19 March 2012

Leveson Inquiry: Module 2 - Press/Police - Day 12

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 
Guardian Live Blog HERE

 Links to today's articles, Blogs, comment and information relevant to the Leveson Inquiry:

Monday, 19th March 2012 
Link to Day 11 Hearing HERE

Today's Witnesses:
Dave Harrison ( Retired Criminal Investigator )
Jeremy Lawton ( Daily Star )
James Murray ( Sunday Express )
John Twomey ( Daily Express and Chair of the Crime Reporters Association )

To be Read:
Scott Hesketh ( Daily Star Sunday ) Witness Statement in Full

Dave Harrison   Witness Statement in Full

Guardian Live Blog HERE

Dave Harrison was an Intelligence Officer with SOCA. Work did not normally cover murder investigations. Harrison worked there for 2 years. Worked on Ipswich murder investigation on surveillance in 2006. 

Was involved with enquiries into the first suspect who was eventually cleared. Harrison accuses COCA team member/s of leaking information to the News of the World.

Harrison: NoW team deployed to find out who we were and where we were based. Would have come from someone close to investigation. - @nataliepeck Harrison: Then told Sunday Mirror team picked up suspect and took him off to be debriefed without us being able to follow him.
15 mins in and already is bizarre this week - Notw putting surveillance team under surveillance during murder investigation - @rosshawkins
Ex SOCA surveillance officer Harrison: I believe NoW jeopardised the Ipswich murder inquiry - @andydavies 
Meanwhile S Mirror were picking up suspect, debriefing him in cars using "anti surveillance" capability - @rosshawkins
From Guardian Live Blog:
During the hunt for the killer, a News of the World surveillance team was deployed to identify who the Soca team were.
When Harrison's surveillance activities commenced, on at least one occasion vehicles attempted to follow them. They were parked on the outskirts of Ipswich, in the same spot the police surveillance team would normally park.
Harrison says it was clear that they were professionals, possibly ex-special forces.
Harrison says the Sunday Mirror had also engaged a team that could mount some sort of surveillance.
Its objective was to pick the suspect up and take him to an area where he could be debriefed without being followed. In the event the first suspect was not the murderer.
Harrison says police investigations can be hampered by newspapers that deploy professional surveillance operations.
The inquiry hears how murder suspects often return to the scene of the crime, or may commit further offences, but if the suspect knows they are being followed they would behave differently and elude the police.
Robert Jay has now finished his questioning of Harrison.
At around 15 minutes, that was one of the shortest testimonies of the Leveson inquiry which is expected to come back to the subject of the hunt for the "Suffolk Strangler", Steve Wright.

Guardian Live Blog HERE

Lawton: our role is to report what happens, to report how the police investigate - @IndexLeveson
Lawton: Don't tend to do political stories about police but when did it happen, who was arrested - the facts. @nataliepeck - Lawton: Contact with police is more reactive to events rather than maintaining ongoing relations.
Lawton: Contact with police is more reactive to events rather than maintaining ongoing relations. 

Guardian Live Blog:
 Lawton says most of his stories come from outside London. He doesn't have the level of contacts of John Twomey of the Daily Express or Sandra Laville of the Guardian, he says.
In his current role, he does not have day-to-day contact with Met officers.
However he says Scotland Yard's press office has been very helpful, given his limited contact with it.

@rosshawkins :
Jerry Lawton of Daily Star at : lines of comms with police have been shut down all over the place (due to Inquiry)
Lawton says he fears Inquiry has affected lines of communication being broken down, doors being closed

Guardian Live Blog:
Lawton says he doesn't have difficulty in getting access to officers when he requests a conversation with them through the press office.
He has never provided hospitality for officers in the Met.
Lawton is more interested in meeting detectives who have "hands on" knowledge of crimes rather than senior police chiefs.
 Lawton says live TV briefings are a problem. They have "robbed reporters" of the opportunity to "have an open conversation" with police officers.
 Lawton says treating police officers as friends is a "risk". He says they are not friends – the relationship is a work one.

@nataliepeck :
Lawton: Experience (outside of Met) is that officers pay their own way and are quite deliberate in doing so.
Lawton: Not in PCC but abide by code and receive updates.

Guardian Live Blog:
Lawton is firmly on the "tea and sandwiches" end of the hospitality spectrum. Entertaining doesn't apply to police officers, he says.
"The officers I have dealt with, even if the thought of some inappropriate [offer]… you would blow your contact and risk arrest. I can say that pretty firmly," he adds.
  Leveson is interested to know if there is any continual professional training at the Daily Star which, for instance, brings them up to speed with the new Bribery Act, for instance.
Every update in the law is distributed by email to staff, says Lawton.
He adds he gets two or three emails a day from the legal department in relation to adjudications by the PCC and other relevant rulings.

@rosshawkins :
Lawton at #leveson talking about pulling coverage due to Raoul Moat threats - see para23 of this for details
(Moat threatened to kill member of public for every perceived lie about his family he heard in media #leveson)
#leveson says journos doing pre trial bground pieces "trying to bounce the investigation along in a way that may be utterly prejudicial"

Lawton: Possible the Mirror had info on Jefferies case but I'm not aware of any other newspaper being given that. @nataliepeck - Lawton: Information on Jefferies arrest came from news agency and not from the police.
Lawton: Newspapers aren't there to upset people, we're there to act for our readers. We don't want disciplinary actions against us.

Guardian Live Blog:

The Daily Star says the attorney general's decision to prosecute the Sun and the Mirror over Jefferies "had a real real impact".
Lawton says this had never happened before and agrees it meant "a sea change" in relation to crime reporting.
The Sun and the Mirror were both fined for contempt of court.
"The attorney general has acted and I think people have listened," says Lawton.
@nataliepeck :
Lawton: Leaked forensic tests in McCann case became a bone of contention between UK and Portuguese police.
 Lawton: If Leicestershire Police had briefed off-the-record on test results, could have been reported it was factually inaccurate

@tabloidwatch :
Daily Star's Jerry Lawton wrote the stories "Maddie Body Was Stored In Freezer", and "Maddie 'Sold' by Hard-Up McCanns"
@rosshawkins :
He's referring here to the leaks by the Portuguese police, criticises Leics Police for not putting right inaccuracies off record

@IndexLeveson :
Lawton statement: Leics Police greeted queries w/ "it's a Portuguese police investigation. You need to contact Portuguese police"
Lawton: if you've got a bad cop, is making a note going to stop him?

@mjrobbins :
Lawton lecturing on news accuracy - it's like watching someone get investment tips from Bernie Madoff.

@nataliepeck :
Lawton: We're getting to a stage with almost too many rules. My concern is certain officers would use it as an excused not to meet.

Guardian Live Blog:
Lawton appeals to Leveson not to recommend restricting police relations with the press.
"I am just looking at the climate we are in and the doors are shutting everywhere … if it's not endemic then you do have the old sledgehammer and nut scenario," he says.

No image available as yet

Guardian Live Blog HERE

Twomey has finished. The next witness is James Murray of the Sunday Express, to be questioned by David Barr. - @nataliepeck  - Murray has been at the Sunday Express for 10 years and is now associate editor: news says he doesn't expect Murray to betray any sources. "I've got the message about sourcees, quite early on."
Murray: There is a certain shyness in the Met, this wanting to have everything off the record. 
Murray: Got the impression CRA members got fuller briefings on the phone, but whether any truth I don't know.
Murray: my dealings have been above board. Says he's never been approached by officer offering payment, would consider it underhand   - @IndexLeveson -  Murray: The Yard, more so than other forces, releases less info. CRA very much a London-based organisation
Murray of S Express : some police wanting to have everything off the record gets on your nerves a little bit - @rosshawkins 

Guardian Live Blog:
Murray says the Guardian's revelations that Milly Dowler's phone had been hacked had damaged relations with the press.
All that trust was "blown out the water" by the allegations in the article which could "potentially damage relationships between journalists and the police because we do have a relationship of trust".
He was the news editor at the time of the Milly Dowler case.
"We spent an enormous amount of time building up relations with Surrey police, meeting them for briefings, having coffee, gaining their trust," he says.
The Sunday Express has an expenses limit of £80 for two which could cover a starter, main course and a bottle of wine or a couple of beers, says Murray.
Break for lunch.

@nataliepeck :
Murray: Fedorcio seemed very straightforward and Andrea (Perry) clearly got on well with him. I think she or I paid for meal.
Murray: Evidence against Colin Stagg didn't add up, made point of contacting his family. Something had gone awry in investigation.

Guardian Live Blog:
The inquiry has resumed with the Sunday Express's James Murray contunuing his evidence.
He is discussing a lunch seven years ago with Dick Fedorcio, the Met's director of public affairs.
David Barr, counsel for the inquiry, asks if the lunch involved alcohol. Perhaps a glass or two, says Murray, who adds it was a "valuable" lunch about establishing a good working relationship between Scotland Yard and the Sunday Express.

@nataliepeck :
Murray: Journalists shouldn't play the role of dectective. Playing an amateur detective can get you into all sorts of trouble.
 Murray: Came across man when covering Jo Yeates murder. He was arrested three days later and now serving life.
Murray: NoW a "lone wolf" in surveillance of celebrities or others. Had resources to hire former dectectives and vehicles.
Murray: Met officers are very careful in general about how they speak about their colleagues, usually very highly.
Murray: Some of the guys we're going out on the bust with were saying: 'You're up before #Leveson, what have you done?'
Murray: Forces lean towards television when it comes to accompanied raids.

Guardian Live Blog:
Murray says Sir Ian Blair's "honeymoon period" was over fairly quickly following the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes and the London terrorist attacks in 2005. The suggestion that de Menezes had jumped over the barrier had come from the Yard, which later turned out to be false.
Another example was the Rachel Nickell murder inquiry. When Colin Stagg was arrested, the police seemed "confident" that they had their man, but there was some suggestion in the press that the evidence didn't stack up against him.
Murray says he covered some of the remand hearings and there was no forensics and there was "entrapment to my mind". He openly questioned officers, saying: "Are you sure you have the right guy here?"

@rosshawkins :
 #leveson nods to impact of inquiry - people being careful, don't know what's going to happen & don't want to be on the wrong side of it
Murray of S Express at #leveson : journos getting ex officers to speculate on what might be happening in investigations

Guardian Live Blog:
Journalists are not detectives, says Murray, in response to revelations that the News of the World had a surveillance team spying on the police hunting the Ipswich serial killer in 2006.
"I don't think journalists should play the role of detective. Playing an amateur detective can get you into all sorts of trouble and that's not what we're about," says Murray.
Murray believes the News of the World operated as a "lone wolf" in this regard.

There have been stories in the past about the NoW having the resources to employ former detectives, having the resource to employ former special services, and having camper vans with blacked-out windows looking at properties, sometimes in showbusiness, to see if two stars are having a relationship...

NoW pretty much a lone wolf was carrying out that sort of activity. In terms of mainstream newspapers, I can't think of anything [any other newspaper] which has such a well organised enterprise.
@nataliepeck :
Murray: I can't think about any case where I've been asked to pay an officer. Sun Ex sometimes pay former officers for opinions.
Murray names John O'Connor (former FS), (former DCC) John Stalker and Dai Davies (former RPS) as retired officers paid by paper.
Murray: I know that for some reason over time there's been a lot of ex-NoW journalists working for Met press office.

Guardian Live Blog:
 Murray says he thinks it would be better if there were more police officers in the press office. In the early days it would have been 50:50 between police and civilians.
He says the police have "a higher authority" about giving information and they are perhaps more "relaxed" about giving out information than civilians.
"A lot of the civilians aren't fully briefed – they have to go back to the officer before coming back and perhaps haven't asked the supplementary question," he adds.

@nataliepeck :
Murray: Wrongdoers are damaging to us because they've damaged the reputation of journalists.

@IndexLeveson :
Murray: we should not diminish the respect journos have for the police.
Murray: if you're going down the line of written guidelines, it's frankly ridiculous.
Murray: a broad-based framework of relationship (between press and police) would be useful 

Guardian Live Blog:
 Murray tells Leveson: "There is a need for a recalibration [of the press/police relations] … but it all seems to relate to one newspaper, or one newspaper group. You have to be careful not to draw in the innocent parties, when you are doing the recalibration."
The judge reminds him the issues that he is investigating – press ethics – relate to more than one newspaper or group.
Murray agrees with Leveson that he has to find a framework that will work for everyone and will minimise the risk that some people within the trade will always break the rules.
"There will be some rotten apples in the journalistic barrel and they will let us down … they are damaging to us in our relationship with the police and our reputation as journalists," he says.
Murray says "you can forget any lunches or meals in the evening" if a new system requiring officers to record their meetings with journalists is introduced.
He questions why any officer would "bother spending 10 minutes filling out a form" specifying he is going for an Italian with Murray from the Sunday Express.
"They are very busy people," he says.

@nataliepeck :
Murray: Alcohol can work in both ways. Sometimes it can work against you. Some of the best info I've got is over a cup of tea.
and: - 
Express article on Chris Jefferies being discussed at #Leveson: HERE Written by James Murray:


Story Image
Chris Jefferies faces his fourth day in custody on ­suspicion of murdering Joanna Yeates.

@nataliepeck : 
Murray: There wasn't a slurring of his reputation or a note of triumphalism or anything like that. 

@IndexLeveson :
asks: what was the business of the press getting involved in this debate (about Jefferies' life, personality) at all?

Guardian Live Blog:
Murray was involved in the Sunday Express's coverage of the arrest of Christopher Jefferies during the Joanna Yeates murder inquiry.
Jefferies, who had no involvement with the killing, won "substantial damages" from eight newspapers over libellous coverage of the arrest.
"We didn't take the view he was in any way guilty or anything like that," says Murray.

@nataliepeck :
Murray: I've had discussions with some Irish journalists, who have said they find it a much freer system over there.

Guardian Live Blog:
Murray has suggested the inquiry looks to the Press Council of Ireland.
He says clause 14 in the PCC code of practice states that journalist have a "moral obligation" to protect sources. The Irish version of the code is stronger and says journalists should "protect confidential sources of information."
Leveson asks Murray if he is legally bound by the Irish rules which have a statutory framework in a way that the journalists in the UK are "not bound" by the PCC.
Leveson is trying to get at the legal differences, but Murray is not briefed fully on the topic.

John Twomey

Image via Guardian
      Guardian Live Blog HERE
      Twomey: After series of miscarriages of justice in 1990s, crime reporters became more critical of the police. - @nataliepeck  Twomey: Failures over initial Stephen Lawrence investigation had a significant and lasting impact on the Met.
       Twomey: There's been stories deemed to have great interest from public and rather rash follow-up stories have been published. Twomey: Did not write any stories on Chris Jefferies or Jo Yeates
      Twomey: Meetings with ACs and DACs meant building up relationship with the organisation to ensure continued access.  

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Twomey says a "tighter budget at the Express" means it can't pitch for exclusive pictures and stories as often as other papers.
      Relations between police and the media changed over time but noticeably so around the time of the Stephen Lawrence murder when newspapers became more critical of the Met.
      The inquiry is returning to one of its most frequent themes - police and journalists in the pub.
      Twomey explains it is "very unlikely" for informal information to be passed on over the phone – it would normally through a face-to-face meeting, perhaps in a pub.
       Leveson puts it to Twomey that if vital information is passed on to a journalist, the police "have lost control" because the journalist may then decide to publish on public interest grounds.
      Twomey says there would be a "careful reflection", there would not be a "rushing into print".
      "You would never go ahead with any story that would possibly jeopardise apprehending a criminal … or a prosecution," says Twomey.

      Twomey: The first rule of CRA lunches was that it was non-reportable. Met with Fedorcio to promote CRA as a body, once a year. - @nataliepeck - Twomey: I always found Fedorcio very proper and very professional, and very loyal to the organisation and those in command.
      Twomey: You would try and choose a restaurant close to the Yard, and somewhere less crowded so wouldn't be overheard.
      Twomey: Officers don't want to be stuck in SY when they could be out in a comfortable place, with people they know and trust. 

      Guardian Live Blog:
       Twomey has been crime reporter for 24 years. He says the "bread and butter" crime stories come from the lower ranks of the police force – inspector, chief inspector and superintendent level.

      @rosshawkins :
      Twomey of Express on lunching : you'd try to chose a restaurant proportionate to an officer's rank as a mark of respect to them

      @IndexLeveson :
      : is it really the case that the way of attracting senior officers' interest was, in small part, by inviting them to a nice lunch?

      Guardian Live Blog:
       Twomey says the standard of the restaurant used for informal contact with the police was directly proportionate to the seniority of the officer involved.
      Some £60 to £80 a head would be spent with senior officers.
      "These must be lunches with alcohol, it goes without saying," says Jay.
      Twomey says the benefit of the lunches with the CRA was "to keep the access open".
      "If we did have a terrorist emergency to 2005, we wanted similar access that we could then, but we wanted it to be improved, to be quicker," he adds.

      @nataliepeck :
      Twomey: Andy Hayman was freer in the way he expressed himself. Certainly didn't give away secrets in my presence.
      Twomey: "Police source" refers to police officer, or ocassionally press officer.

      Guardian Live Blog:
      Leveson returns to one of his favourite themes in this module: why lunches? why alcohol?
      He ays he is not "puritanical" about eating or drinking, "but is it really the case, that the way of attracting the attention of the most senior officers was … inviting them to a very nice lunch?"
      "Help me, if it doesn't create a bit of a problem which requires this sort of inducement?" asks Leveson.
      Twomey denies it is an "inducement" and says it's just "a more convivial, comfortable" way of meeting. But he agrees that Leveson is not being "too straight laced" to voice a level of concern.
      He says it goes on everywhere – defence correspondents meet army officers in their clubs.
       Twomey says police officers don't want to be stuck in Scotland Yard all the time, and they are more likely to be off their guard over a nice lunch.
      It doesn't mean to say they are knocking back £400 bottles of champagne; [it's] over a couple of glasses of wine and a decent meal, there's a tradition there and I think they would expect it. They don't want to be in Scotland Yard when they could be out in a comfortable place with people they know and they can trust.
      If you can only meet them in police stations or Scotland Yard, they are probably more likely to be toeing the party line.

      @nataliepeck :
      Twomey: Concerned officers may cease contact with reporters completely if required to record all conversations.
       Back at Twomey at . Says he was shocked and dismayed by Harrison's evidence on NoW surveillance.

      Guardian Live Blog;
       Twomey says he is concerned about proposals that police record or at least log every meeting with a journalist, as recommended in the Filkin report.
      "That would have a kind of freezing effect. Officers would be less likely to talk to you," he says.
      He adds a detective chief inspector seeking promotion "will probably cease all contact" because the record of meetings would come up at an interview.
      Leveson protests that this might be looked upon as an officer "doing their job properly" and wonders why Twomey is concerned.
      Twomey says the fear in the officer's mind over their career would be real.
      Twomey says reporters are not carrying out "a complementary detective role".
      He tells Leveson he is "shocked" to hear evidence this morning that News of the World had a surveillance operation in Ipswich during the hunt for the "Suffolk Strangler" in 2006.
      If that did happen, that's quite shocking, I'm dismayed if it's the case … quite unbelievable really that a newspaper should go to those lengths.
      It would have taken most crime reporters, almost all crime reporters by surprise.

      @nataliepeck :
      Twomey: In my time at the CRA I've not seen a code of conduct.
      Twomey discussing New Cross double murder (). Press given info non-attributablely and publicity helped case.
      Twomey: Investigating officer uncomfortable giving info but senior press officer decided he would. Gave them publicity they wanted.
      Twomey: Filkin report is condescending - traffic light system doesn't tie in with seriousness of report and references to flirting.
      Twomey: CRA and other bodies (SoE, NUJ) might be able to assist in review of new arrangements regarding police/media relationships.