The Metropolitan Police Service has been described as showing a repeated “lack of candour and accountability” following its disclosure that documents relating to the notorious unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan in 1987 have been discovered in what the Met described as “a locked cabinet that had not been used for a number of years at New Scotland Yard”.
Caroline Russell, the newly-elected chair of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee, said it was “absolutely unacceptable” that the paperwork had been “gathering dust” during the eight-year inquiry of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel (DMIP) into the circumstances of Morgan’s death and the handling of the case and in statement on behalf of the committee said “we expect further information from the Met in due course”.
The Met has admitted that “some of this material should have been disclosed to DMIP, which published its final report in June 2021” and apologised to Morgan’s family and to the panel.
It said “a total of 95 pages of material (37 documents) have been initially identified that would have been disclosed under a protocol agreed with the Panel”, adding that another 71 pages would have been provided to His Majesty’s Inspectorate “as part of their subsequent inspection”.
The discovery of the documents comes in the wake of the DMIP report sharply criticising the Met for placing “the reputation of the organisation above the need for accountability and transparency” during 34 years of failing to solve the murder, with police corruption suspected to have played a part.
In a statement accompanying its publication, the panel said that at times its contact with the Met “resembled police contact with litigants rather than with a body established by the Home Secretary [Theresa May at the time] to inquire into a case”. It detailed “seven years’ refusal by very senior Metropolitan Police officers” to allow panel members “to permit proper, independent and unsupervised access” to a crucial investigation database.
Baroness Louise Casey’s recent report into the standards of behaviour and culture in the Met criticised the service’s lack of accountability and transparency, and poor storage of evidence.
Russell, a Green Party member of the Assembly, added if statement that “the committee will continue to scrutinise the Commissioner [Sir Mark Rowley] and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to ensure that they reform the Met and rebuild trust among Londoners”.
On London and its writers need your help with providing seriously knowledgable coverage of the UK capital’s politics, places and people. Give £5 a month or £50 a year and, along with our gratitude, you will receive my weekly newsletter On London Extra and (at no additional charge) invitations to events featuring eminent Londoners. You can pay using any of the “donate” buttons on the site, by becoming a paid subscriber to my Substack, or directly into my media empire’s bank account. Email email@example.com for details. Thanks.