5 March 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Hearings - Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 5

Lord Justice Leveson
   "The focus of the Inquiry is ‘the culture, practices and ethics of the press’ in the context of the latter’s relationship with the public, the police and politicians. All of these matters overlap, and my goal must be to consider what lessons, if any, may be learned from past events and what recommendations, if any, should be made for the future, in particular as regards press regulation, governance and other systems of oversight."
Module 2
"The relationship between the press and the police and the extent to which that has operated in the public interest."

Useful Links:
Leveson Inquiry Witness Statements HERE 
Leveson Inquiry Witness Lists HERE 
Video Recordings of each day's proceedings HERE
Live Feed From Leveson Inquiry Site HERE
BBC Democracy Live Feed HERE 
Telegraph Live Blog HERE
Guardian Live Blog HERE

 Links to today's articles, blogs, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry:
Garnham: Have found briefing paper on Op Caryatid sent to the Home Office (mentioned by Peter Clarke)to be provided to the inquiry.
Garnham: Trying to obtain paper prepared by Richard Reilly, a civil servant, for Home Sec in 2006.
  • From Guardian Live Blog, 10:04 a.m.:
The inquiry has now begun.
Neil Garnham, the Met's QC, says former DAC Peter Clarke said last week that the police had briefed John Reid about the 2006 phone-hacking investigation when he was home secretary.
Garnham says a Met briefing paper, dated 9 August 2006, has now been unearthed and will be given to Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry.
He says a personal briefing paper, written by PPS Richard Riley and with the same date, also exists, and will be tracked down.

Lisa O'Carroll:
civil servant who prepared report on hacking for home sec in 2006 was private secretary to permanent secretary

From Sir Paul Stephenson's Witness Statement:
On several occasions after Operation Weeting had started and I had returned from sick leave, the Chair of the MPA, Kit Malthouse, expressed a view that we should not be devoting this level of resources to the phone hacking inquiry as a consequence of a largely political and media-driven "level of hysteria".
Whilst understanding his desire to maximise the resources devoted to current issues of crime and public safety, I pointed out that the disclosure requirements arising from the civil cases left us with little choice but to invest significant resources in servicing this matter. Additionally the nature of some of the revelations of media behaviour, particularly towards vulnerable members of the public, made a reopening of the investigation inevitable, from an operational viewpoint.
  • 12:46 p.m.: Labour MP Chris Bryant has just tweeted:
  • 2:10 p.m. : The Guardian's Patrick Wintour has just tweeted:
  • Guardian Live Blog 2:28 p.m. :
Labour MP Chris Bryant has called for Kit Malthouse, the deputy Mayor of London, to resign after it emerged that he repeatedly urged Sir Paul Stephenson to scale back Operation Weeting last year.Bryant said in a statement:
Today's revelation at the Leveson inquiry by the former Met commissioner about the actions of Boris Johnson's deputy makes it clear that from the highest political level Johnson and Malthouse have intentionally sought to close down the phone-hacking investigation.
In 2010 Boris Johnson called phone hacking 'a load of codswallop cooked up by the Labour party' and 'a song and dance about nothing'. Now we discover his deputy, Kit Malthouse, personally intervened with the Police Commissioner to argue for reduced resources for the inquiry and attacked the story as 'hysteria'. This amounts to a clear political intervention designed to intimidate the Met into dropping an investigation. Considering that the investigation has thus far uncovered bribery of police officers by the Sun, mass criminality at the News of the World and a deliberate attempt to pervert the course of justice by News International, both Boris Johnson and Kit Malthouse's interventions show that they are more interested in protecting their cronies than in pursuing justice.
In any other country this kind of political manipulation would be considered wholly unacceptable and corrupt. It is no longer possible for Londoners to have confidence in the Met with Kit Malthouse sitting at the top table. Kit Malthouse should either resign or Boris Johnson should be forced to sack him.
  • From Guardian Live Blog 3:53 p.m. :
Lib Dem mayoral candidate Brian Paddick has issued a statement on Sir Paul Stephenson's evidence to the inquiry that Kit Malthouse expressed the view that the Met was devoting to many resources to the phone-hacking inquiry:
It is quite right for the Mayor's deputy on policing to question the commissioner as to the level of resources devoted to an investigation. However, once the commissioner has answered, for Kit Malthouse to continue pressuring the Met to back away from phone hacking is political interference with the commissioner's operational independence.
  • From Guardian Live Blog 4:03 p.m.:

A spokesperson for Kit Malthouse, the London deputy mayor, has issued the following statement:
The job of the chair of the MPA and now, the deputy mayor for policing, is to question and probe the resource allocation decisions of the commissioner in order to secure an efficient and effective police force for London.

It was entirely proper, as Paul Stephenson indicated this morning, for Kit Malthouse to probe the reasoning behind the allocation of resources into the phone hacking inquiry. Mr Malthouse has questioned the allocation of resources by the MPS in any number of areas, including knife crime, rape, murder and gangs. His job is to hold the commissioner to account.

The mayor has made it clear that the phone-hacking investigation has to be pursued relentlessly and thoroughly.
  • From Guardian Live Blog:
 Media veteran Andrew Neil has just tweeted:
Now had further confirmation on Murdoch-Salmond talks. Those of you calling it gossip or speculation wrong. It's a story!

      Monday 5th March
       Link to (Module 2) Hearing 4 HERE

      Today's Witnesses:
      Roger Baker ( HM Inspectorate of Constabulary )
      Elizabeth Filkin
      Sir Paul Stephenson ( Former MPS )

      Roger Baker

      Witness Statement in Full

      HMIC - Profile of Roger Baker 

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Baker was chief constable of Essex police from 2005 to 2009. Before that, he was deputy chief constable of North Yorkshire police for two years, with responsibility for performance, crime and operations, audit, review and inspection. From 2001 to 2003, Baker was assistant chief constable of Staffordshire police, with responsibility for territorial policing, crime and operations. Baker was HMIC lead for the Without Fear Or Favour report, published in December 2011, into police integrity.
      Jay says there are two wings of thinking in police dealings with the press: the "austere wing" and the "expansive wing". He says Baker falls into the former camp.Baker says he has no objection to being described as "austere".

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker: Didn't accept any hospitality from media other than tea, coffee or water. No meals or alcohol.
      : Not sure how the inquiry would feel if there was a bottle...Baker: Of fine champagne? Jay: It might go more quickly.
      Baker: There is an issue whether on duty or off as police office drinking alcohol. My view is not on the public purse.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Baker says he is "not a huge fan" of off-the-record briefings but that sometimes there is a limited place for them.He says that in his four years at Essex police he never gave one off-the-record briefing that could not be attributed to him. "Off-the-record contact should be limited, in my view," he adds.
      He mentions one occasion where he told the media things about a manhunt that he did not want them to publish for two days.

      It is worth noting hearing Baker the complete contrast of approach by two different police authorities, neighbouring ones at that.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker: There's a scale issue, Met do some top-end business interesting to media, but is relevant in other parts of the country.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker statement: Always recorded meetings with press and took member of PR department.
      Baker: Major role for investigative journalism to hold police to account but are ways of doing that by asking questions.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Baker says officers should keep a record of discussions with the media "so that there can be a record of it to safeguard the public".
      He agrees with the recommendation made in Filkin's report.
      The police are accustomed with dealing with secret intelligence that would be dangerous if it entered the public domain, he says, arguing that officers already know where to draw the line in discussions with journalists.
      Baker says it would be appropriate for an officer to have an off-the-record conversation with journalists if it was to prevent a major investigation being scuppered by the media.
      He says that investigative journalism is "very healthy".
      The police are accustomed with dealing with secret intelligence that would be dangerous if it entered the public domain, he says, arguing that officers already know where to draw the line in discussions with journalists.

      says he sees his work as "complementary" to Baker's report.
      - Hacking Inquiry

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Lord Justice Leveson tells Baker that he wants the findings of his inquiry to fit with what the policeman thinks will work.
      He says he is not concerned with the prospect of Baker "treading on my toes" and sees the inspectorate's work as "complementary" to his own.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker: Spoke to a lot of people, from CRA to Hacked Off to academics, to try and get a view on the most suitable recommendations. 
      Baker: There needs to be a real clarity on what is appropriate and what isn't. If no clarity on rules you can't regulate.

      Ross Hawkins:
      HMIC's Roger Baker at #leveson : if you make organisational changes you're quite likely to be reading about it in the media
      HMIC's Roger Baker at #leveson : police struggling to keep in front or apace of social media
      HMIC's Roger Baker at #leveson : (on police and social media) some parts of your private life are best kept public
      HMIC's Roger Baker at #leveson : s/one ided as working for police force had photo of self "minus appropriate clothing" on Facebook
      HMIC's Roger Baker at #leveson : wasn't done with malice, just stupidity, but impact on force

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Baker says that the police are struggling to keep apace of social media. He says that some social media accounts could jeopardise the professional image of the police force.His report found that there were "no great checks or balances" with how police officers are using websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker: Exposing your genitals and identifying yourself as member of "Xshire" police not corporate image you want to put across.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Baker: Hospitality registers across England/Wales showed 9600 entries in five years, less than one percent relating to media.

      From Guardian Live Blog:
      Baker looked at second jobs for police officers. He says these were generally felt to be acceptable, providing there were no conflicts of interest.
      4.06pm: Baker says that his Without Fear or Favour team did speak to officers behind Operation Elveden and Weeting, but did not want to interfere with their ongoing investigations.
      Without Fear or Favour halted "data gathering" for the report in September last year, before its publication in December.
      Leveson asks about the differences in policy between regional forces outside the Met.
      Baker says there is very little commonality in terms of policy between the forces; this is also the case with the Northern Irish force. He adds that there is an "intensity" regarding the Met due to the pressures of the London media.

      Elizabeth Filkin

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin is asked about her report, Ethical Issues Arising from the Relationship Between Police and Media, published in January. She was asked to compile the report by Stephenson.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      : Your work foreshadows some of what I have to do. Would be in order for me to use what's been said to you for purpose of inquiry.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin says she put out a request for evidence on the Met intranet, and also spoke to staff groups, politicians and journalists. 
      The vast majority of police officers who spoke to Filkin were "embarrassed" and concerned that public trust was being undermined by revelations in the phone-hacking scandal, she says.
      Guardian journalist Nick Davies raised concerns with the Met's Department of Public Affairs on several occasions that the body was giving him inaccurate information, Filkin says.
      She adds that Davies raised evidence of phone hacking with the department during the course of his investigations.
      hearing about Sun journo's statement to Filkin that he has 300-400 police contacts on phone; 100-150 "happy to talk"

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay asks about key problems identified by Filkin in the relationship between the media and the Met police.
      Filkin said in the report that there was evidence of "improper disclosure" of information from police officers to journalists. She says that some officers gave anecdotal evidence of that.
      Police officers who spoke to Filkin were "highly shocked" at the amount of hospitality received by senior members of the force from the media, says Filkin.She adds:
      Many many of the lower ranked people … felt that people were filling their boots. And that was a very general view.
      The Met police has not done enough to create "a challenge environment," Filkin says. The force does not encourage officers to challenge colleagues or established thinking.
      "There is obvious a tradition … of people getting on and doing what they're told and that can be in conflict with creating the sort of organisation where people feel valued if they give a different opinion. That does lead in some instances to defensiveness," she adds.

      Filkin suggests contact between police and press be recorded

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Filkin: Some crime journalists feel they haven't been allowed into CRA.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin says she does not think her recommendations will stop all unregulated contact between press and police, but hopes it will make the occasions less frequent and more formal.
      Some journalists felt they had been "cut out of the club" by the police, says Filkin. Foe example, some crime journalists felt they were unfairly excluded from the Crime Reporters' Association.
      Filkin is asked about hospitality received by senior Met officers.
      She says there was a lot of hospitality given to officers by newspapers owned by News International.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Filkin: The DPA favoured some journalists and would trade, and on occasion cause harm. 

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin refers to a "trade" of information from the Met's DPA in exchange for reporters keeping stories out of the papers.Leveson asks if the DPA were acting as if they were a newsroom of reporters, giving out information rather than providing an impartial public affairs role.
      Filkin says they certainly were involved in "trading" information, but that the situation has now improved.

      Hacking Inquiry:
       Filkin: Whole list of things I would say people dealing with media should be aware of, so they can operate sound judgment

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Almost all police officers who spoke to Filkin told her that the Met was harmed by leaks to the press."Certainly people within the Metropolitan police service felt it did them harm," she says.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      14.20 Dame Filkin suggests action should be taken against anyone with access to leaked information if no one owns up.
      Lord Justice Leveson remarks, "it sounds a bit like school".

      Filkin says Met loath to tell staff they are carrying out inquiries into leaks

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin says there should be more scrutiny of former employees working for the Met as consultants.Filkin acknowledges it is a "real fear" that her recommendations could stifle legitimate communication between the Met police and the press.However, she says this "should not happen" if her proposals are fully adopted. "I'm not wishing to undermine proper scrutiny; quite the opposite," she says. "I don't at the moment see that that will be a particular problem."
      She says that "proper transparency" should be a priority for the Met.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Filkin: More access for press to police but this should be open and recorded.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      There will be some information that all Met police officers should be allowed to pass on to whomever they speak to, says Filkin."There should be clarity is about who is providing what [information to the press]," she adds.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Filkin: Some officers accepting money for stories felt they were treated like any other member of the public ringing up tabloids.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Filkin says that a number of journalists told her that one senior Met officer made it clear he favoured News International newspapers over others.
      The unnamed officer "was said to have set that tone and that style within that department and made it clear that some newspapers were favoured over others," she tells the inquiry.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Filkin: Key recommendation on off-the-record is talk to journalist and find out what that means before you start.

      Sir Paul Stephenson

      Telegraph Live Blog HERE
      Guardian Live Blog HERE

      Stephenson says negative media coverage during Sir Ian Blair's commissionership "distracting" for senior officers

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson says his predecessor Sir Ian Blair came under a lot of criticism from the media. "That was constantly distracting for senior officers," he says.He adds that when he took over as Met commissioner in 2009 he wanted to try and effect a situation that was more about what the police did than who they were as senior officers.

      Ross Hawkins:
      Stephenson at : very small number of senior officers gossiped or leaked about Met, was deeply unhelpful

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay says that Stephenson states in his written statement that some contact between some senior colleagues and the written media was "closer than he would have liked".
      Stephenson says he prefers not to name individuals, but there were some on the management board who gossiped and leaked to the press, creating a "dialogue of disharmony" that was "distracting".

      Ross Hawkins:
      Stephenson at : were stories in media about conversations at management board, can't imagine how they got there other than leaks

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson says he decided that a member of the Met's Directorate of Public Affairs (DPA) should be present when senior officers met the press."As a starting point I thought it was very helpful if matters came through the DPA ... that might discourage the gossiping … people being a bit too loose lipped," he says.
      He says that this did not stop a small minority making calls to the press.
      Asked about inquiries about leaks, Stephenson says: "Sometimes one would have a leak inquiry ... remind people of the leadership to do whatever it can to enforce standards of probity."
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.29 The number of leaks to the press reduced during Sir Paul's term as Commissioner, he tells the inquiry.

      There were less newspaper stories about disfunctionality in the Met. I don’t claim to be the most wonderful commissioner ever. I think I was extraordinarily lucky with the people I had on my team. When I spoke to junior officers, one of the most consistent questions can be split into two: can you not do more to manage the media? But secondly they deplored it when it was about senior officers at war.
      Stephenson. Written statement: 30% of all my media engagements were with News Int representatives.
      Lisa O'Carroll
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson outlines his contacts with the media in his written statement.He says the feedback he got from the press and from the head of the DPA, Dick Fedorcio, was journalists complained that their rivals had got scoops.
      "The fact that the complaints seem to be mroe general seemed to be a more healthy situation, rather than complaints from one area of the media," he adds.
      Jay says in 2005 when Stephenson was deputy commissioner there was very few interactions with the press, and none with News International.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Sep 2006 appears to be first time Stephenson met Neil Wallis: he confirms it is probably that date. 
      Stephenson: Would discuss context of policing,government policy and resourcing in meetings with Wallis and some social interaction.
      Stephenson: I would say for every journalist I've ever met they would be delighted if I was indiscreet. My job to ensure I wasn't.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay says in 2006 there was a lunch with the Times in February, drinks with the Daily Mail in May, dinner with Neil Wallis and Dick Fedorcio on 19 September, and a Crime Reporters' Association Christmas party in December.In 2007 there was dinner with the Daily Mail, and another dinner with Wallis and Fedorcio (14 months after the previous dinner).
      dansabbagh Dan Sabbagh:  PS had dinner with Neil Wallis (NoW dep ed) on Sept 19 2006. (Backdrop: critical moment in the hacking investigation). 

      Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.35 Mr Jay is asking Sir Paul about his meetings with Neil Wallis, who was the then deputy editor of the News of the World.
      Asked about having dinner with him, he replies: "I don’t recall having dinner with Mr Wallis alone. It is possible but I don’t recall it."
      He refers to himself as an "exotic creature from the provinces" when he arrived at the Met, and so had fewer contacts in the press.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay says in 2006 there was a lunch with the Times in February, drinks with the Daily Mail in May, dinner with Neil Wallis and Dick Fedorcio on 19 September, and a Crime Reporters' Association Christmas party in December.
      In 2007 there was dinner with the Daily Mail, and another dinner with Wallis and Fedorcio (14 months after the previous dinner).
      Between February and May 2009, when Stephenson became commissioner, there was a large number of dinners with the media.
      Jay points out that Wallis did not claim expenses for some of his meetings with Wallis, for example on 10 December 2009. They are described in his diary as "a private dinner".
      Wallis says on some occasions he paid for the meals.
      Stephenson says he would describe Wallis as "an acquaintance" rather than "a friend" – "that would be taking it too far".
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.42 Sir Paul said it would be "extraordinarily naive" to believe a commissioner could prevent the press from reporting bad news. Mr Jay lists the lunches Sir Paul has had with journalists from national newspapers, and covers all but the Daily Express and the Star.
      On some occasions, the register of his engagement and expenses noted the lunches were "private" and "no expenses claimed".

      I don’t think we should read too much into the way my secretary managed by diary.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay says in 2011, there were no recorded entries as relating to News International, a couple of dinners relating to Murdoch MacLennan with the Telegrpah, and a meeting with the Daily Mail.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      10.54 Asked about meeting News International staff after the launch of Operation Weeting, Sir Paul replies he realised the investigation was "of a different order".
      He said he would have been "much more circumspect" about meeting with News International titles.
      10.58 Journalists were "genuinely" interested in Sir Paul's views on terrorism and the issues of the day, he tells the inquiry. He says he last meeting with the Independent was "challenging" and "one of the best meetings he has had".
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay asks if Stephenson took a policy desicion not to involve himself with News International.S says he was briefed on Operiation Weeting when he returned to work in april 2011 after a four-month break.
      "I realised it was off a different order, I would have been much more circumspect with meeting News International," he says.
      Stephenson met Andy Coulson for dinner when he was editor of the News of the World.

      Ross Hawkins:
      Stephenson at : post op stay at health spa Champneys was "best chance" of getting back to work asap

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Stephenson: Did politicians throughout my career try and influence me to do other things? Yes.

      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.04 Sir Paul resigned after links emerged between Mr Wallis, Champneys and the Met, he tells the inquiry. Sir Paul stayed at the health centre promoted by Mr Wallis for free for five days.

      I think in the Home Affairs Committee I described it as “damnably unlucky”. I’ve always held a view and if the story becomes about the leader as opposed to what we do, that is a bad place to be. There is no doubt that because of a combination of ill-health, surgery and accident, that my resilience at that time was not what it once was. I don’t think anybody I spoke to agreed with me but it was my decision.
      Guardian Live Blog:
      Jay says the News of the World conducted the Met's press office about the cricket bribery scandal. They then put editor Colin Myler in touch with Stephenson, and there were meetings between the Met's Cressida Dick and the paper. Stephenson says this was "unusual" and it was uncommon to be contacted by newspapers in this way.
       Stephenson says restraining senior officers' ability to write memoirs when they leave the force is "worthy of consideration". "This inquiry and matters around it has put the Met in difficult position," he adds.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.15 Sir Paul's witness statement is now available online. In it, he refers to Op Caryatid.
      It was only after the reopening of the investigation through the establishment of Operation Weeting during my absence from office on sick leave that I became aware that there were issues of substance for further investigation. Up until this point I had no reason to suspect that the initial investigation was other than entirely successful.
      Hacking Inquiry:
      Stephenson: I would not be discomforted by Wallis's name coming out of the hat (filling in for Fedorcio's deputy at MPS).

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson says he played no part in selecting Wallis's PR firm Chamy Media as a consultant to the Met.He says Fedorcio handled the recruitment as his deputy was off sick. "I would have been concerned that Dick was doing the right thing by the organisation, and doing the right thing by his deputy … out of that I've no doubt came the recruitment of neil wallis," he adds.
      He adds that he had no reason to doubt that Wallis was a fit and proper person to get the contract.
      Telegraph Live Blog:
      11.24 Asked by Mr Jay whether he linked Mr Wallis with the phone-hacking scandal, Sir Paul said he did not think about it.

      Sean O'Neill:
      Stephenson statement : Kit Malthouse questioned level of resources devoted to Weeting bcs was driven by political/media "hysteria"
      Stephenson statement: Theresa May and Boris Johnson were "shocked" at my resignation and wanted me to stay 
      Josh Halliday:
      Malthouse said Op Weeting was largely driven by "level of hysteria" in politics and media - Stephenson stmnnt
      Guardian Live blog:
      Stephenson says that in 2009 the Met developed a "fixed mindset and defensive mindset" about the phone-hacking issue.He adds that the Met got "fixed" on a defensive strategy that wouldn't expand its resources without new evidence.
      Stephenson says there was a "flawed assumption" that the 2006 investigation was sufficient, and this was never challenged.
      The Met believed it was "inconceivable" that DAC Peter Clarke had not widened the 2006 inquiry if he had known there was extensive evidence. 
      From Stephenson's Witness Statement:
      On several occasions after Operation Weeting had started and I had returned from sick leave, the Chair of the MPA, Kit Malthouse, expressed a view that we should not be devoting this level of resources to the phone hacking inquiry as a consequence of a largely political and media-driven "level of hysteria".
      Whilst understanding his desire to maximise the resources devoted to current issues of crime and public safety, I pointed out that the disclosure requirements arising from the civil cases left us with little choice but to invest significant resources in servicing this matter.

      Additionally the nature of some of the revelations of media behaviour, particularly towards vulnerable members of the public, made a reopening of the investigation inevitable, from an operational viewpoint.
      Hacking Inquiry:
      Stephenson: I knew Yates was a friend of Wallis. I can't in all honesty say I knew the extent of the friendship.
      Stephenson says never read Jul 2009 Guardian article. : This was clearly a detailed, researched story that made serious allegations.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson says that Yates was the natural officer to conduct a review of phone-hacking evidence in 2009 because of his wider responsibilities.
      He says he heard a radio report on the 9 July 2009 Guardian revelations about phone hacking, but did not connect it to Wallis.
      Lord Justice Leveson asks whether Stephenson ever read the Guardian's "clearly detailed, researched" 2009 story. Stephenson says he doesn't think he did.
      "I would assume Mr Yates would have read the article otherwise he couldn't pick it up on his behalf," he says.
      Jay asks Stephenson why it was appropriate for Yates to deal with the phone-hacking issue given Yates's friendship with Wallis.Stephenson says he would believe in Yates's impartiality, but with hindsight it may have appeared inappropriate.
      He says in the past Met officers have been asked to investigate suspects who were close friends – but admits these were fellow officers.

      Hacking Inquiry:
      Stephenson: I simply have to say it was not a priority for me as the Commissioner [in 09]. It remained one of many pieces of noise.

      suggests Yates' assessment of phone hacking after Guardian 09 story was a "back of the envelope job"
      Ross Hawkins
      gets cross if his qs are interpreted for his views, but doubt Yates will be thrilled to hear that.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Leveson takes Stephenson back to 2006. He says the 2006 investigation was dropped largely as a matter of priority, and whether in 2009 Stephenson could have considered there was more that could be done.
      He says the inquiry was "not a priority" for him as commissioner in 2009.
      After a New York Times article in September 2010, Yates put a small scoping team onto the issue, and he was happy that this was appropriate.
      "But I would not have delved further into it. It was simply not a matter of priority for me," he says.
      Leveson suggests it is "rather odd" that the Met police said unequivocally in a public statement that there was nothing in the new hacking allegations made in 2009.Stephenson says if Yates came to a clear view then he should express that publicly and not "presentationally delay" it.
      Hacking Inquiry:
      Stephenson: Do I believe that there was a deliberate attempt to back off because it was News International? No I do not, sir.
      Stephenson: Fear of taking on a powerful enterprise I don't think comes into it, I'd be strongly disappointed if that was the case. 

      Josh Halliday:
      Stephenson says in Dec 2009 he "just did not get the difference" between what Guardian was alleging and what Yates was briefing

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Stephenson is asked about his meeting with the Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger in December 2009.
      "It was a civil meeting but, quite clearly, there was no meeting of minds there," he says.
      Stephenson says he outlined to Rusbridger the assurances that he had received from Yates, and suggested that the two hold a further meeting.
      "I just did not get the difference [in what the Guardian was alleging and what Stephenson had been told by Yates]," he says.
      "I didn't expect to persuade them or put them on the right track."
      Stephenson says following the New York Times article in September 2010 he would have been briefed by Yates. he would have been briefed again in December 2010, but by then he was ill, he adds.He would have commissioned a new inquiry if the briefings had been difference, he adds.
      The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll has just tweeted:
      . Elizabeth Filkin: told that private lives of cops kept out of papers in exchange for exclusives