No10 officers feared 'snooping' accusations if they acted on partygate, ex-top cop says

25 January 2022, 14:43

By Seán Hickey

The former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Met suggests that No.10 police didn't investigate partygate as it would be seen as 'snooping' on their principals.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Boris Johnson welcomed a Met police investigation into alleged rule-breaking parties at Downing Street, in the wake of revelations that the PM hosted a birthday party during the first lockdown.

Shelagh Fogarty spoke to Stephen Roberts, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metropolitan Police to understand what could emerge from the investigation. She asked about the duty of Downing Street officers.

Read more: 'How stupid does he think you are?': James O'Brien eviscerates Jacob Rees-Mogg

If Downing Street officers "saw parties happening and said nothing and did nothing, would that be a relevant thing to bring forward for full investigation?" She wondered. Mr Roberts confirmed that it would.

"Would their failure to do so at the time, if that were the case...be a disciplinary matter within the police?"

Read more: 'Why was his designer there?' Nick Ferrari grills minister over PM's birthday bash

"It's a very difficult issue, this one." The former Met chief began.

Read more: Caller's mother 'locked away' for 90th birthday – during PM's party

"The role of the police officers both uniformed and plain-clothed around Downing Street is to protect both the premises and more importantly the people within those premises, the Prime Minister above all."

"If you're in protection are you not meant to pay attention to anything other than the protection of that person?" Shelagh pressed. "It's always a judgement call at the time" Mr Roberts replied.

Read more: James O'Brien's ferocious assessment of Downing Street party saga

He went on to say that if a protection officer or the officers on the door of Downing Street "are seen to be snooping on their principals, then those principals will have less trust in them...to do their primary role."

Shelagh contested his comments: "It's not quite snooping to respond to what's happening around you."

"It may be seen the same as snooping by the principals who are there to be protected" he clarified. "Police officers will as always have discretion about how they deal with minor breaches of the law."

The former Met chief concluded by telling Shelagh it's "always going to be a judgement call and it's never going to be an easy judgement call, I'm afraid."

Sue Gray's investigation into Downing Street parties will not be published in full until the Met's investigation comes to an end.

The Civil Servant was set to publish her findings this week before Dame Cressida declared the Met's intention to launch investigations.

Speaking to the House of Commons the Prime Minister said: "So I welcome the Met's decision to conduct its own investigation because I believe this will help to give the public the clarity it needs and help to draw a line under matters."

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Irate caller fumes over millionaires getting £400 fuel grant

Irate caller fumes over millionaires getting £400 fuel grant

'Better late than never': Economist reacts to Rishi Sunak's cost of living support package

'Better late than never': Economist reacts to Rishi Sunak's cost of living support package

'Why did I bother sticking by the rules?': Chris Bryant tells of lockdown struggle to find care for dad

'Why did I bother with the rules?': Chris Bryant's lockdown struggle to find care for dad

'He should be absolutely ashamed': Shelagh Fogarty slams PM over Partygate

'He should be absolutely ashamed': Shelagh Fogarty slams PM over Partygate

Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students

Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students

Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth

Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth

Children's social care 'crumbling' and 'not fit for purpose' warns foster carer

Children's social care 'crumbling' and 'not fit for purpose' warns foster carer

Shelagh Fogarty: I think anyone who invades a football pitch is an idiot

Shelagh Fogarty: I think anyone who invades a football pitch is an idiot

'Moronic nutters' invading pitches 'bring shame' on football, John Stapleton fumes

'Moronic nutters' invading pitches 'bring shame' on football, John Stapleton fumes

'We're told to smile whilst we're sexually harassed': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

'We're told to smile whilst it happens': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

Tory Cllr: Boris Johnson has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation

Boris has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation, Tory councillor says

Caller, who lost mother, brands Boris Johnson a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Caller, who lost mother, brands PM a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' of UK nurse supply, warns RCN Deputy Nursing Dir

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' within NHS, warns nursing chief

Britain's ability to sign trade deals will be damaged if it unilaterally dumps the Northern Ireland protocol according to Nick Thomas-Symonds

Truss damaging UK's reputation with NI Protocol 'threats', Labour MP warns

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

'Terrified': Stella Creasy tells LBC of gang rape threats at university

'My gang rape fear': Stella Creasy tells of sex harassment hell at Cambridge