The Filkin report – background
In July 2011 there were perceptions that phone hacking at the News of the World was more widespread than had previously been identified, and that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) may not have investigated these concerns thoroughly. The then Commissioner of the MPS and an Assistant Commissioner resigned.
In July 2011 the then Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asked me to review the relationships between the MPS and the media. On the 13th of July 2011 the Prime Minister announced a Public Inquiry to be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson into the ‘Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press’. My work commenced in August 2011 and continued under the new Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe.
How I have approached the task
My Inquiry has been designed to assist the MPS in carrying out its duties to protect the public and I do not underestimate the judgement demanded of police officers and staff on a daily basis. Good judgement needs to extend to relationships with the media. Neither do I underestimate the managerial task in leading the MPS. It is a complex organisation of 54,000 employees, providing a high profile service for London that is of intense interest to the media and the public.
Terms of reference:
“To advise the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and his Management Board as follows:
- Generally as to ethical issues arising from the relationship between police and media;
- The proper purpose of the relationship between senior officers/staff and more junior officers/staff and media executives and reporters at all levels;
- Steps that should, or might, be taken to improve public confidence in police/media relations;
- Whether there are practicable steps that should be taken to improve transparency of police/press relationships;
- What, if any, hospitality is it acceptable for police officers/staff to receive or provide from/to the media;What evidence in relation to these issues should be led by the MPS to the Public Inquiry announced by the Prime Minister on 13 July 2011?”Key Messages
- It is critical for policing legitimacy that the MPS are as open and transparent as they can be and the media4 plays an important part in this. On occasions the MPS has not been open enough in providing the right information to the public.
- The media is vitally important in holding the MPS to account on behalf of the public.
- The media is essential in informing the public about the work of the police serviceand its role in the justice system.
- It is impossible for an organisation to control every contact with the media. Anyproposed solution will rely on police officers and police staff ‘living’ a set of coreprinciples and making judgements about their application.
- In the past it has not been sufficiently clear to police officers and staff what principlesshould underpin contact with the media. This has resulted in practices which havebeen damaging.
- Where relationships with the media appear partial or selective, this creates a seriousproblem which is damaging to public confidence and to the MPS.
- Police officers and staff are the best ambassadors for the organisation in providinginformation to the public. They are part of the public they serve.
- The problems that I have been told about and the changes that I suggest are to do with broad organisational issues including leadership and management throughout the MPS. A narrow view focused only on the specific task of handling the media will not be productive.
Guardian article here