Met Police chief has 'no intention of resigning' over Daniel Morgan findings

15 June 2021, 12:27 | Updated: 16 June 2021, 20:41

Met chief hits back at claims force is institutionally corrupt

By Asher McShane

Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick says she has "no intention of resigning" amid accusations the force was institutionally corrupt for concealing or denying failings over the murder of Daniel Morgan.

Dame Cressida today hit back at the findings from an inquiry into the 1987 unsolved murder as she defended Scotland Yard's work and her job.

The 1,251-page report by an independent panel set up in 2013 found multiple "very significant failings" during the initial investigation and a "form of institutional corruption" in the way it handled subsequent failed investigations.

The report found the Met Police's first objective was to "protect itself" for failing to acknowledge multiple errors since Daniel Morgan's murder, panel chairman Baroness Nuala O'Loan said.

On Wednesday, the force's commissioner dismissed calls to resign after the publication of the damning report, insisting she did not obstruct the work of the panel looking at the case.

She told reporters: "I don't believe we are institutionally corrupt. No, I don't accept that.

"I have the deepest feelings for Daniel Morgan's family. They have shown extraordinary grit and determination and courage.

"Yesterday, I apologised again to them for our failings and the fact that we have not brought anybody to justice despite six investigations and countless other reviews and pieces of work.

Metropolitan Police accused of 'institutional corruption' in Daniel Morgan case

"And for the fact that, in so doing and along the way, we have clearly, we the Met, my force of which I'm very proud to be the Commissioner, we have caused them extra anguish.

"But I don't accept that we are institutionally corrupt, no."

Dame Cressida was criticised in the document for having initially denied the panel access to the police HOLMES database as it investigated the case, but she has insisted the force had given the panel team "maximum co-operation".

She said: "I didn't obstruct their work. I set out with my team, who were well resourced, to ensure that we gave the panel maximum co-operation, and that we did full disclosure, as quickly as we could.

"I look back and know that I acted with integrity, and that I was at all times trying to fulfil my duty there to the family and to the panel.

"Having said that, I look back and think that in the Met, with this very difficult and powerful report landing, we should of course, together with the Home Office and others, look at what happened during that period, and see whether there are any lessons to be learned for any future possible similar panel.

"Because we would want, of course, to work as effectively as possible with them and have as good communication as possible with them.

"But I have no intention of resigning."

Daniel Morgan was found dead in a pub car park in 1987
Daniel Morgan was found dead in a pub car park in 1987. Picture: PA

Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in a pub car park and no-one has been convicted of his murder. The independent panel was set up by Theresa May eight years ago to look into his death.

Daniel Morgan's brother has said he has “no faith” in Dame Cressida who he has accused of being behind an earlier “shabby report” into the killing.

Authors of the report found the Met Police owe Daniel Morgan's family, and the public, an apology for not confronting its systemic failings and those of individual officers.

The report found the Met:

  • Had a primary objective to 'protect itself'
  • Denied failings in its investigation
  • Gave unwarranted assurances to Mr Morgan's family
  • Put misinformation into the public domain
  • Experienced 'managerial and organisational failures'

The report found that a successful prosecution would now be "most unlikely" for Daniel Morgan's murder due to multiple failings over many years.

"The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings," the report's author's said.

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"Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation's public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption."

In a statement through their lawyer, the family of Daniel Morgan said: "We welcome the recognition that we - and the public at large - have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day."

Later, Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said in a statement: "I would like to acknowledge, both personally and on behalf of the Met, the extraordinary resilience and determination of Daniel Morgan's family in their pursuit of the truth and for the conviction of those responsible for his murder.

"It is a matter of great regret that no one has been brought to justice and that our mistakes have compounded the pain suffered by Daniel's family. For that I apologise again now.

"I have been personally determined that the Met provided the Panel with the fullest level of co-operation in an open and transparent manner, with complete integrity at all times.

"I recognise this is a powerful and wide-ranging report. We will take the necessary time to consider it and the associated recommendations in their entirety."

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Asked if the Prime Minister still had full confidence in Dame Cressida Dick during a Westminster briefing, his official spokesman simply replied: "Yes."

Speaking at a briefing for journalists at New Scotland Yard, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave said he does not accept the report's finding that the force is institutionally corrupt, saying: "It doesn't reflect what I see every day."

He admitted that the force had made "many mistakes and many errors" in the case in the past 34 years, and said he will "unreservedly apologise" to Mr Morgan's family.

The Metropolitan Police has previously acknowledged that corruption had hampered the original murder investigation. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs: "It's devastating that 34 years after he was murdered, nobody has been brought to justice.

"The report sets out findings from its review of the last three decades, it's over 1,200 pages long and three volumes. It is right that we carefully review its findings.

"The report itself is deeply alarming and finds examples of corrupt behaviour - corrupt behaviour was not limited to the first investigation, that the Metropolitan Police made a litany of mistakes and that this irreparably damaged the chances of successful prosecution of Daniel Morgan's murder."

Baroness Nuala O'Loan, the chairman of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, told a press conference: "The Metropolitan Police were not honest in their dealings with Daniel Morgan's family, or the public", adding that the force "concealed" the failings of the first murder investigation and the "role of corrupt officers".

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: "We deeply regret our failure to bring those who murdered Daniel Morgan to justice."