Met continues to reject claims it is ‘institutionally corrupt’

The force formally responded to the findings of an inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan.

18 March 2022

The Metropolitan Police has insisted it can be the “police service that London deserves” as it continued to reject findings from an independent inquiry that it is institutionally corrupt.

The force said “Londoners should be reassured by our work” as it promised to keep trying to solve the murder of a private investigator 35 years ago.

Daniel Morgan died in the car park of The Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987, and a string of unsuccessful investigations into his death have been mired with claims of corruption.

Daniel Morgan Independent Panel report
The murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan remains unsolved (Family handout/PA)

In June an independent report accused the force of institutional corruption over its handling of the case, saying it had concealed or denied failings to protect its reputation.

At the time Dame Cressida Dick apologised to Mr Morgan’s family – who are suing the Met – saying it was 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”.

Publishing its formal response to the independent inquiry’s findings on Friday, the Met said it accepted the recommendations and have been “working to address them”.

It comes after the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee called on the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to decide whether it will launch an investigation into Dame Cressida “as a matter of urgency”, saying the inquiry raised “serious questions about the conduct of the Commissioner”.

The findings of another police watchdog investigation into the Morgan case and how the force tackles corruption are also expected to be published soon.

The force said it has “improved significantly” in the past 35 years but that “in no way brings consolation to Daniel’s family who have been badly let down”, adding: “We remain committed to getting justice for his family.”

It accepted “corruption was a major factor in the failings of the first investigation, but we do not accept that we are institutionally corrupt as has been suggested”.

It did, however, admit some officers “may be vulnerable to corruption” and said the force was “working hard” to root this out, adding: “We don’t want corrupt officers and our Anti-Corruption Command is finding these individuals, investigating them and clearing them out.”

As well as highlighting measures taken to review live investigations where all lines of enquiry have been exhausted and work to improve the support provided to families of victims during probes, the force pledged to “boost” the number of detectives it has, with better training and more investment in forensics.

Walk and Talk scheme
The Morgan report ‘raised serious questions’ over the conduct of Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

Officers are “receiving refreshed training, improved guidance and clear directions for the handling of sensitive information” and the force has “improved and formalised” how it cooperates with independent inquiries being carried out into its work, it said.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Barbara Gray, who leads the response to the report, said: “There is undoubtedly more to do, but Londoners should be reassured by our work to address this report.

“We will use our response to these recommendations, as well as our commitments to build trust and confidence more generally, to be the police service that London deserves.”

Police pursued thousands of lines of inquiry and conducted six extensive investigations into Mr Morgan’s death, while there have been numerous independent assessments and five forensic reviews already carried out.

Another forensic review of evidence linked to the case has now been commissioned.

The Met said those responsible for the murder have managed to escape justice, “for now” but insisted it had not “given up on this case”, adding: “There still remains a possibility of solving this murder. Our work to make that happen will not stop no matter how much time passes.”

A £50,000 cash reward for information leading to a successful prosecution – one of the largest rewards ever made available by a UK police force – is still being offered.

The IOPC said: “We are undertaking our own assessment to determine whether there are any conduct matters identified within the report for any named police officer, including the Commissioner and former commissioners, that may require a referral to us.”

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