UK

Met Police to publish hospitality records 'within weeks'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionActing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Tim Godwin: "Corruption is in no way endemic in the police service"

The acting head of the Metropolitan Police (Met) has said the force will examine its media relations and publish hospitality records "within weeks".

Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin told a Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) meeting that corruption was not endemic in the force.

The Met has been dogged by allegations that officers were too close to journalists involved in phone hacking.

The Met's chief commissioner and his assistant quit over the scandal.

The role of the Metropolitan Police has come under the microscope since the phone-hacking scandal arose, with allegations that officers took money from the News of the World for information.

Health spa

Sir Paul Stephenson resigned as commissioner of the Met after it emerged the paper's former executive editor Neil Wallis had been employed by Scotland Yard as a public relations consultant.

Assistant Commissioner John Yates checked the credentials of Mr Wallis before the Met employed the former News of the World executive, who was arrested over hacking claims.

Sir Paul had previously appeared at an emergency MPA session where he was asked about 24 meetings - three-quarters of which were lunches or meals - he had had with representatives from the News of the World.

He also came under fire for receiving hospitality from a Champneys health spa while recovering from the removal of a pre-cancerous tumour in his leg.

Image caption Tim Godwin took over after the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson

Mr Godwin's comments follow the MPA's criticism of the force for the poor quality of the information it currently provides on hospitality provided to officers.

While being questioned by members of the MPA, Mr Godwin insisted that corruption was "in no way endemic" in the force.

But he added: "It would be foolish for me if I didn't acknowledge the perceptions that have been created over the past weeks."

Mr Godwin said the Met should therefore examine its media relations, including ensuring transparent hospitality records.

The Metropolitan Police said it would publish detailed records of gifts and hospitality provided for senior officers by media organisations.

'No confidence'

The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has also come in for criticism over some of his public comments about the phone-hacking scandal.

John Biggs - a Labour member of the MPA - said Mr Johnson should understand that his "words have consequences" and said he thought that Sir Paul Stephenson's resignation as commissioner "was forced by the de facto statement of no confidence from the mayor".

Boris Johnson was not at the meeting to respond to the comments. But his deputy for policing and the MPA chairman, Kit Malthouse, defended the mayor, insisting it was an "an extraordinary set of events which the Metropolitan Police has never had to face before".

Mr Malthouse said the events of the past few weeks had revealed a number of cracks in London's policing system and authorities needed to learn from that.

"Everybody operated from a well-meaning point of view but the process and the system was not sufficient to cope with the time frame in which that announcement needed to be made," Mr Malthouse added.

More on this story