Wednesday 5 December 2007

Inside source in Menezes investigation?

Did Met have inside source in Menezes investigation?

As The Times reports today, rumours and allegations are rife about the sudden resignation of Andy Hayman, the senior Metropolitan Police officer with responsibility for anti-terrorism.

Hayman was criticised recently by the Independent Police Complaints Commission for briefing journalists about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station in 2005. He provided information that he allegedly failed to also pass on to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair and the IPCC recommended that Hayman faced disciplinary action.

Now, the latest allegations against Hayman are that he sent 400 calls and text messages to a female member of staff at the IPCC at the time that it was finalising the Stockwell 2 report. The IPCC has said that the contact was not work-related and that the unnamed staff member has moved on to work at the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Having announced his retirement, Hayman cannot be disciplined. Theoretically, the Metropolitan Police Authority could refuse to accept his resignation, but it has proved completely supine when dealing with senior Met officers in the past. And the IPCC's statement seems to suggest that Hayman had been having an affair, which of course the media love. But there is something uncomfortable about this story and saying so runs the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist.

  • Why is it impossible to believe that sending repeated phone calls and text messages to a member of staff in the IPCC could very likely be to gain information on a hugely controversial case that could have a direct impact on Hayman and his boss Sir Ian Blair?
  • Why should anyone take at face-value the relevance of the IPCC's assertion that the "member of staff, who was not an investigator, had no involvement or contact with the IPCC’s two Stockwell inquiries" or that "we have satisfied ourselves as far as we can that there was no improper sharing of information"? Anyone who has ever had any contact with staff at the IPCC will know that, like most organisations, rumour is commonplace within its Holborn headquarters and that inside information regularly leaks out to other staff. Despite the security over the Stockwell reports, people in the IPCC knew what was in it well before publication, which is why details were leaked to the press. Why not also directly to the Met Police?
  • Why is it impossible to believe that MI5 had an insider - one of its officers or at the very least a paid informer - in the IPCC because of the controversy over the Menezes case? Why is it beyond the realms of possibility that Hayman, who led the Met's Specialist Operations and was in regular contact with MI5 in his role as the senior anti-terrorism chief, was being passed information by a security services contact?
  • Why is it also impossible to believe that Hayman has been pushed into retirement though an engineered 'sex scandal' to prevent him facing disciplinary action? After all, someone was obviously trying to force him out, which is why the investigations into his expense claims were leaked to the press. Why not to prevent Hayman potentially revealing more insider details about the Menezes case - a killing the Met have done as much as it can to keep its secrets about, including obstructing official investigations and briefing reporters with false information?
  • How does someone who allegedly had an 'improper work relationship' with the country's most senior anti-terrorism officer end up vetted and working for the Association of Chief Police Officers? Perhaps because it was never considered to be 'improper' by the police and security services?
It sounds crazy, doesn't it? But because this story is tied up with the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, what may otherwise have sounded off-the-wall in other instances shouldn't necessarily be dismissed.

More to come, I'm sure.

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