(10.07 am) Statement by LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
As I explained on 13 March, I was asked to make public the submissions which I received in private on 2 December 2011. Although I declined to do so, I did make clear that it was concerned with the extent to which the Operation Motorman material should be disclosed in a public hearing. In the light of what has since transpired, I now add that the Inquiry had seen the relevant files and shared them with lawyers acting for core participants so that submissions could be made. I did so on a strictly confidential basis and subject to stringent confidentiality undertakings. It is worth repeating the reasons for the confidentiality. First, I took the view that private information about the target of any investigation by Mr Whittamore should remain private and should not arbitrarily be disclosed in this Inquiry without very good reason; although I gave solicitors acting for those who complained about press conduct leave to inform their core participant clients about the extent of the information contained within the records about them personally, that was as far as the permitted disclosure went. Further, the material fell within the purview of the Information Commissioner, whose decision as to appropriate disclosure deserved respect whether or not I could take a different view within the exercise of my powers under Section 19 of the Inquiries Act 2005; knowing that he was prepared to provide details to any individual who sought personal information, I would have referred any further inquiry to him. Second, as I repeated, this part of the Inquiry is not concerned with individual conduct "who did what to whom" but rather with custom, practices and ethics of the press as a whole. It is and always has been open to me to draw conclusions on these topics and specifically the extent to which Mr Whittamore's services were used by different titles without disclosure of individual details or greater specificity than was provided by the evidence. Further information is now in the public domain, having been the subject of a report on last night's ITN News and further detailed on its website. There are a number of potential sources for that information which fall outside the Inquiry and, in the absence of allegation or evidence to the contrary, I see little value in seeking to identify who provided ITN with those details, the accuracy of which I do not intend to comment upon. Neither do I consider it necessary for this part of the Inquiry to go further into the records. This is not because it is not or may not be important but because it is not necessary for me in order to fulfil the terms of reference of the Inquiry. Having said that, for the avoidance of all doubt, the orders which I have made remain in full force. Yes, Mr Jay.
Sir, the first witness today is Mr Malthouse. MR CHRISTOPHER LAURIE MALTHOUSE (sworn) Questions by MR JAY
Your full name, please?
A. Christopher Laurie Malthouse, known as Kit.
Q. You've kindly provided us with a witness statement dated 29 February. You've signed and dated it and there's a standard statement of truth. Subject to some minor corrections, which you've notified the Inquiry of and which will be put up on the website, is this your formal evidence to the Inquiry?
A. It is, with one further amendment, if I may. I'm very sorry, but in the flurry of paper I missed one correction, sir, which is on page 11562. At the bottom I refer to a lunch with David Leppard from the Sunday Times, and the final sentence should read: "I do not believe that we discussed specific MPA issues, although we did discuss general policing matters."
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
You are the statutory Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, that's DMPC, and from January 2010 to January 2012 you were Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, which of course we're calling the MPA. Is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Before then, you were Vice Chair of the MPA. In terms of your earlier career, you set this out under paragraphs 4 to 8 of your statement. You were elected to the Westminster City Council in 1998. You left there in May 2006, but you then entered central government politics, if I can describe it in those terms, in May 2007. Following the elections of May 2008, you were elected to serve a four-year term. Your various business interests are set out under paragraph 7. Is that broadly speaking right?
Q. Can I ask you, please, to explain paragraph 10 of your statement, when you explain that the MPA was "not a regulator in the traditional sense". Could you tell us what you meant by that, Mr Malthouse?
A. I mean yes. The governance of the police in the UK is party to what is known as the tripartite arrangement, which is meant to be a balanced relationship between the Home Office and the Home Secretary, the Police Authority or the governance arrangements, as we now have it in London, the Mayor's office policing crime, and the police themselves, and in that sense we were not a sole regulator of the police. We also are not a regulator in that we're not instructional in our nature, we're not able to direct the operations of the Commissioner. Much of what we do with the police is effectively negotiated because of the requirement to maintain operational independence of the police, and in that sense the relationship was I think a little more subtle and complex than the direct nature of a normal regulator of a water industry or whatever it may be.
Q. So there's a self-denying ordinance constitutionally really in relation to operational matters, but in relation to resource and strategic matters, how would you characterise the role of the former MPA?
A. Well, the way the system was supposed to work was that the Police Authority was required to set the budget and set the broad strategic priorities within which the Metropolitan Police then operated. In shorthand, the Police Authority was supposed to do the "what", and the Commissioner would then do the "how", and we would then negotiate about how much that would cost. In practice what had happened with the Police Authority, because of as I think I say in my statement the confused nature and the confused messages coming out of the Police Authority, effectively the in my view, the Metropolitan Police had set the priorities and the framework. That had then come to the Police Authority for adjustment or approval, and then it had gone back and been published publicly.
Q. Can I just understand how that worked in relation to resource allocation. Take a hypothetical example. The MPS takes a decision, an operational decision in the particular case, which has important resource implications. How, if at all, is that tested by the MPA and to what end?
A. Well, there were a series of meetings every summer as part of the budget process, where the MPA's proposals sorry, the Met's proposals around how they were going to address particular priorities would be tested and discussed in an overall budget framework, and what would come out at the end was effectively a number and that number would then be, you know, considered as an overall burden on the taxpayer, balancing what we were likely to get from the Home Office, and if it didn't if the equation didn't work, then we would go back and there would be different iterations. It's certainly the case that during my tenure we put we had to, and wanted to anyway quite significant restrictions on the Met budget. We suffered a fall in government grant, we wanted to build some resilience into it, put money away for a rainy day, and that meant that we required the Metropolitan Police to come up with savings, effectively efficiencies across the organisation, which would restrict their ability to do things if it were not for the fact that we, as part of that restriction, required them to maintain police officer numbers at around 32,000 so that the operational capability would be maintained. At the same time, there would be, I guess, high level conversations about the balance of resourcing in each department, so I would, for instance, have I remember conversations with Tim Godwin about whether the percentage of the overall force that is devoted to territorial policing, that is the sort of street-based community policing, or the specialist departments of the Met, was right, and whether we should swing it one way or the other. I think his view was that the Met had swung too far towards the specialist side, a view that I shared, and that it needed to swing back the other way. I think that's a view that the current Commissioner also shares.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Who makes the decision about that? This is, as I'm sure I think I understand, a very nuanced debate because the "what" may be territorial policing or specialist operation, which gets quite close to operations.
A. You're absolutely right, sir. It's a very subtle arrangement, and one that requires delicacy on both sides. The truth is that the budget negotiation is about two sides who are trying to achieve objectives. You hope that the objectives coincide. They don't always. And effectively the Mayor through me brings the money, and the Commissioner brings the capability and also the operational responsibility, and bringing those two together is crucial. For example, when the Mayor was elected, he was very keen to see greater effort put into safety on the transport network, and conversations were had with the Commissioner about putting more police officers onto the transport network. The Commissioner came back and said, "If we do it this way, with PCSOs, some police officers, we put it in these particular areas, we think we can achieve what you want and that will cost about ?9 million", and we said, "Fine, here's a cheque". So the Commissioner went off and did it and crime on the transport network fell over 30 per cent. It's that kind of negotiation on specifics that is writ large in the budget process.
Can I ask you, please, about paragraphs 14 and 15, where you refer, particularly in 15, much of your energy and focus was on "driving the Met to tackle gangs, knife crime and teenage homicide". The question I've been asked to put to you is what if any deference did you play to the Commissioner's independent role in pursuing these objectives?
A. I think as I illustrated in that example it was a recognition that the Commissioner was operationally responsible and obviously had a professional view about how things could be achieved versus need you know, our requirement to address a particular problem in London. So, for example, the Mayoral election of 2008 was played out against a backdrop of a very significant rise in teenage homicides in London, a lot of young people were being stabbed and killed, and the Mayor had campaigned specifically on crime as an issue and felt that he'd come in with a mandate to do something about that. Almost immediately upon him coming to office, we had conversations with the Met about how we might tackle this problem, and they brought forward an operation called Blunt 2, which was a widespread use of Section 60 stop and search in relation you know, where violence was likely to or had occurred. They said to us that stop and search was sometimes controversial and that therefore they would need political top cover effectively for this operation, which we happily agreed to, subject to the caveats of the stop and search being done proportionately, sensitively, all that stuff, and sure enough that operation was launched from within existing Met resources, there was no expansion, there was a reallocation, and that operation took something like 11,000 knives off the street and we've seen a halving in the numbers of teenage homicides over the last three years. Deference is a slightly odd word, but it was that respect for both of our roles which was you know, the desire of the elected politician who had been elected on a platform of crime to achieve certain objectives against a recognition that the Commissioner would devise how that could be achieved, and then there would be an iteration between us as to if that was effectively what was satisfactory; all the time, of course, the Commissioner reserving his ability to say no. The example I would give on that is that fairly early in my tenure on the MPA I raised the issue of gangs. I felt that gangs in London was a major issue. We had a lot of discussions, I was not particularly happy about the Met's approach towards gangs. I even suggested in the early days that it might be a crime type that required a kind of specialist squad, and I failed to achieve that because the professional view of the Commissioner was that that was not the way to tackle the problem. The professional view of the new Commissioner is that it is, and therefore we now do have a new Trident gangs command. But I put specifically in a document called "Met Forward", which I've exhibited, which was meant to be a sort of strategic message for three years, that gangs was an issue and we created a thing called a gangs tactics board which would require the Met to come to the Police Authority and talk about the issue of gangs in the hope that we would get some kind of movement. We did eventually get an operation called Operation Connect, but it was a small operation which has now been superseded.
Q. In paragraph 17 of your statement, we will note and then pass on, you refer to the degree of disharmony which existed at the highest levels of the MPS and the consequent effects it had on relationships with the MPA on your arrival. The Inquiry has seen evidence about that. Can I deal with the next section, the MPA and press. You differentiate between formal contacts, which are through the MPA press office, and informal contacts. Can I ask you to explain what you mean by informal contacts and how they take place?
A. The MPA was a collection of individuals, some elected politicians, some independent members who had political affiliations, but they were all effectively independent of me, or of the Police Authority, and operated as independent individuals, and therefore they would have their own contacts with the media about which I knew little, as I say in my evidence, other than when they would appear in the media making comment as MPA members.
Q. So these are, as it were, unregulated contacts between, in the main, politicians and the press, which would take place in the natural and ordinary course of things; is that correct?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. You explain in paragraph 23 that you're not aware of any evidence that suggests either members or staff deliberately leaked information to the press, but you are aware there have been leak inquiries in the Met. Have there been leak inquiries in the MPA?
A. I think there have been leak inquiries which have encompassed the MPA, yes.
Q. We certainly know of one which we're going to come to in the course of the day, but to get a sense of it, about a handful or are we talking more than that?
A. During my time, yes, I would think no more than two or three. I can't recall specifically.
Q. May I ask you, please, about the DPA. Again we've heard a significant amount of evidence about that. You say at the end of paragraph 25 sorry, this is on our page 11529 that the DPA is "dominated by its relationship with the news media". What do you mean by that?
A. Well, it's a common trap that communications departments fall into, which is that they migrate, because of the nature of the news media, its immediate demands, the reactive nature of it, they migrate to thinking that news and using the news media is the only way to communicate with the public, whereas of course there are many other forms of communication, and I raised this with the Commissioner and with the head of the DPA, that I felt it would be beneficial for the Met to move away from merely a concentration on news towards other forms of communication. The Met does do some other forms of communication out there, but I pointed them towards particular other public organisations that I felt were good at this. The example I gave them was the Army, where the Army use avenues, different avenues to communicate what they want people to think about them. So, for instance, the Army's recruitment advertising has a strapline to it which is "Be the best", which is communicating something to people, not just, "Please apply to the Army, we're looking for soldiers". It communicates something about the type of organisation that they are. And if you ask people what do they know about the Army, they will say they're the best Army in the world, and "Be the best" is more than just "Please apply for a job". I felt that the Met could do with looking at those other avenues of communication, and indeed granted some money through the budget to the DPA to develop a new branding and strapline and you may have seen it, it's now called "Here for London", which now cascades through all their public communications to indicate something about what the Met stands for and the type of organisation it is.
Q. Your relationship with the press now, Mr Malthouse, paragraph 30 and following. You explain in 31: "On the whole, I do not personally have a great deal of offline contact with journalists." Do you mean by that one-to-one contact, informal?
A. Yes. There's a strange phenomenon which is once your mobile telephone number is known by one, it seems to proliferate, and that means that there's a likelihood of a lot of incoming calls and texts, most of which I tend to ignore or pass to the press office, because I obviously want to discourage that.
Q. You say, if I may say so, in slightly self-deprecating terms, that in your engagement with the press, you attempt to be deliberately boring and well, we understand what you mean by that, if you can excuse my split infinitive there.
A. Yes. Obviously someone in my position is privy to an awful lot of knowledge, some of it covert, secret, valuable, whatever, and it's certainly the case in the early days of being involved there were a lot of invitations that came through for lunch and drinks and all the rest of it. My strategy generally was to accept, be boring, or largely talk about them, actually it's surprising how many people are keen to talk about themselves and therefore not give the impression that I was a useful source of information. But the message or the messages from me would be much more controlled, and as a result the invitations have generally dried up. There are still some persistent journalists, but
Q. Certain inferences are capable of being drawn from that answer, but you do say in paragraph 32 that you have provided, but very occasionally, off-the-record briefings to journalists to provide background context but not in a manner presumably which you'd ever expect to see reported or published; is that correct?
A. Sometimes. I have what I generally did with background briefings was for a journalist who required one, they would come to City Hall or to the MOPC, I would have a press officer present and we would talk through the issue and at the end, if the journalist wanted to quote parts of the background briefing, then we would agree what the quotations were going to be. There would occasionally be times where it may be a senior source, but I think often that was accidental. Going through my exhibits, there was one particular article in the Standard about my instigation of an investigation into fraud and corruption in the Metropolitan Police, in which the article says, "A senior source at the MPA said", and it says something about we were too much Sherlock Holmes and not enough prevention, and that was me, and from memory I think that was given in a background briefing but I suspect the journalist didn't manage to get hold of me in time to say could it be quoted, so she may have put it in as "a senior source" but it was very rare. I tend to operate on that everything I say may anyway end up in public.
Q. You explain in relation to the MPS when off-the-record briefings are given, and you also say there are circumstances where they might be appropriate, that the fact of such conversations should be noted. Two points there, if I may. When you have a very occasional off-the-record briefing or contact with a journalist, is it your practice to note it?
A. No, not generally. Although obviously the formal meetings are noted. A press officer will take a note if I make or take a phone call from a journalist on a particular issue. Sometimes, because I am out and about, the press office will ring me and say, "X is looking for a comment, would you mind giving them a ring". I will give them a ring and there's obviously no note of that conversation. But there's a difference between me and a police officer. I'm not in the same position as a police officer.
Q. That was my second question, really. You are probably aware this point has been discussed in some detail in this Inquiry. Why do you think it's necessary for police officers to note the fact of off-the-record conversations?
A. Well, police officers, they're in a very different position from everybody else. I mean, they are different. They have a lot of power, they're in a quasi judicial position a lot of the time, and much of their interaction with the press, certainly at a more junior level, will be around specific investigations and operations. It's not the position that a detective sergeant who is engaging with a journalist around a particular case is talking in strategic terms about policing; he or she will be talking about specifics of the case, and that's a perfectly legitimate thing to do. But every other interaction that that detective sergeant might have on the case, whether it's with witness, victim, other sources of evidence, will be noted. So it seemed to be a logical extension that interactions with the press ought to be at least noted that a call was made.
Q. Do you give any weight to the argument that compelling people to note conversations might have a chilling effect on journalism?
A. I don't see why. I could see why it might seem overly bureaucratic, and I could see why in some perhaps whistle-blowing situations it might not be desirable, but in general terms I wouldn't have thought it would have a particularly chilling effect because presumably the purpose of the conversation is that there will be something public in the paper anyway, so that it becomes apparent that someone has had a conversation with a journalist. I suppose it's just a question of identifying who.
Q. I think the argument may be that if the information is provided anonymously, then it may be given more freely. Do you see any weight to that?
A. Yes, I could see that, and as I say, if I suppose one would have the carve-out that one normally would in these situations around some kind of whistle-blowing or public interest, where the protection of the source of the information might be paramount, I could see that as a defence to not noting it, yes, but I would hope that those situations are relatively rare.
Q. Of course, in the whistle-blowing example, under the relevant statute the whistle should be blown in the direction of the employer and not the press in the first instance.
A. One would hope so, yes.
Q. Paragraph 34 of your statement, you give us details of the various articles you've written in various newspapers, largely, I think, the Times, but certainly not exclusively. Mr O'Neill told us about this in his evidence. You gave him an interview and this resulted in an article being published in August two years ago.
Q. About the "extreme power", in quotes, of the Chief Constable.
Q. These are just manifestations of, if I can put it in these terms, your public and political activities, aren't they?
Q. So no issues arise there?
A. No, most politicians seek to promulgate their view by writing articles, giving interviews, those kind of things, and I was fortunate in having a particular contact at the Times who were willing to take my articles, starting when I was an unknown candidate, and they seemed to like what I wrote and said and so they were prepared to take it. But as I was elected, there was a wider interest in taking articles from me, so there was a wider audience for things to go in.
Q. I move on now, Mr Malthouse, to code of conduct. That's the MPA code of conduct, which you exhibit. I don't think we need look at the detail of it. It's clear from the information you provided that you have accepted, but certainly not on a frequent and probably not on a lavish basis, hospitality from journalists on occasion, and that, I think, is to be found in annex C, isn't it, of your statement?
A. That's correct.
Q. It's tab 4 of the bundle.
Q. Again I don't think it's necessary to dwell on this, but by skim reading it we can see it's at 11562 the type of contacts you've had and the reasons underlying them.
Q. The issues concerning acceptance of hospitality by someone like you are rather different from those concerning acceptance of hospitality by serving police officers, aren't they?
A. I think so. But I'm also conscious that the issues, because of my position, are different from, for instance, my other Assembly colleagues. So a normal Assembly member who wasn't Deputy Mayor for Policing might think about accepting more hospitality, not least because journalists are often amusing company, but might think about accepting more hospitality than I might. As I think I hope I tried to indicate, I'm conscious that as the guardian of quite a lot of sensitive information, I need to take care about my hospitality acceptance.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Is it just restricted to your being the guardian of sensitive information, or does it go further and this question doesn't demand a particular answer, it's an enquiry because of the potential influence that you have on policing strategy in the way that you describe?
A. I don't think so, sir. It's more a reputational issue. In order for me to do my job and to be in receipt of the information that I am in receipt of on a daily, almost hourly basis, I have to engender in my counterparties, in this case the Metropolitan Police, a very high degree of trust, and that means that I am careful to not to cultivate the reputation of being talkative or gossipy, and that means, generally, restricting the amount of hospitality that I take. I have been very keen to maintain that impression of integrity, not only amongst, I have to say, police officers, but also, frankly, amongst journalists, because it's you know, the more you talk, the less currency it has, and if I have something to say, I would like it to be taken seriously.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes, I was actually asking about a slightly different point.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
No, not at all. I'm sure it's my poor question. I'm asking about the different problem of the risk that it might be perceived that you could use your influence to persuade the police to go down this line or that line. You've given a very good example of the Mayor's policy in relation to gangs or knife crime. I'm sure there won't be disagreement with the concepts, but it's not difficult to imagine policing policies, which might be in the interests of one journal or paper, which they want to press, and I am just interested to know whether you feel that you have to avoid being sucked into that sort of debate, or, alternatively, whether you feel, as a politician, you are the correct repository through which that ought to be investigated?
A. Yes. I mean, I think that's very astute. I have been I have lots of meetings with lots of people who want to push the organisation in particular directions, who have particular interests, from local authority leaders to third sector organisations to people who are just generally concerned about the strategy of the Met. Given that my specific role, if you like and interestingly this is enunciated in the policing protocol that's been laid before Parliament recently my specific role is to be the interlocutor between the public and the police, and I think it says to translate their desires and aspirations into action, then that's obviously very appropriate. I don't recall anyone from the media ever involving themselves in that specifically, other than there's one specific case, which is I received a lot of views from across the spectrum, media, politics and elsewhere, during the recruitment process for a new Commissioner. There were a lot of people who had views and took an interest in that process, and wanted their views to come across. There were, I think, a couple of journalists who expressed a view to me about the merits of the various candidates. I have to say there was one journalist who expressed a view to me in the pre-Ian Blair's resignation, expressed his own alarm about the state of the management board at the Met, and he did it, I think, from a sort of rather public-spirited position.
I move on now, Mr Malthouse, to a section of your statement beginning or headed "Sir Paul Stephenson". Can I ask this general question first of all, which someone else has asked me to put to you: in general terms, would it be right to describe the relationship you had with Sir Paul when he was Commissioner as professionally appropriate and largely cordial and supportive?
A. Yes. We had our moments, but yes.
Q. Paragraph 40, please, your perception: "Sir Paul saw part of his role as ambassadorial." Do you mean by that that he wanted to engage the press proactively to get his message across?
A. I think he wanted to engage the press and indeed the wider public realm, so he was very active on the civic engagements and very prominent at civic engagements and as I say, I think he took he thought it was an important part of his role to get out and promote the good work of the Metropolitan Police to anybody who would listen.
Q. You deal next with a particular piece which appeared in the Guardian in September 2009, when there was reference to a metaphor you provided: the MPA having its "hands on the tiller of the Met". You say that that was taken out of context. I don't think it's in necessary to embroil ourselves in the detail of this, it's not going to take our Inquiry any further, but I'm sure you'd like to make it clear what you did mean by "hands on the tiller"?
A. Yes. In October, the beginning of October 2008, a change in the law came into place which meant that the Chair of the Police Authority was no longer reliant upon the votes of the members of the Police Authority for their position, and the Mayor was able to assume the Chairmanship, which he did, subsequently followed by me. The government's intention on that, we assumed, was that the Mayor should take a more direct hand in the setting of the strategy for the Metropolitan Police. What I was I guess trying to indicate, perhaps clumsily, was that that was exactly what was happening and that we'd published this document as I remember, the interview was part of me trying to promote the document "Met Forward", which was intended to be a strategic document, and I used that metaphor to indicate that the Mayor was taking a greater hand in the setting of the strategy. I have to say, if you listen to the recording of the interview and the preceding paragraph, I made it very clear that we cannot tell the Commissioner what to do. I made a statement of his operational independence. The Guardian chose not to report that in that article, and that therefore made it rather inflammatory. The headline was also that we'd "seized control of the Met", which was not a phrase I used.
Q. It ended up with you giving Sir Paul an apology?
Q. As you explain.
A. Yes. As I say, I stood by the comments, but it inflamed things unnecessarily and I apologised.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
That actually raises a question which we could have asked before, as you described your role and you spoke about the tripartite Home Office, Authority, Chief Constable. What you never did describe in that analysis, and it may be now or it may be later, is what the role of the Home Office was and has become. Now, you can take that in whatever time you want, but I'm just conscious that when you started your evidence and you described your position and the Met's position, we didn't quite cover what was left for the Home Office.
A. Well, it was certainly the case that we had a strong desire to rebalance the tripartite around the Met towards the local, and that we thought that the change in this in the position of the Mayor was designed to do exactly that. Certainly, I know the Home Affairs Select Committee who looked at the future of policing said that there needed to be a rebalancing more towards the local. The Met is in a slightly odd position because obviously it does have national responsibilities, not least counter terrorism, and while we are sort of subcontractors, if you like, to the Home Office for that counter terrorism, nevertheless the direct responsibility for that is through to the Home Secretary. The Home Secretary has certain powers over us or MPA and over the MOPC, and similarly over the Commissioner. She specifically has the power of recommendation up to the Queen, for instance. But fundamentally I think what we all wanted to see was a refocusing on the local, and as part of that interview I did try to communicate generally that that is what was taking place, that we were setting a strategic framework that was very much focused on local crime priorities, teenage killings, you know, robbery, crime on the transport network, gangs, and that that was moving us away from a central target-setting regime which the Home Office had formally had in place.
Can I move on to the phone hacking investigation issue. This issue is important in its own right, but it also arguably illustrates in microcosm the nature of the relationship between you and the MPS and the areas in which you felt you could go and the self-denying ordinance I referred to, areas where you felt you could not go. And that's demonstrated by looking at some of the detail. You explain in paragraph 44 that every month Mr Yates kept you and the Mayor briefed about developments in counter terrorism, including occasionally the phone hacking investigation. Presumably there were monthly meetings which were quoted to the counter terrorism issue generally; is that right?
A. That's exactly right, yes.
Q. And the references to the phone hacking investigation, did they start in July of 2009, following the Guardian article, or was it more after the New York Times article in September 2010?
A. I'm afraid I don't recall specifically. From memory, John Yates would normally throw in a reference to the hacking investigation at the end of the meeting and that my guess would be that that would be in response to something that was in the media. So it would be, "You might have seen something about phone hacking. Just to say this is how we're addressing it". But I don't specifically remember when it started, I'm sorry.
Q. You explain at the end of paragraph 44 that your role at the MPA was strategic direction and governance: "I clearly would ask questions about a range of issues, operational and non-operational, including the phone hacking investigation." So is this right: you didn't feel that there were any areas you couldn't properly ask questions about, at least for the purpose of probing the MPS's reasons for doing X or not doing Y; is that right?
A. That's right. I mean that is in many ways, that's the specific nature of the job, is to ask those questions.
Q. To what extent would the phone hacking investigation bear on the issue of strategic direction?
A. Well, we effectively now move into the realm of talking about resources. I don't know if it would be appropriate for me to put some context around this issue in terms of the background. I know there have been both Sir Paul Stephenson and Cressida Dick have alluded to my questioning of them on the phone hacking investigation. It might be useful to just take a moment to put that in context, if that's all right.
Q. To be clear, that relates to the period after Operation Weeting started?
A. That's right.
Q. But there's no problem hearing what you have to say about that now because it's part of the overall picture of resources.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
It may be more helpful to try to do it chronologically so we build up a picture.
A. Fine. Absolutely, sorry. At that stage, I don't think we asked any I don't recall asking specific questions in those private briefings. I think at that stage there would have been questions asked in public at the Police Authority. We've exhibited various minutes of meetings during that period where questions were asked. But as I think Mr Yates indicated in his letter to me that came after the investigation was reopened, he reassured us throughout those briefings that on his knowledge at the time there was no new evidence and therefore no reason to reopen the investigation.
Of course, on that line of reasoning, if there was no new evidence, the investigation wouldn't be reopened for that reason and that reason alone. If there was new evidence, then resources might come into the equation, but because there was no new evidence, resources logically did not come into the equation.
A. That's right. In essence, to summarise the conversations, it would be, "There's been something in the newspaper, you might wonder why we're not reopening the investigation and this is why, because we're satisfied there's no new evidence."
Q. At any stage, Mr Malthouse, standing back from this, did you think there was a wider issue concerning the fact that the MPS were looking into the affairs of newspapers, of journalists, in particular a powerful news organisation, and that could have been an impediment, as it were, to full penetration of their investigation?
A. At that stage obviously there was no investigation, so I wasn't I hadn't necessarily connected the two. And in obviously at that stage we were only privy to the gifts and hospitality register of the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner. As I say, as I think I said in my evidence, I did have conversations following public questioning of the Commissioner about his contact then and I think later with various media organisations about why it was necessary to do it in that way. But at that stage there was no connection between the two.
Q. At what stage was there a connection, in your mind, and for what reason?
A. Well, I think once the investigation was reopened, and I think following the I suppose it all came to a head in the July following the revisions around the Chamy Media contract, but the whole thing then kind of snapped into place, if you like, in public perception, and the rest is history.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
I suppose the fact is that in 2009 and 2010 you're no better than the information you're provided, so do I gather that you had no sight of why the decisions had been made in 2006/2007, and save for being reassured that there was nothing in it, that's as far as it went? Is that the sense of it?
A. Essentially. I mean, obviously the first investigation was before my time and I relied on the reassurances that were given to me about that investigation, which have been played out now in public. But also this relates very much to an earlier question, which is about the deference I think the word you used the deference that I showed towards the operational imperative of the Commissioner, and I was dealing, in the Commissioner and in Mr Yates, with the most important and the third most important police officer in the land, and they were saying that in their professional view there was no evidence that required this investigation to be opened, and therefore they wouldn't. I also wouldn't want to overplay it. In terms of our general discussions, our primary discussions were not about the phone hacking investigation. In our briefings with Mr Yates, we would be talking about the counter terrorism atmosphere, the various specific or non-specific threats, all that kind of stuff, and it would come at the end. With the Commissioner similarly I would be focusing, as I think I've said, on knife crime, teenage homicide and rape and other issues, and what normally happened was that they would volunteer some reassurance about the phone hacking investigation.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes, I'm not being critical either of Sir Paul or Mr Yates in this regard. It depends how much information they actually had.
You had specific contact with Mr Yates this is paragraph 45 in relation to officers flying out to New York to interview Mr Hoare.
Q. That must have been after September 2010.
Q. Is the reason being solely this: it's overseas travel, it involves expenditure, you need to be involved?
A. Yes. I think the police generally had a I think they might have been required to inform us where overseas travel was involved.
Q. There was discussion at a full Authority meeting, you tell us, 30 September 2010, exhibit KM9, our tab 13. If I could ask you, please, to look at paragraph 26.9, at page 11664. It's clear that some written questions had been submitted to Sir Paul Stephenson, have I correctly understood it?
Q. The questions are, if I may say so, rather pertinent, 26.10, the right questions were being asked.
Q. You were told about judicial review proceedings.
Q. And the new evidence point, which of course we've heard a lot about. I have been asked to put to you a point on 26.14 on the next page, 11665, what the Commissioner told you about notifying victims. About five lines down it says: the criteria [that should be criterion] was for the MPS to take reasonable steps in conjunction with the service providers to inform those people." So we're looking back to 2006. "He stated that that included the eight people whose mobile phone voicemails were unlawfully intercepted." I should have started, I'm sorry, at the beginning of the sentence "However ". Do you see the end of the third line of 26.14, so we can get the full sense of it?
Q. "However, he informed members that where information exists to suggest some form of interception was or may have been attempted [do you see that?] the [criterion] was for the MPS to take reasonable steps The question is: What did you understand by that, in particular the clause "or may have been attempted"?
A. From memory, at that stage, I think I'm trying to recall now. This is 30 September 2010. I can't remember quite recall, but at some stage I recall John Yates saying there were a list of people, and but that list didn't necessarily indicate that they had been hacked. It was just a list of people. And whether this indicates that they were obviously if they had information that people on that list had been hacked, that they would contact them, or they would take reasonable steps to contact them, I presume that's what they would do. Sorry if I'm being unclear, I'm not quite sure what the question is asking me to
Q. I think that's a very fair answer, Mr Malthouse. It might be said, though, that what you were being told was not merely that there was evidence that interception had occurred, but may have been attempted, in other words it was far broader criterion. Do you see that?
Q. So, in other words, on Mr Yates' list, it might be said in relation to everybody on that list interception may have been attempted, and therefore people should have been notified. Is that what you understood by what Mr Yates or the Commissioner was telling you on this occasion?
A. To be honest, I'm not sure whether he's referring to other information that might indicate that someone on that list had or whether the list itself indicates. I think my guess is that that would be a point at issue. It's obviously the case that if Mr Yates was aware of that list and decided not to reopen the investigation, then he obviously assumed that the list was not indicative. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful. You might have to ask him. I don't recall the specific exchange.
Q. I'm asking you really to comment on what someone else said, but I've been asked to put that question to you and I have. 6.16. When the Commissioner outlines the process, which is said to be in the context about contacting potential victims, he says: which would have been to investigate allegations obtaining the right information and agreeing a prosecution strategy." That properly relates to choosing sample victims as cases to form the basis of the prosecution. Is that how you understood it?
A. Yes. I think that's a relatively common practice. Not least with prolific criminals. You know, you will prosecute a burglar for one or two burglaries, but there will be sometimes dozens taken into account.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Actually, that's not that's right, of course it is, but I think that the Commissioner wasn't saying that there were going to be lots of other offences taken into consideration but that in certain cases it was inevitably appropriate not to investigate every single potential offence because of the resource implications or whatever, and provided there was a sufficient reflection of the criminality, that would do. I think that's what he's talking about here, rather than offences being taken into consideration. For example, there's no question of Mr Mulcaire or Mr Goodman saying, "I've committed these six offences, but there are these X [and I'm not going to put a number on X] other offences which I'd like you to take into consideration when you pass sentence."
A. Yes, sir. Yes, sir, I think that's
Paragraph 47 of your statement, you say that the Acting Commissioner, Tim Godwin, reopened the investigation. That was in January 2011. I've been asked to put to you that it was Mr Yates who reopened the investigation. Is that your understanding?
A. At the MPA meeting, I think Mr Godwin referred to the MPS reopening the investigation. I'm not sure he defined the individual. And I can't recall, but at our pre-meeting to prepare for the Police Authority, I think he may have referred to him reopening the investigation, but I'm not sure, but I'm happy to defer to the niceties of it.
Q. Okay. Once Operation Weeting started, there was inquiry amongst the members of your body about the appropriateness of relationships between senior officers at the Met and individuals from News International. We can see that from tab 15, which is KM11; in particular page 1173. I think what happened was again there was a written request for details of meetings, and the answer comes back in relation to each senior police officer concerned.
Q. I think the question is, though: when you say in your statement the general response was that there was no cause for concern, whose response is that? Is that the MPA's response or the MPS's response?
A. Sorry, which paragraph?
Q. It's in the middle of paragraph 48 of your statement.
A. Sorry. Sorry, that's the general response from the MPS. When Sir Paul Stephenson was questioned about this in public and in private, he put up a robust defence that I think you heard in his evidence when he appeared here.
Q. What was your view about it, or the MPA's view about it?
A. Well, I think the views across the Authority varied in terms of its appropriateness. I accepted Sir Paul's premise that he needed to engage across the media to put the context of policing. As I think I say in my evidence, I was unsure about the modus operandi, whether that could be done in the office over a cup of coffee with a press officer present, but that was a matter for his judgment, and he was the most senior police officer in the land. So my view was that he'd been questioned about it in public and in private and had defended himself satisfactorily.
Q. When we see in the tables, though, which we're provided, it's not just Sir Paul Stephenson but obviously Mr Hayman, Mr Yates and others, enjoying hospitality from News International at a time when they were being investigated, was not the appropriateness or otherwise of that ever under consideration by you or the MPA?
A. Well, it was certainly raised, publicly, as I say, and as we've exhibited in the minutes. The Commissioner was questioned about the appropriateness of it and he defended it.
Q. The point was made by Mr Godwin at one of your meetings if you can look at tab 16, which is exhibit KM12, this is, I think, a full meeting held on 24 February 2011. Look at page 11760, paragraph 72.44. Five lines into 72.44: "Members also questioned if senior officers should have been meeting with the News of the World, particularly when a high profile investigation was in progress." Pausing there, the right questions, arguably, are being asked. And then the answer: "The Acting Commissioner stated any meetings would have taken place with the full knowledge of the importance of confidentiality and matters that were sub judice." Did you find that to be a satisfactory answer?
A. I can't recall the chronology, I'm afraid, of when I would have raised with Sir Paul and indeed others the modus operandi. I think it would be it would my concern would be that it was fine to meet in the office over a cup of coffee at that stage, but whether it was appropriate to have dinner would be a matter of his judgment. But again, Mr Godwin was the second most senior police officer in the land, he'd satisfied himself that the conduct of him and his officers was appropriate and the answer lay I mean, as I say, there were the other Authority members who were dissatisfied with it, but I can't recall now whether I took it up privately or not, having indicated that I did talk about the modus operandi with Sir Paul. I was also conscious that Mr Godwin in particular adopted a similar approach to hospitality as me, and we obviously discussed that matter, and therefore his word on this, I guess, carried particular weight.
Q. Although Mr Godwin was, as it were, more commenting on the activities of others, that it wasn't what he did which was under scrutiny here. That's right, isn't it?
A. That's correct, but the other thing to bear in mind is of course at this stage I think I'm right in saying we only saw the hospitality of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. It was for them to ensure that the officers junior to them were adhering to the Met rules around gifts and hospitality and that that was appropriate.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Of course it's not just formal hospitality, is it? If there are outside relationships that might impact on any of this, that has an impact.
A. It does if one is aware of them, yes, sir.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
I understand that entirely, of course.
It goes perhaps to the nature of your role as holding individuals to account. Can I test it in this way: if you had thought that the explanation given to you was wholly unsatisfactory and I know that wasn't in your mindset what if anything (a) would you have done about it or (b) could you have done about it?
A. If I'd felt it was unsatisfactory, I think I would in the first instance have been addressed it more assertively, perhaps, with the Commissioner. If that was unsatisfactory, I would have discussed it with the Mayor, and we would then have taken a decision about what to do about it. I guess ultimately, if, you know, we had decided that something needed to be done, we may have had to make some kind of public statement, but we never got to that position.
Q. I think Mr Malthouse there's a big difference between seeking to second-guess the decisions of highly experienced officers in relation to operational matters, so if they tell you there's no evidence you have to accept their word for it, because you can't, as it were, be expected to know the fine detail of the case, but on this sort of issue, namely hospitality and issue of perception, you were in a very good position to form a judgment, weren't you?
A. Yes. And my judgment was that while it wasn't necessarily the way I would have operated, Sir Paul Stephenson was a man of great integrity, the most senior police officer in the land. If I'd for one moment lost any trust in him, then we had a fairly major problem and as I said earlier, our relationship had to be based on a very high degree of trust. He was the guardian of information around national security, interacted closely with the Security Services, with the Home Secretary, with the Prime Minister, in a position of particular trust in many ways, and so for me to somehow indicate there was some doubt around that I think would have been wrong both in terms of the way I felt but would have been a major problem.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
One of the problems is how much each of you really knew about the history, and to some extent one of the issues that has led to us being where we are is very senior people manoeuvring or groping around in the dark without knowing what happens when the light has been turned on. Would that be fair?
A. I think that's exactly right. There were dots which appeared random, which subsequently may or may not be connected.
I'm not going to be able to cover every point with you, given the time we have, and so, for example, I'm going to pass over the letter of apology Mr Yates wrote to you and which you refer to at paragraph 51 of your statement. It speaks for itself. If comment needs to be made upon it, then comment can be made.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Mr Malthouse wanted to make a point about the context, and we've now reached the point at which the contextual discussion becomes relevant in the chronology.
He does, in relation to yes, Operation Weeting and the evidence both of Sir Paul Stephenson and, as I said, AC Cressida Dick. You were expressing concern on more than one occasion about the level of resources that were being devoted to Operation Weeting. First of all, was their evidence broadly speaking right, and secondly, what was the basis of your concern, if you were expressing concerns?
A. Yes, I did express concern, although the impression that this was some sort of concerted effort is a bit, I think, playing it a bit strongly. In contextual terms, at the beginning of 2009 the Met convicted two unpleasant serial rapists, Reid and Worboys, and the investigations of those rapists were dogged with various errors that caused consternation in the Met. In late 2009, Sir Paul Stephenson created a new rape command, SCD2, into which quite a lot of resources were poured, and that command, the creation of that command revealed a backlog of rape cases of about 400 that had not been investigated or clarified. Throughout 2010, the organisation was struggling with them and adding resources to them, particularly from the homicide command, where homicide had fallen, so there was an agreed reallocation of resource to rape. At the same time, as I think I've said earlier, I was expressing unhappiness about the Met's approach towards gangs and dealing with gangs, and I had a number of conversations particularly with Cressida Dick and with the Commissioner around that approach. So as we moved into early 2011 and the investigation was launched and it became apparent that it was going to be a large drain on resources from you know, from what is a valuable and finite resource, which is our detective capability. I was keen to ensure that they were not undertaking this investigation to the detriment of, for instance, rape victims. Having sat and watched the tears roll down the faces of rape victims as they recounted what they did, what had happened to them, I was particularly acutely aware of that problem. So putting it in that context, and given that my job is to make sure that the Met fairly balances resources across the priorities, and indeed assesses what the priorities are and what's mostly in the public interest, I was keen to ensure that they weren't overplaying it. At the same time, Sir Paul had told me, and indeed told the Home Affairs Select Committee, that a lot of the detectives that were on this investigation were undertaking civil disclosure. They weren't investigating, as it were, they were digging through documents, providing them for others to take action in the civil courts against News International. For me at the time, I felt that, you know, using a detective for that was not as important as using a detective to solve a rape case, and so I wanted to make that fairly clear. The investigation now and I've continued to ask questions about resourcing of this investigation has grown very significantly. The forecast cost for Weeting and related is about ?40 million. Now, our annual spend on child abuse in London is only 36. We have I think at the moment about 150 individuals engaged on these various investigations. We only have 27 engaged on tracking down paedophiles. My natural desire is obviously to see a reduction in harm in London to those vulnerable individuals, and that was merely what I was expressing to both AC Dick and to the Commissioner. I have to say there's been sir, you will have noticed a lot of press comment about those particular items of evidence and it came as a shock to me that people thought I was not allowed to ask legitimate questions about the resourcing across the various appalling crime types that take place, not least, because the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee had asked the Commissioner if he thought it was an appropriate use of police resource to be doing this, as had members of the Authority in public questioned the allocation of resources too. The Commissioner had stated publicly he would rather those detectives were investigating I think he called them "heinous crimes" elsewhere, but that they had a duty to fulfil and I guess I was probing and questioning the allocation of resources to that duty.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
To what extent did you consider or do you consider the risk of reputational damage to the Metropolitan Police as a consequence of what had not previously been done?
A. Well, at that stage, prior to the kind of revelations that were later I mean I obviously was concerned about the reputational damage. I don't think at any stage I indicated that I thought they shouldn't be investigating. It was just a matter of speed and resources. I think as, interestingly, Jenny Jones in her questioning of the Commissioner at a Police Authority who is a Green Party member of the London Assembly, she said, "Why don't you just put fewer detectives on the civil disclosure and it will go a bit slower and then you can put more detectives on robbery or rape or whatever it might be and get those sorted out?" which is to me a fair enough question. And the Commissioner said that he was satisfied that the resources were balanced, as he did to me and as Cressida Dick did to me. But the notion that these questions are not legitimate ones to ask, when policing is a zero sum game we only have 32,000 officers I have to say I was surprised at the controversy that that seemed to cause.
Thank you, Mr Malthouse. Events leading to the resignations of Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates, the next section of your evidence. I'm going to take some of it as read, because we've already heard a lot of evidence about it, the Champneys stay, the involvement of Mr Wallis, we know about that, the Chamy Media contract, we know about that as well. Can I pick the story up at paragraph 56. You say there was a meeting at Scotland Yard on Sunday. I think that was in fact 17 July. Check that, the Monday was the 18th.
A. Was it? I'm sorry, apologies.
Q. It doesn't matter at all, but can you see from the next page you get the date right?
A. Do I? I'm sorry.
Q. That's the Monday. What it amounted to is this, that a number of matters were referred directly by the Deputy Commissioner to your Professional Standards Cases Sub-Committee, which is known as the PSCSC, and those matters were tabled for discussion, you say, the following Monday, which was 18 July. The purpose or the role of the PSCSC, is this right, is not to determine the merits of any complaint or any referral, but just where there's an issue worthy of consideration by the IPCC?
A. Yes. I think the committee's decision was whether to record the complaint and pass it on to the IPCC.
Q. So this is what happened in relation to two complaints against AC Yates on 18 July, although to run the story forward to November, both of those complaints were, as it were, dismissed by the IPCC, weren't they?
Q. Can I ask you, please, about Sir Paul's resignation. When you had your discussion with him on the Sunday, which is 17 July, presumably that was a confidential discussion, was it?
A. There were it was the Commissioner's normal practice to meet me and the chief executive, Catherine Crawford, together, but when he wished to discuss very personal matters, his health, family issues, whatever, then he would normally ask Catherine Crawford to leave and I recall that he did at that stage, yes, although she had been party to the meeting previously.
Q. What he suggested to you at that meeting was that he intended to resign; is that correct?
A. Yes. He said that he felt that was probably the best course, but that he would let me know. He hadn't totally made up his mind. He would let me know later.
Q. Your understanding was that the Mayor tried to persuade him to remain; is that right?
A. I believe that's the case, yes.
Q. From your own perspective, you didn't see any reason why he should resign; is that correct?
A. Yes. I mean, I felt I had a huge amount of admiration for Sir Paul and still do, and thought he was a man of great integrity and had some quite significant achievements during a long and distinguished career, and I had been reassured by him and Mr Godwin that the coincidence of the Champneys hospitality and the involvement of Mr Wallis in the PR of that particular establishment was unfortunate, but that the two together had created a perception which Sir Paul obviously didn't feel he could live with. I personally felt that the good of the organisation and the good of the city, in terms of keeping it safe, outweighed that particular consideration.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
The fact is that it was, as we now know, entirely coincidental that Mr Wallis was in any sense connected with Champneys. Now, you can ask about Sir Paul seeking to get better in the way that he did, but that's a very disconnected issue.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Would you agree with that?
A. Yes, I don't think I'm revealing too much confidence in that it became apparent to me that Sir Paul Stephenson was completely shocked when it was revealed that Wallis was involved in Champneys. It seemed to take him totally by surprise, and therefore the coincidence of those two, which ultimately created the public perception which Sir Paul didn't feel he could continue with, seemed very unfortunate. Unfair.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
It's perhaps one of the unfortunate consequences of the whole thing.
Before we have our break I have my eye on the clock throughout this, Mr Malthouse Mr Yates, the evidence has come out already, the issue of the referral. The decision was made to suspend him but then put in abeyance because he was going to appear before the Select Committee and needed to be able to prepare for that, but there came a point at which he did resign. You say in paragraph 66, Mr Malthouse, that you only spoke to John Yates once about his resignation: when he informed me of his decision. He did not elaborate on the extent to which he was influenced by press coverage." Did you seek to persuade Mr Yates not to resign?
A. I don't think I did, no.
Okay. Is that a convenient moment?
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Certainly. We'll just take five minutes. (11.27 am) (A short break) (11.35 am)
Mr Malthouse, we're now onto the issue of gifts and hospitality, paragraph 67 of your statement, the bottom of page 11537, which we've largely covered in the main and we're going to cover it in detail with subsequent witnesses. I think just one point of principle, really, paragraph 68 of your statement. You refers to the Met's policy, which of course we've scrutinised: "Offers of gifts and hospitality should typically be politely declined except where there is a valid reason to believe that to refuse the offer may cause offence or damage working relationships." Well, it might be argued that that exception is so wide that in fact it permits the acceptance of virtually any form of gift or hospitality. (a) do you agree with that interpretation and (b) what is your view upon it?
A. No, I don't think I do. I think it's fairly plain for people whose job it is to exercise their professional judgment every single day. That's what police officers have to do. They are charged to exercise that judgment in frankly some very critical situations, so handling an invitation to lunch should be fairly simply, I would have thought, and I haven't found that the declining of hospitality generally causes offence. From time to time, it is the case that certain civic engagements that take place on an annual basis, if you repeatedly decline them, can sometimes cause offence and as a result I have tended to accept those civic engagements every other year or every third year, to make sure that people don't think that somehow I'm snubbing their organisation or whatever it might be. But I think given that you're making a judgment about whether to arrest somebody or incarcerate somebody or using rubber bullets on a crowd, handling a lunch invitation should be relatively simply.
Q. I think your evidence is that you don't think turning down an invitation from a journalist would cause offence?
A. No, I don't think so, if the explanation is given that that is the policy of the organisation. And I think it's also perfectly possible to offer an alternative, which is to say, "I would like to engage with you, I would like to talk about the context of policing and explain to you what I'm trying to do; why don't you come into the Yard for a cup of coffee and we'll sit down for half an hour and talk about it?"
Q. Can I ask you this hypothetical question then, that going back to the questions which your members asked in the spring of 2011, that had they been equipped, as it were, with all the evidence, including all the evidence this Inquiry has received, do you think their reaction and your reaction to the sort of hospitality we have seen would have been different?
A. If they had seen it?
A. Yes, I think so.
A. Well, I think there have been a number of witnesses, not least, I think, Sir Hugh Orde yesterday, who said that he'd been surprised at the level of hospitality that had been offered.
Q. Okay. Mr Malthouse, the section which deals with proposed changes to police governance we can take largely as read, including the bill and the new Act, but there is a point I've been asked to put to you on paragraph 86 of your statement, 11541. The question is this: at the time of the appointment of Sir Paul Stephenson as Commissioner, both you and the Mayor supported the notion of the Commissioner having the power of appointment and the power to conduct discipline matters for ACPO members of the Met. The question is: Have you changed your mind?
A. I have, and did during the progress of the bill, for a couple of reasons, practical and principled. The principle problem was that I was persuaded of the case that in conduct matters if the Commissioner was seen as effectively judge, jury and executioner, that wasn't necessarily good for public confidence in the upper echelons of the force. It also in practical terms meant that what would happen was that those people who were unhappy with the Commissioner's conduct of a conduct matter against one of the officers would just make a complaint against the Commissioner, and indeed that has come to pass over the last couple of months. So what we would end up with is a whole raft of complaints about the Commissioner, which was undesirable, and those were the kind of broad issues. There's also a practical issue which is in the last commissioners have a five-year fixed term. In the last six months of a commissioner's or so, of a commissioner's appointment, if a vacancy became available and the commissioner made the appointment of the officer four, five years beneath him, that would obviously fetter any incoming commissioner in terms of their appointment. So having a hand if you like on that transitional period I thought might be useful.
Q. The MOPC has been in post, as it were, I think from 17 January this year?
Q. You explain in paragraph 88 that the over-arching duty of MOPC has not drastically changed from that of the MPA, although the precise mechanics obviously differ in the way in which you tell us in that paragraph. Can I deal with a couple of miscellaneous issues at the end now, Mr Malthouse. The first is this, that the MPA media strategy says that there's an established protocol that the Chair or Deputy Chair should respond to media requests. Can you recall that?
Q. The question is: do you think there is a risk that criticism of the MPS might be toned down when making public statements for the sake of corporate image?
A. I think in the generality of elected police and crime commissioners, yes, that might be an issue. But obviously the critical difference in the new governance arrangements over the existing is that the scrutiny function of the MPA or indeed any Police Authority has now been transferred externally, so that those public comments and that particular event that might have prompted those public comments can be probed in a much more comprehensive and less conflicted way, and while it may be desirable, and indeed I do think it's desirable that a commissioner and a mayor stand shoulder to shoulder in trying to inculcate confidence in the force in the people they serve, it's obviously a critical job of the police and crime panel, or in our case the Police and Crime Committee of the London Assembly, to test that and to do their best to scrutinise it and open it the to public. I have to say it's also a critical role for the media. You know, the media has a very, very important role to play in testing whether that confidence that the public should have in their police is valid or not.
Q. The final question is this: you spoke about your desire to probe into the allocation of resources, particularly in the context of Operation Weeting and the need to do that, but do you support the MPS's allocation of resources to the phone hacking investigation issue, Operation Weeting and the other related operations?
A. Yes. I think as Sir Paul Stephenson has said, this is an investigation that has to happen. It is a question merely of balancing resources across the various crime types that the Met have to deal with. The forecast I have for staffing on the various investigations is that it will rise next year to nearly 200 people, and that is a very, very significant undertaking and my job is to make sure that that is balanced appropriately against you know, I mean 200 people is sort of eight murder squads, and I have to make sure that is balanced appropriately against the Met's ability to deal with some of the very serious and heinous crime types which my life sadly has been populated with over the last four years.
Q. Were there any other points which we haven't covered in your evidence which you would wish to cover orally?
A. There was only one further thing, sir, if I may, which is that the theme of my evidence and perhaps questioning today might give rise to the impression that I don't think that the press or the media have an important role to play in policing, and I believe they do. There are many notable examples of fine journalism around crime, around particular cases, which have resulted in significant change both within the Met and externally in society, and I think to lose that would be would diminish us as a country, frankly. All I am concerned about is maintaining the public's confidence in the probity of the relationship between police officers and the media, recognising, as I think we have to, that police officers have a different status from the rest of us. They are not politicians, they are not surgeons. They are quasi judicial. In the same way that there are other sections of society, such as perhaps the judiciary, who maintain a particular stance towards the media, I do think that the police have to bear that in mind when they interact, and I wouldn't want it to be thought that I was somehow trying to restrict that in any way, merely trying to make sure that the public have confidence that that contact between the press and the police is done on a proper basis.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Mr Malthouse, that raises a number of questions, and you are particularly well placed to consider them, because this Inquiry concerns intersecting lines. There is the press and the way in which it investigates stories, that is both the absolutely splendid work that they do in holding all those who hold power to account, but there is within that a very small subset of practices which actually generated the Inquiry. So I take your last answer to mean that one has to be very careful in seeking to control or regulate the latter, not to imperil the former. So that's the first thing. The second intersecting line is between the police and the press, particularly the circumstances, should they arise, as they have, where the police have to get involved in investigating the press. The third intersecting line, which you have also had to deal with, is the way in which the press interreact with politicians, and the business of influence there. Is there anything on any of those areas, all of which are encompassed by the work that I have to do, that you wish to say anything about from the perspective of somebody who is a politician, who has to deal with the press, and who has a close involvement both with the police and, as you've explained, with the public in the context of their concerns about crime?
A. I'm very conscious that I am at the nexus of your three strands, as you put it. I think my main concern would be to say that while it is possible to put in place rules and standard operating procedures and regulations around some of these situations, in the end, a bit like the notion of operational independence, it's very fluid and context-driven. Much of the interaction between those various parties relies on a high degree of personal probity and a high degree of trust, and those are things you can't legislate for in many ways, and so to a certain extent it's a little bit like the approach that we've sort of taken to fraud and corruption in the Metropolitan Police. When I said we were too much Sherlock Holmes, that means we were detecting people who contravened the rules, instead of I tried to shift the emphasis so that we put in place systems and processes to make sure that we prevent any transgression but also that there is a high level of probity within the organisation around those issues, and people know that that's expected of them. So I have to say I don't envy you in the task of trying to translate that into written form, but I would say that if some of that fluidity is lost, then I think we will, as you said in your first point, sir, imperil the flow of useful information into the public arena, which has on many occasions done a significant amount of good.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes. It's obviously important not to do that, but it may be that the climate within which some decisions have been made has to change. It is said that it has changed. But it's reinforcing that and providing some concrete support for that that satisfies the concern that has clearly been expressed by many that is going to create the difficulty.
A. I think that's absolutely right, sir.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Thank you very much indeed.
A. Thank you.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Thank you for your assistance and thank you for all the work you've put into the statement you've provided.
A. Thank you very much, sir.
The next witness is Ms Crawford. MS CATHERINE LYNNE CRAWFORD (affirmed) Questions by MR JAY
Your full name, please, Ms Crawford?
A. Catherine Lynne Crawford.
Q. You've kindly provided us with a witness statement dated 29 February and a standard statement of truth. Is this your formal evidence to the Inquiry?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. In terms of who you are and your career, you were the Chief Executive of the MPA and you're now the Chief Executive of MOPC; is that right?
A. That's right.
Q. Your previous career, you worked as a civil servant in the Home Office, first of all. In 1992 you moved to work in the police department and you were well, as you point out, the Home Secretary was directly responsible for the Metropolitan Police, discharging the functions of Police Authority. In 1996 you were seconded to set up the APA. The MPA was established in the year 2000 under the GLA Act of 1999. And you were Chief Executive of the MPA effectively throughout its existence, which was 2000 to January 2012; is that right?
A. That is correct, yes.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
So it's clear that you've been in or around the area of the politics of policing for your professional career?
A. For a very significant proportion of it, yes, sir.
Thank you. As Chief Executive of the MPA, your functions are, at least as they were, set out under paragraph 8 of your statement. You make it clear that there was a role in relation to the appointment of ACPO officers, which, is this right, did not include the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner, but did include everyone else?
A. The direct appointments are made by the Authority. The Authority did have a role in making recommendations in respect of the Deputy and Commissioner, but they were just recommendations to the Home Secretary, who in turn made a recommendation to the Crown.
Q. When you say on the next page, 12700, that you fulfilled a disciplinary role in relation to ACPO officers, did that include the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner?
A. Yes, the Authority did that, yes.
Q. The statutory duty of the MPA is really a matter of record. You've summarised it very helpfully for us under paragraph 12 of the statement. We've heard further evidence in relation to that from Mr Malthouse. Can you assist us, please, with your own take on the tension between the MPA not involving itself in operational matters, but having an over-arching quasi regulatory but not quite fully regulatory role, its concern as to the distribution of resources and the manner in which it would not second guess the decisions of the MPS? How did you see all of that operating?
A. Well, as I think the Inquiry has heard from other witnesses, particularly just now from Mr Malthouse, it was quite a rich and complicated picture. I believe that police authorities generally the MPA was no exception are unique or were unique in the mix of their roles and responsibilities, because there were direct executive functions, not least in appointing officers and handling their conduct, and ultimately executive responsibility for resources, which remain vested in the Authority and are still vested in the MOPC now. So that controlling the money, of course, implies a degree of potential control over the way in which the money is used across the board. So I would always maintain that there were no no-go areas in terms of what the Authority could legitimately probe or involve itself in. The exception to that, I believe, is the conduct of an individual investigation or operation, but the concept of operational independence as an absolute and as a barrier to the Authority properly discharging its function was not one that was helpful.
Q. So you wouldn't concern yourself with the minutiae of how a particular operation was being conducted because that wouldn't involve wider strategic or resource implications but that was really a question of self-denying ordinance rather than any constitutional reason why you couldn't?
A. Ultimately I believe there is a constitutional reason. I mean, just as each police officer is, as an officer of the Crown, responsible for his or her own decisions in respect of making an arrest, for example, so in law no one can be required by his superior officer to make an arrest, so I think there is a constitutional position there which underpins the whole concept, but in more general terms, it would be a question of judgment of what was proper in terms of whether to become involved in individual investigations. But then you get into a definition of involvement. That would not necessarily mean that you couldn't ask questions.
Q. So when we see in relation to the phone hacking investigation, or perhaps more pertinently the decision not to reopen the investigation, specific questions being asked, that was clearly within the remit, was it, of the MPA, notwithstanding that on one analysis it could be said to involve an operational decision?
A. Yes, I believe it was within the remit. And was quite proper.
Q. Yes. The next section of your statement, you deal with the structure of the MPA, really in terms of its statutory framework, the various committees which were created and other subcommittees, and then MPA standing orders. Unless there are any particular points which you would wish to draw to our attention, we're going to take all of that as read because it's highly comprehensive and clear. Can I ask you though to move forward to paragraph 44, page 12710. You say: "For the reasons I have explained above, all employment contracts with MPS staff (all non-warranted officers) were entered into by the MPA." So you're excluding from that police constables?
Q. Because they're appointed they're officers of the Crown but their status is governed by statute. "But the MPA was responsible for the appointment of all ACPO rank officers, other than the Commissioner and the Deputy Commissioner." As you've explained, the MPA had advisory input in that context?
A. That's right.
Q. The standard terms and conditions of appointment, paragraph 45 of your statement, we have these under tab 43 of the bundle. Your exhibit CC6. There is an issue on clause 25, which is page 12831. Do you have that to hand?
Q. It's the clause which deals with post Authority employment and appointments: "Before accepting any appointment which would start within one year of leaving the service, you must obtain the approval of the chief executive [that's you, of course] to the Authority in cases where (1) the appointment is to an organisation, firm or business that provides any commercial and contractual services to the MPS or the Authority, (2) the appointment is to an organisation, firm or business that intends to tender for provision of commercial and contractual services to the MPS or the Authority." I'm right in saying that that doesn't apply to press organisations, does it?
A. Unless I can't imagine a situation in which this would be the case, but unless such a press organisation was about to enter a contractual relationship, no.
Q. And such a situation would be difficult to envisage, but I suppose in theory it might exist, do you agree?
A. It could in theory exist, yes.
Q. So is this correct, there isn't in fact any impediment under contract of an ACPO officer leaving the MPS and then immediately working for the press?
A. No, there isn't.
Q. That would be a policy for members to consider rather than the chief executive, but is that issue under consideration at the moment or not?
A. I think there would be a number of issues arising from the evidence that this Inquiry has heard that will need to be taken into account in the new governance structures that we are testing out at the moment.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
So I'm creating work for you to do as well.
A. I fear so, sir.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
The next section of your statement is "Scrutiny of the MPS". Again the background to this is understood. Can I ask you, please, about paragraph 50 of your statement, page 12712. You say: "Individual members also pursued particular interests, often very effectively. As I discussed in more detail below, members of the HR and remuneration subcommittee, for example, consistently raised questions in relation to the acceptance of hospitality by the Commissioner and his senior officers, challenging them as to what had been accepted and why. Members were clear that it would be good practice for the MPS to publish the gifts and hospitality register online." My question is: did you or members have access to the hospitality registers?
A. Not routinely, but if we had asked for access or to see them on a particular occasion, as did happen once, then that would have been forthcoming, but we did not have routine access.
Q. But if you wanted to see them, there was nothing to stop you, was there?
Q. Was there ever a sense in the members who shared a particular interest in this topic that more information might have been available which wasn't being provided?
A. I think it was less concern to them that there was potentially something there to be unearthed, if I may put it that way, than that it was good practice to be transparent about what had been accepted or indeed rejected, offered and rejected, and many of them came from a background where this had been standard practice for some time and found it difficult to understand why it was just not automatically put into place within the Met.
Q. For the understandable and obvious reason that it dealt with any issues of perception, didn't it?
A. Exactly so. Perception much more than the reality of what might be going on.
Q. When you say in your statement "members were clear that it would be good practice for the MPS to publish the register online", one other core participant has asked me to put to you this question: you say "members were clear that it would be good practice for MPS to publish registers online". What does "clear" mean here?
A. It means that they frequently said that it would be good practice to put it online.
Q. It wasn't me who suggested that question, I think we probably know what "clear" meant, but I have faithfully followed my instructions. Then the next question is: what did you do about it, if anything?
A. It was raised on more than one occasion at the appropriate committee meeting, and we consistently I consistently on behalf of members reminded senior colleagues within the Met that it was stated that they had said that they were going to do that and where was it, what progress are we making?
Q. The progress or possibly the lack of it is going to be dealt with by the next witness in terms of the evolution of the policies over the years. Paragraph 53 now of your statement, Ms Crawford, where you say: "The Commissioner could be called before the London Assembly to answer questions he could not be required to attend." Presumably no one ever declined your invitation?
A. It was the Assembly's invitation, but yes, nobody declined.
Q. 54: "The relationship between the Commissioner and the MPA was frequently challenging, but the nature of the challenges varied depending on the individual Commissioner." Aside from debating the different personalities of the individual Commissioners, and we have seen them all, really, are there any particular points that are embedded in that statement which you could bring out for us, Ms Crawford?
A. Well, if I may go back to, I think, some of the points Mr Malthouse was making at the end of his statement, it is very difficult to define in writing exactly what rules ought to apply to this very sensitive relationship. The success of the functions of the Authority were, in my perception, very dependent on the relationship between the Chair at the time and the Commissioner at the time, and that did vary according to the approach of those individuals. As I know, the Inquiry has had the privilege of hearing from most, if not all, of the from all of the Commissioners during the period of the MPA's existence, and over that time there have also been four Chairs, and members have fluctuated, it has fluctuated with the approach that's been given. I can't identify anything that gave me cause for concern in those fluctuations.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
One of the questions you might like to consider is whether there is anything that you might suggest I should recommend, which would clarify, assist or develop the relationship in a way that is in keeping with the different responsibilities of the holders of the two offices. It may be there isn't, but with your experience, if you consider there is and that you think that it would be valuable, I would be very interested to learn about it.
A. Ideally I would like to give that some thought, if I may, if it would be possible to come back to that.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Please do. If you just write to me, I'm going to be here for some time.
A. Yes. I would like to take up that offer, if I may. Thank you.
I've been asked to suggest this to you, that all the Commissioners welcomed the public accountability provided by the MPA, didn't they?
Q. Thank you. Interaction with the media now, Ms Crawford, the bottom of page 12713, paragraph 59. When you say: "The MPA's interactions with the media were always on a formal basis." I think you're referring here to officers, not members; is that right?
Q. Because we've heard about informal interactions which politicians or members had with the press. What was the rationale behind keeping this tightly within the professional communications team, which you go on to refer to in paragraph 59?
A. Well, it's always been my experience that the input of professional advisers in a press team, media team, communications team, whatever you want to call it, is very important, particularly given the often extremely sensitive nature of the material with which we were dealing. It was certainly a comfort to me as chief executive to know that I had professional advisers, both for me and for the Chair and for the members.
Q. Probably flowing on from the answer you've just given, it explains the last two sentences of paragraph 61, why the communications team didn't give off-the-record briefings. Have I understood it correctly?
A. Yes. Yes.
Q. The MPA had its own media strategy. That's our tab 66, your exhibit CC9. Just briefly look at this starting at page 12871. The mission statement for London's police, the MPA, was "Met Forward", which we heard Mr Malthouse refer to.
Q. Would you agree that this looks more like a corporate communications strategy than a media strategy?
A. You anticipate my argument, Mr Jay. Looking at this again, as part of preparing for today, it occurred to me that this is actually a communications strategy, it's not a media strategy. You're absolutely right.
Q. The key messages, 12783, at the bottom, the over-arching key messages I suppose they're messages we would expect to see in this sort of situation. I've been asked to put to you a point under the rubric "Spokesperson" on 12874, the protocol that the Chair or Deputy Chair should respond to media requests. And the question is: does this protocol or did this protocol tend to strangle criticism by MPA members about MPS conduct or decision-making?
A. No, I don't believe that it did. It was a protocol, it was not binding on anyone and it was not always it certainly didn't prevent individual members raising any concerns that they wanted to. It was more in terms of responses than proactive briefing. There would be nothing to stop members raising those sorts of concerns.
Q. A follow-up point I've been asked to put to you, that if one looks at this strategy, this document, there's nothing here about ensuring that any concerns held by the MPA about MPS behaviour or decision-making reached the press. Why is that so?
A. Concerns about how I'm sorry?
Q. Concerns about behaviour of the MPS, individual officers within it or its decision-making. There's nothing in the strategy about that at all. Why is that the position?
A. I am not sure that would be a relevant matter to include in a strategy that was an internal document for how we conducted our business.
Q. Okay. So are you saying if there were concerns, they would be expressed anyway, and this document isn't anything which would hamper the expression of such concerns?
Q. Can I ask about the issue of leaks. Were leaks an issue with the MPA in your view?
A. If I may, I'd like to just explore a little what is meant by a leak, because in my experience, or my understanding and to some extent my experience, that is a very wide spectrum that is covered by the word "leak". So at one extreme you might have passing on, either for money or other motives, classified material which might endanger the security of the state, which clearly is a criminal matter; to the other end of the spectrum, where you can be talking possibly about someone the expression has been used in this Inquiry indulging in a little "tittle-tattle", maybe saying to a journalist, "You may think that, I can't possibly comment", which is always an indication that there may be something more to probe at. At that end of the spectrum, with an eclectic set of members over the years, I wouldn't like to give an undertaking that there was never any perhaps on some occasions inappropriate gossip, but leaks in the serious sense of something that would be subject to criminal or conduct investigations I was never aware of happening.
Q. There was one leak investigation which we will look at in a moment, but that case, of course, it was that investigation ascertained that the leak was not from the MPA.
Q. Can I ask you, please, about paragraph 69 of your statement, page 12716, where you express the view that: "The press were doubtless frustrated with us at times because we were always careful to respond within the limits of what we deemed appropriate disclosure." Then you say at the end of that paragraph: "The MPA always operated on the basis the public transparency is key, so that even if there were bad news, the facts should not be concealed." So did the frustration then result from the fact that very often the information the press wanted to hear about was sensitive or confidential, and you simply couldn't disclose it to them, or did it flow from the fact that there was delay in providing it to them?
A. Both. Both of those are true. There was always a lot of press interest, for reasons I entirely understood, in the details of individual people who might be concerned I'm talking here about the actions of the professional standards subcommittee, and they would want confirmation about personal information that we were unable to give, but it is also the case that there would be queries about matters of fact, data, statistics, where the press quite often felt that we were slow in responding. Our perception was that we did it as quickly as we could, but it was sometimes not quickly enough for the 6 o'clock deadline.
Q. Looking at what the communications team was doing and the strategy underpinning it, would you agree that reputation management was a very important issue for the MPA?
A. I'm never I'm sorry, I'm sounding pedantic about words again. Reputational management is not a phrase that I find particularly helpful, necessarily. It's certainly the case that the MPA was consistently very concerned about any risk of reputational damage to the Metropolitan Police, because of the inevitable knock-on effect in terms of the confidence of the public in how the police were performing. In terms of being proactive, I think it's fair to say that the Chairs and members and more than one Chair were always keen that there should be an anticipation of potential reputational risk and damage and everything that could be done to minimise that rather than waiting for it to happen and then trying to put in place damage limitation.
Q. So in that sense reputation management would be presumably a good thing, wouldn't it?
A. If that's what reputation management is, then that would be a good thing.
Q. Did the MPA want to take over the role of the DPA and absorb it into the MPA?
Q. Did its members?
A. Not that I can recall.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
They've actually not quite got the same outlook on life, have they?
A. No. No. That's right, sir. There's a lot of overlap.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
A. But fundamentally there has to be some clear blue water between the operations of the two organisations. It wouldn't be appropriate.
When you say in paragraph 72 that the MPA did not have any awareness or involvement in the policing of offences or suspected offences committed by the media, presumably you're excluding from that sentence the phone hacking issue, are you?
A. Yes. In the more recent years. I think what I probably had explicitly in mind when I wrote this was that until the trial in 2006, we were not aware that the the Authority was not aware that there was an ongoing investigation into allegations in the Royal household, for instance. There will be individual investigations going on within the Met now, of which we will know nothing, about the media or anything else.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Would the Authority expect to be informed of the most sensitive inquiries, simply so that they knew what was going on, or would it be something which you positively would not want to know? So, for example, in that particular case, this was an inquiry which had been generated by concern expressed in the Royal household. I'm just trying to understand the extent to which the Authority might feel that actually they ought to be in the loop and whether that's changed over the years.
A. I think, if I may, sir, I'd like to make a distinction between the Authority, which is the formal body, and individual Chairs. I think there were matters on which it was appropriate for individual Chairs to have fairly confidential briefings from the Commissioner of the day in a way that it didn't necessarily need to be promulgated to the whole of the Authority, to all the members. I think there were some individual members over the period who felt that they would very much have liked to have been rather more in the loop, but my own view is that it was appropriate to conduct that kind of briefing information with the Chair.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
And what advantage was there to either as a consequence of bringing the Chair and I'm perfectly happy to accept that limitation into the loop, to allow him to be aware? What's everybody getting out of this? What's the value of it?
A. At some points there would be a value in terms of what I think Mr Malthouse described as political top cover.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
A. In other scenarios that I can think of, it was more a case of Chairs in particular not wanting to be taken by surprise, not wanting to learn about something that had potential reputational effects, if you like, for the Met from the newspapers or the Today programme, that it was appropriate to have that kind of advance notice. The potential downside of all that, of course, is that there would be a perception that the decisions or the conduct of an investigation was being improperly influenced by the Chair, so it's a delicate line to tread.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes. Would your Chairs have felt it appropriate to provide the Commissioner with the benefit of their experience, their political experience, which might impact on decisions that obviously the Commissioner had to take, or would this simply be something that would be undertaken as a mechanism to allow the Chair to provide the cover that Mr Malthouse spoke about, if it was necessary?
A. I think it is there were occasions on which it was the first. Again, an expression Mr Malthouse used was that it would never be appropriate to take operational decisions in a vacuum, and that there is a wider context which needs to be taken into account, and I think all the Chairs had a particular link through to the people of London, to the way in which the London political scene in particular operated, the likely ramifications of pursuing particular lines. There's the example again of the extension of Blunt 2 and the likely effect that would have on communities who would perceive that they were being particularly targeted. "Have you properly thought that through?" It's that kind of approach: "Have you thoroughly thought that through? Can I be satisfied that you've taken into account all relevant considerations? I may have some experience that would be of value to you". I would like to put on record the fact that I've sat through a lot of these conversations with, as I've said, four Chairs and four Commissioners, and I have never in my official capacity felt that any improper pressure had been put by any of them on the police to follow any particular line, either of omission or commission.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
I wasn't for a moment suggesting that. I was merely exploring the relationship, because it's particularly relevant today, as we go into a new mechanism, perhaps only slightly different for London but very different outside London, for people to understand what is actually happening. Would it be therefore correct to assume that the Commissioner had the advantage of the resource of the Chair in the sense that he provided a window which he then could take into account or not as he operationally thought fit?
A. If I may say so, you've put that much better than I was fumbling to do. It is exactly what I meant.
In paragraph 72 of your statement where you deal with the issue of resource implications, and the role of the MPA in that context, in the last sentence you say: "The MPA therefore sought from the MPS frequent updates on resources, time scales and costs in relation to Operations Weeting and Elveden, and the MOPC will continue to do so." Were any particular concerns expressed about the level of expenditure?
A. It's not, I think, a matter so much of concern as a matter of understanding that people are properly taking into account the balance across the whole range of activities that need to be pursued. Though I think you've just heard Mr Malthouse express some concerns.
Q. On the one hand, there's the issue of reputational harm to the MPS, or possible reputational harm, and allied to that the acute public interest in Operation Weeting and Elveden. Those presumably are matters which you might take into account, are they?
A. Yes. It's a balance that has to be struck.
Q. MOPC interaction with the media, page 12718. I think you're basically saying here that the position will be as it was with the MPA, notwithstanding that the MOPC is a rather different creature of statute. Is that broadly speaking the position?
A. I'm not sure that's exactly what I meant to convey here. There clearly is a concern that the amount of business that was conducted in public through the various committees that I've outlined earlier in my statement will reduce, and that we have to find ways of balancing that out, alternative ways of making the decision-making process clear, and I've said that we'll use the web to do that. But the scrutiny that the Police and Crime Committee will conduct in public, it has already begun to conduct in public, will quite clearly continue to provide a route for the Met's activities to be examined in public through the MOPC or the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, and in some ways, having a well, not in some ways, I personally believe that having a very clear accountability to one person will make will simplify and make more obvious what is actually happening in practice, and will focus the accountability.
Q. You say in paragraph 81 that the MPA's communication team has not transferred over to the MOPC and instead communications will be handled through the press office of the Mayor. I've been asked to put to you this question: why not?
A. We were quite clear when we set up the MOPC that we were not just morphing from one organisation into another. We were creating the MPA was abolished, the MOPC was set up as a new organisation. We looked across the board at the functions that would have to be discharged by that new organisation and we looked in particular for scope to make savings and efficiencies through shared services, and it was clear that although a separate functional body of the GLA, the MOPC was going to be much more closely linked into the Mayor's Office, the Mayor is himself the occupant of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime, he appoints the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, all the business is intimately linked up with what the Mayor is doing and it made sense both in practical terms and in terms of effective operation to make that change.
Q. I've been asked to put this to you: does not the Mayor's office have a vested interest in burying concerns or bad news about the MPS?
A. No. I can't see any way in which that could possibly be true.
Q. Okay. The MPS and the media. You touch on the DPA, I've already asked you about that. You feel that the DPA should clearly exist, as it were. Paragraph 85, page 12720: "There was at least one occasion when the MPA conducted a scrutiny of the MPS media and communications." That was the Forest Gate incident, which was where an alleged terrorist, I think, was shot and injured; is that right?
A. That's right.
Q. And a scrutiny panel was convened and then there was a report, and you explain the conclusions in paragraph 87: "The panel concluded that more could be done by MPS to ensure that correct information was being used by the media. There was a need for a number of structural changes that were needed to assist the MPS to deliver a more consistent and comprehensive approach to managing internal and external communications." Could you explain the reference to the ensuring of correct information being used by the media in the context of this particular investigation?
A. I think the problem that the scrutiny panel perceived and I think was widely recognised was less that incorrect information was being given out, but in the absence of any information at all and any attempt to correct or rectify misinformation, rumours and conjecture were circulated in a way that was not helpful.
Q. At about this time I think there was also a report into whether information was leaked by the MPA, following a confidential briefing that Mr Hayman gave to members of the MPA; is that right?
A. Yes, that's right. It was an investigation supervised by the former Commissioner of the City of London Police.
Q. The upshot of that investigation was that there was no or no satisfactory evidence that any member of the MPA had leaked information to the press?
A. That's right.
Q. It's also right, is it, that there was never a finding that any member of the MPS was responsible for a leak, was there?
A. There was no such finding in the final report, no.
Q. Can I ask you about the recommendations of the panel in paragraph 87.1. Why do you think there was a recommendation to reflect a need proactively to manage the reputation of the MPS?
A. I think that probably refers back to our earlier discussion. There was clearly a perception among members that the possible consequences and implications of this particular operation and the way in which it would play out in the public realm had not been anticipated and therefore people were having to cope with each new revelation as it came out, and that there should be more done to anticipate the way in which anything really, individual operations, investigations, policy changes, new strategies, should be communicated. Again, I think it goes back to something Mr Malthouse was saying about the focus of the DPA being on managing news rather than communicating across a range of channels.
Q. Okay. Paragraph 88, Ms Crawford. I've been asked to put to you a question in relation to this case and remarks at a press conference. The former Assistant Commissioner you're referring to, the MPS wants this to be made clear, was Mr Ghaffur, wasn't it?
Q. In paragraph 89, one of your committees considered a report from the DPA on behalf of the Commissioner, providing an overview of the DPA's performance against its targets. What prompted that report, can you recall?
A. That was a routine matter, Mr Jay. All business groups within the Metropolitan Police had a regular programme of reporting on progress, resourcing, priorities, diversity and equality considerations. It was a regular work pattern for the relevant committee.
Q. I don't think we need turn it up, but in the summary the report says that the report gives an overview of the Directorate of Public Affairs' performance against its headline measures and targets and describes how it's contributing to the new MPS single performance measure of confidence. What was the single performance measure of confidence? Do you know?
A. I don't think I can recall exactly how it was phrased, but in general it was to improve the confidence level of the people of London in the performance of the Metropolitan Police.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
It may come out of the text: "According to the MPS confidence model, keeping London informed as part of the engagement is a key driver of confidence."
A. Thank you, yes.
The next section is MPA leaks, which we've really covered. I'm not going to ask you any questions about that section, if I can be forgiven for doing so. MPS leaks. You make it clear, this is paragraph 96: "The MPA had no role in the investigation of leaks by officers below ACPO level." The reason why you had, as it were, a role in ACPO officers was because it fell within your disciplinary function?
A. Yes, under police regulations.
Q. There's very little of substance here. MPA hospitality. You, on my understanding this is paragraphs 98 and following of your statement, 12723 have a gifts and hospitality register, and that has been published online for some time now?
Q. Is that correct?
Q. And it's part of what should be seen in the context of the MPA good conduct and anti-fraud policy. You set out some relevant provisions in paragraph 101. In your case there's only one relevant entry and that relates to the Financial Times Women at the Top conference in November 2010. Nothing else of interest recorded.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
But you didn't in the end go?
A. No, I can't remember why not now.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
It doesn't matter.
We asked you questions about it. I think it's fair to say it's comprehensively covered in this section of your evidence. Can I move on to paragraph 105, under the heading "Oversight of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner's gifts and hospitality", where you say: "The MPA also had a role in relation to reviewing the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner's gifts and hospitality registers in relation to approving expenses." You've included specific information on this in your statement because you think it's of interest to the Inquiry. Of course there's a difference here between accurate recording of gifts and hospitality, which would be necessary for reasons of transparency, on the one hand, and to approving expenses on the other, would you agree?
A. Yes. They're distinct.
Q. You explain in paragraph 106 that your role is really one of scrutiny after the event, which presumably means as appropriate to the test if necessary of the reasons people give for accepting hospitality on particular occasions but it doesn't go any further than that, does it?
A. No. Well, having said no, if, as did happen on occasion, there was reason to query it, it didn't preclude querying why something had been accepted.
Q. Looking at the detail of some of this, at paragraph 107, we're going to hear about this from the next witness as well, one of the recommendations made by the internal audit directorate in their report on gifts and hospitality in August 2007, which you've exhibited, is that a number of half-yearly reviews of senior officers' gifts and hospitality registers should be introduced and recorded, and the recommendation was that the chief executive that's you would conduct this review for the entries made by the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner on a six-month basis. Can you remind us, please, of what the position was before then regarding what you did?
A. I think I say in the following paragraph that we effectively that a system evolved in terms of oversight of the registers, but I don't think it became crystallised until 2007 when a much more regular regime was introduced.
Q. So when you embarked on this more regularised review of the registers, did any particular patterns, themes or concerns come to your attention?
A. No, I can't say that they did. Not as a pattern or a trend.
Q. It's easy to speak with the advantage of hindsight, but did you feel that any particulars arose in the context of acceptance of press hospitality at a high level? We're talking about Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, aren't we?
A. Well, as you so perceptibly say, with hindsight I would perhaps identify that. At the time I didn't.
Q. Maybe part of the reason is in paragraph 110 of your statement, where you go into this in a little bit more detail, 12726: "The MPA's role was to check that the current MPS gifts and hospitality policy had been followed and to query acceptance of any gift or hospitality which appeared to be in breach of the policy." Pausing there I know you cover this later in the statement, or later in this paragraph to what extent are you second guessing the judgment of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner in assessing whether there's been a breach of the policy?
A. Well, that is at the nub of the difficulty that this particular role presented for me personally. The policy was there. Question number one, was the policy an adequate policy? Secondly, I would get an assurance that everything that had been accepted was "within the policy", and thirdly, we come to the very central issue of accepting the judgment of some extremely senior officers as to whether what they have done in knowledge of the policy was appropriate and would be perceived as being appropriate if it came under the microscope.
Q. You say in paragraph 110 as well: "The MPA's (and indeed my personal) relationship with any Commissioner had to take account of the status and stature of the role of Commissioner." Which would suggest that it became almost impossible for you to enquire into the Commissioner's judgment in any level of detail. Would you accept that?
A. No, I don't think I would accept that. I think what I'm trying to indicate is that there had to be a degree of mutual trust. Clearly, if there had been any serious doubt about integrity, and there never was, then it would have been appropriate to raise that or to take steps. But it was not the kind of relationship where we would want to start every meeting with, "So, who have you been out to lunch with last week?" It's a question of
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
To borrow a phrase from a different jurisdiction, there is a wide margin of appreciation available to the person who has to decide the line him or herself.
Are you intending to suggest in paragraph 110 or to imply that this is a function you'd rather not have been required to undertake?
A. I don't think there was anyone else within the structure who could undertake that and I think that it was right that it was undertaken, but again I come back to the fact that that helped the perception that everything was open and transparent rather than the reality that there might be something going on that we needed to check on.
Q. So are you saying that had it been necessary to conduct a difficult conversation about a particular item or a series of items which manifested a theme, you would have been content to have done so?
A. Yes, I would have done that.
Q. Can I ask you, please, about paragraph 112. As you point out, and this is in line with the general theme of your earlier evidence: "The detail of compliance of MPS officers below the level of Commissioner and Deputy was not an issue for the MPA. Their own role [this is the Commissioner and Deputy's role] in setting an example for such officers seemed to me to be a key issue in setting the whole culture within the MPS and the acceptance or refusal of gifts and hospitality." The importance of leadership has come out through a number of witness evidence, but why did you see that as being so important?
A. Well, I would hope it's self-evident. You cannot expect people at a much more junior level to behave according to a set of agreed standards if you don't set an example yourself right at the top.
Q. Would that observation, as you rightly say self-evident, apply equally to Assistant Commissioners?
A. Oh yes. By right at the top, I mean fairly widely at the top.
Q. In paragraph 113, we can trace this through to 114, you point out an apparent discrepancy, that the hard copy of the registers didn't match the online entries. I think it's right to say that that issue has been resolved to your satisfaction following correspondence between you and the current Commissioner, hasn't it?
A. Yes, it has.
Q. There's no sort of sinister or other implication, it's been sorted?
A. I wrote immediately and I had a perfectly adequate explanation of how the discrepancies had arisen.
Q. Can I ask you, please, about paragraph 115, "Scrutiny of the registers by members". In particular, you're identifying members who sat on the HR remuneration subcommittee and their proactivity. You say: "There were a number of occasions when members were particularly zealous in their challenges of entries made by the Commissioner in relation to the acceptance of alcohol. It is fair to say that the Commissioner and his senior team found such challenges uncomfortable." Can you elaborate on that at all?
A. I think that there were some quite extreme positions adopted at some points. I had as members local politicians of a significant calibre who had been used to particular regimes in local government and a Police Service that had not been subject to any kind of realistic or demanding oversight for going on for 150 years, and when those two sets of expectations and cultures came together, there was sometimes a difficulty fully to understand where each other was coming from. So there were a couple of exchanges where views were expressed in terms of what would be appropriate and what wouldn't be appropriate, and whether it was right to challenge something and whether it wasn't right to challenge something.
Q. I've been asked to put to you one particular case, this is really through Sir Paul Stephenson, that when he received his knighthood and was purchasing a bottle of wine I think to celebrate, he was offered and accepted a bottle of champagne, and that caused particular disquiet or, to use your epithet, a zealous approach within some of your members, didn't it?
A. Yes, it was raised on two separate occasions.
Q. And Sir Paul was particularly unhappy about that because it appeared to him, or at least that's the impression he might have given you, as being somewhat petty, didn't it?
A. Yes, I think he thought it was petty.
Q. And the majority of the MPA, to put it bluntly, was on Sir Paul's side on that one, wasn't it?
A. I think the majority of members felt it had been pursued beyond a point that was perhaps proportionate.
Q. Going forward now to paragraph 127, resignation of John Yates, page 12730. I think we can take this quite shortly. A paper was put to the relevant subcommittee, which is the PSCSC, and it was considered by them on Monday, 18 July 2011, and two specific matters were referred to the IPCC as conduct matters, in other words although no view was taken as to the merits, they were fit for referral to the IPCC. Have I accurately summarised it?
Q. And those related to the Amy Wallis issue, that's the employment of Mr Wallis' daughter, which we know about, and the News of the World matters, but although we heard from Mr Yates, and it's clear from his statement, that he was significantly aggrieved by that at the time, in due course the IPCC came to the conclusion that these matters were not recordable; is that correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. Did you participate in any way or that's the wrong word, because you of course would not have been involved in the decision-making, but did you observe in any way the decision-making which the relevant members of the subcommittee undertook in this case?
A. Yes, I was there for almost all the time.
Q. In your view, did the PSCSC act appropriately or inappropriately?
A. Entirely appropriately within the relevant regulation.
Q. To be clear about this, they were not nor could they reach any judgment as to whether the charge was made out, merely whether there was a matter which could appropriately be referred; is that correct?
A. That's absolutely right.
Q. Your conclusions now, Ms Crawford. You speak of the importance of trust and that obviously is a key point. It came through Mr Malthouse's evidence as well. In paragraph 137 you say: "It is fair to say that the MPA's relationship with the MPS and my personal relationship with various Commissioners and their respective senior teams has matured over time. However, in exercising our role a certain amount of tension between the MPA and the MPS was not, per se, unhealthy." Indeed, you would expect a degree of tension, otherwise you're not performing your role properly, or rather the MPA wouldn't be, would you agree?
A. I'd be quite worried if there wasn't some tension on occasion, yes.
Q. By using the verb "matured", are you suggesting that it probably improved over time?
A. Yes, I think it that implies it was particularly bad at the beginning and I don't mean to imply that at all, but I mean that I think that both parties gained more and more of an understanding of how a governance structure and accountability regime ought to be operating to the benefit of both and to the benefit of the people of London.
Q. A broader point you make in the final page of your statement, I can hopefully accurately summarise it, that additional rules and regulations, as you put it, could be put in place, but the key issues here are culture, leadership and individual judgment. Is that something which is borne out of your experience of the MPA? How and why do you come to those conclusions?
A. I think that it's quite a general observation, and again I have heard evidence before this Inquiry which suggests that the more that you try to define and set down rules and hamper discretion, the less likely you are to change a culture in a way that accepts a standard of behaviour as appropriate rather than a rigid adherence to rules which can never define or set out every possible every single possible contingency that you might come across. The same, I think, applies to attempts to define operational independence, which I have always firmly resisted.
Q. I just wonder how that answer fits in with some of the evidence we're going to hear from the next witness, which was a concern from the MPA for its auditing function to ensure that the MPS gifts and hospitality policy in particular was tightened up and properly reviewed. Is there not an important place for policies as a guide to what culture in the leadership might be?
A. Of course there's a place, there's a very important place, but one of the problems I've seen grow is that if you have a plethora of policies and over-elaborate and sometimes contradictory policies, then they are less likely to be effective, so the ideal combination is tight, simple, easily understood policies that are regularly supervised and reinforced with example from the top and a degree of discretion in a workforce which again, as has been observed, is made up of people who have to operate some very sensitive decision-making on a very regular basis.
I think that puts it quite crisply, if I may say so, Ms Crawford, on that important issue. Those are all the questions I have for you.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Just one moment. (Pause). What you've said doesn't necessarily simply apply in relation to the Authority or the MOPC or indeed the police or indeed the politicians, but could actually work for everybody, but the absolute requirement is that there is a shared culture or view as to what is in the public interest that is consistent with what the public would feel is in the public interest.
A. Yes. And I think all the parties have a part to play, as, of course, does this Inquiry, in defining what that perception is.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
Yes. Thank you very much, Ms Crawford, and thank you for the obvious amount of work that you've put into the statement that you've provided the Inquiry with. I'm very grateful.
A. I'm very grateful for the opportunity. Thank you.
LORD JUSTICE LEVESON
I think there's one bit of homework. Thank you very much. 2 o'clock. (1.00 pm)