arrested in the phone hacking inquiry as a PR consultant.
So if your integrity is not in question, then it must be your aforementioned judgement, though for the quarter of a million pounds that we pay you each year, I thought we might expect something a tad better.
Seems I'm not the only one that thinks we're being short changed, even David, call me paddling pool,* Camereon, would like a few answers, which one has to say, is a bit rich by anybody's standards.
Our next story from the Evening Standard starts with this header:
A huge blunder by Yard bosses - but will others emerge?
A huge blunder! how very kind of him; and continues:
At best, this is a massive failure of judgment (sic) by Scotland Yard bosses.If I didn't know better, I would say your position, and that of your underdog, was becoming untenable, or to put it a tad less politely, you're fucked. But therein lies the problem, I've been around long enough that I do know better. Unfortunately.
The practice of senior policemen dining with executives of national newspapers is nothing new and arguably an important part of staying in touch with public opinion.
Yet, sometimes there are questions over the type of company being kept by the police.
For these officers to then go and pay the newspapermen taxpayers' cash for media advice is much more serious and takes the debate to a new level.
Now, there are justifiable questions to be asked about why these contacts were being maintained, what did the police know and were there any deals done over stories and inquiries. There are further questions about when Met Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, who is investigating the hacking and bribery scandals, was told about Mr Wallis's contract.
Sir Paul Stephenson has attracted the ire of London Mayor Boris Johnson, MPs and the Prime Minister by failing to disclose the contract to them before the news leaked out last night
Despite the controversy, there is no suggestion, at present, that Neil Wallis gave any advice on phone hacking or that his employment at Scotland Yard had any impact upon the Met's decisions on whether or not to reopen its investigation into the News of the World.
Scotland Yard bosses will want to try to keep this as one isolated blunder.
The question is are there any more waiting to be revealed. LES