Ex-Met chief Cressida Dick ‘may have breached standards’ over Daniel Morgan murder case, says watchdog

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Ex-Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick may have breached standards in the case of Daniel Morgan, a report has found (PA Wire)
Ex-Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick may have breached standards in the case of Daniel Morgan, a report has found (PA Wire)

Former Met Police commissioner Dame Cressida Dick may have breached standards over the case of murdered private investigator Daniel Morgan, a watchdog has found.

Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10, 1987.

An independent panel set up to look into the case published a scathing report in June last year which accused the Met of “a form of institutional corruption" for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder.

On Wednesday, the police watchdog published its own assessment of matters linked to that report.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said it had found that was an indication that Dame Cressida, when she was an Assistant Commissioner and later the senior officer responsible for the inquiry, “may have breached the standards of professional behaviour but which does not justify disciplinary action”.

It said there is "no evidence to indicate Commissioner Dick intended to protect corrupt officers".

The IOPC said Ms Dick appeared to have "acted in the genuine belief she had a legitimate policing purpose" due to concerns about protecting information "but may have got it wrong by prioritising those concerns over her duty to facilitate full and exceptional disclosure to the Panel".

The watchdog concluded that the criticisms in the report "do not meet the required threshold for a conduct matter to be recorded”.

No-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.

Daniel Morgan was killed in Sydenham, south-east London in 1987 (PA Media)
Daniel Morgan was killed in Sydenham, south-east London in 1987 (PA Media)

A series of inquiries so far have been estimated to have cost more than £40 million.

The IOPC that no officers would face disciplinary proceedings as "there are no new avenues for investigation”.

In a statement, Mr Morgan’s family said they are "disappointed but not surprised" by the IOPC’s review.

They questioned why it took so long for the watchdog to produce “no more than a rather poor shadow of the findings” of the panel last year.

Regarding the specific finding about Dame Cressida, the Morgan family said it appeared the watchdog have looked for "reasons not to use their powers to act on that finding".

They added: "In doing so, the IOPC shows that it suffers the very sickness within its own ranks that it purports to diagnose within the Met."

Dame Cressida said she disagreed with the IOPC’s analysis that she might have breached standards, insisting she and her team acted "professionally, flexibly, expeditiously, diligently and with integrity in a challenging, unprecedented and complex task".

She added that she "deeply" regrets "that no one has been brought to justice for Daniel’s murder", and regrets "everything the Met or any of its members have done which has added to the pain of Daniel’s family of losing Daniel in such terrible circumstances".

Assistant Met Commissioner Amanda Pearson said the force has "transformed how we investigate homicide, identify misconduct and drive out corruption".

Sal Naseem, IOPC regional director for London, said: "In coming to our decisions, we are acutely aware that not one single officer was ever successfully prosecuted or received significant disciplinary action as a result of corruption directly connected to the murder investigations.

"The wrongs that occurred can never be put right, but it may have served as some small comfort to Mr Morgan’s family and loved ones if the officers involved had been held to account and suffered the consequences of their actions at the time."

He said what had happened must be a "salient reminder" to police "of the importance of being constantly vigilant in challenging improper and corrupt behaviour swiftly, firmly and robustly".

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