Ex-Met Police boss ‘may have breached standards in Daniel Morgan case’
Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick may have breached the standards of professional behaviour in relation to the case of murdered Welsh private investigator Daniel Morgan, a review has found.
Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987.
An independent panel set up to look into the case published a scathing report in June last year in which it accused the Met of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder.
On Wednesday, the police watchdog published its own assessment of matters linked to that report.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had determined “that there is an indication former Commissioner Cressida Dick, when she was an Assistant Commissioner and, from May 2013 to the beginning of 2015, the senior officer responsible for the inquiry, may have breached the standards of professional behaviour but which does not justify disciplinary action”.
It said there is “no evidence to indicate Commissioner Dick intended to protect corrupt officers”.
The IOPC added that Ms Dick appeared to have “acted in the genuine belief she had a legitimate policing purpose” due to concerns about protecting information “but may have got it wrong by prioritising those concerns over her duty to facilitate full and exceptional disclosure to the Panel”.
The watchdog concluded that the criticisms in the report “do not meet the required threshold for a conduct matter to be recorded and there are no grounds on which to exercise the power of initiative”.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.
The inquiries so far are estimated to have cost more than £40 million.
The IOPC said that, following its detailed and thorough assessment panel’s 2021 report “there are no new avenues for investigation which could now result in either criminal or disciplinary proceedings”.
In a statement, Mr Morgan’s family said they are “disappointed but not surprised” by the IOPC’s review.
They said: “We have to ask: why did it take some 14 months for the IOPC to produce what is no more than a rather poor shadow of the findings published by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (DMIP) in June 2021?
“What we find here is a rather shabby exercise by the IOPC to avoid the implications of the police corruption and criminality which the panel’s report compelled them to acknowledge.”
Regarding the specific finding about Dame Cressida, the Morgan family said it appeared the watchdog have looked for “reasons not to use their powers to act on that finding”.
They added: “In doing so, the IOPC shows that it suffers the very sickness within its own ranks that it purports to diagnose within the Met.”
Sal Naseem, IOPC regional director for London, said: “From the first to last investigation into Daniel Morgan’s murder there were failures to adequately challenge and investigate allegations that officers had acted corruptly.
“In coming to our decisions, we are acutely aware that not one single officer was ever successfully prosecuted or received significant disciplinary action as a result of corruption directly connected to the murder investigations.
“The wrongs that occurred can never be put right, but it may have served as some small comfort to Mr Morgan’s family and loved ones if the officers involved had been held to account and suffered the consequences of their actions at the time.
“The circumstances of these matters must serve as a salient reminder to the Metropolitan Police and the police service more widely, of the importance of being constantly vigilant in challenging improper and corrupt behaviour swiftly, firmly and robustly.”
Dame Cressida stepped down from her role as commissioner in April, after criticism over her handling of racist, misogynist and homophobic messages shared by a group of officers based at Charing Cross police station and following a series of other scandals which plagued the Met during her time in post.
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