The UK’s most senior police officer has resigned from his job after his links to the tabloid hacking scandal involving News International made his position untenable. Sir Paul Stephenson tendered his resignation to the Palace, Home Secretary and the Mayor of London on Sunday 17th July 2011.
A journalist with whom Sir Paul worked, Neil Wallis, was contracted to provide PR services by to the Met police. Mr Wallis was later found to be involved with the phone hacking affair and was arrested. The Commissioner denied all knowledge of the involvement of Neil Wallis in phone hacking at the time he was engaged. The timing of the revelations of his involvement as a PR contractor to the police was explained in detail by Sir Paul.
Sir Paul also used the services of a company in which Mr Wallis was involved with. He used the Champneys spa, free-of-charge, as part of a recuperation from illness. The stay is alleged to have been worth £12,000.
“Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact. I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity.
“Nevertheless, I must accept that the intense media coverage, questions, commentary and indeed allegations, as demonstrated by this weekend’s attempt to misrepresent my arrangements for my recovery from illness, not only provide excessive distraction both for myself and colleagues, but are likely to continue for some time.”
Making way for a new police chief in time for the Olympics, the police commissioner finished his statement by saying that it would be a sadness to leave the “overwhelming majority of honest, hard working professionals who it has been such a great pleasure to lead”.
On the same day, it was revealed that Rebekah Brooks had been arrested for her involvement in phone hacking at The News of the World.