MPS accused of 'institutional corruption' over Daniel Morgan murder
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has been accused of “a form of institutional corruption” for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.
A report by an independent panel said the force’s first objective was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Mr Morgan’s murder, the panel’s chair Baroness Nuala O’Loan said.
Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, southeast London, on March 10, 1987.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the MPS admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.
The report, which runs to more than 1,200 pages, expressed concern that within the MPS “a culture still exists that inhibits both organisational and individual accountability”.
It found: “The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his family to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional competence, individuals’ venal behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.
“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.
“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.”
The initial investigation into Mr Morgan’s death was heavily criticised, with the murder scene not searched and left unguarded, and no alibis sought for all the suspects.
A later probe by Hampshire Constabulary, brought in to investigate amid fears of corruption, was compromised when a senior Met officer was appointed to work with the team, the report said.
The current MPS Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, was criticised for her refusal to allow the panel team access to the HOLMES police data system.
The report said: “The Metropolitan Police’s lack of candour manifested itself in the hurdles placed in the path of the Panel, such as (then Assistant Commissioner) Cressida Dick’s initial refusal to recognise the necessity for the Panel to have access to the HOLMES system.”
The added that the MPS owes Mr Morgan’s family, and the public, an apology for not confronting its systemic failings and those of individual officers.
Recommendations made by the panel also include:
- That law enforcement agencies should be subjected to a newly created “statutory duty of candour”.
- That the Metropolitan Police makes sure it properly vets employees and has “adequate and effective processes” to establish whether any officers and staff are “currently engaged in crime.”
- The force should also make sure it has the necessary resources to tackle corrupt behaviour among its officers and to ensure police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also sufficiently resourced to investigate such matters.
- An investigation should be carried out by another police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), looking at police practices and procedures to determine whether “sufficient resources” are available to protect police whistleblowers.
In a statement through their lawyer, the family of Mr 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.”
The brother of Daniel Morgan, Alastair, said Ms Dick should “absolutely” be considering her position in light of the report.
The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added: “You heard from the panel that the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense. The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.”