Watchdog criticizes Scotland Yard over phone hacking scandal | News | DW | 12.04.2012
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Watchdog criticizes Scotland Yard over phone hacking scandal

An inquiry into senior police officials in connection with the News of the World phone hacking scandal has found no evidence of corruption. The watchdog, however, criticized the officials for unprofessional conduct.

An independent watchdog on Thursday rejected allegations of corruption against senior former officials at London's Metropolitan Police in connection the News Corp. phone hacking scandal, while criticizing them for using poor judgment and becoming too cozy with journalists.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that senior people at Scotland Yard had been "oblivious to the perception of conflict" when they hired former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis as media advisor.

Wallis joined the Metropolitan Police in 2009, shortly after leaving the Sunday tabloid, which faced mounting allegations that it had hacked the voicemails of public figures. The former deputy editor was arrested in July 2011 in connection with the hacking scandal.

"It is clear to me that professional boundaries became blurred, imprudent decisions taken and poor judgment shown by senior police personnel," IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass said.

Cozy media ties

The IPCC called for Dick Fedorcio, former Metropolitan Police public affairs chief, to face charges for his decision to hire Wallis in a media consultancy role. Fedorcio resigned last month after Scotland Yard moved to take action against him.

Former assistant commissioner John Yates was criticized by the IPCC for forwarding the CV of Wallis' daughter to the human resource department, which resulted in her receiving a job. Yates criticized the commission for failing to be impartial.

"All you can hope for in these investigations is some balance, some fairness and some context," Yates said. "On all three the IPCC has failed."

International media tycoon and News Corp. owner Rupert Murdoch shut down the 168-year-old News of the World in July 2011 as a result of the phone hacking scandal.

slk/av (Reuters, AFP)