Met Police corruption probe document shredding extent 'unknown'

Police officers
Image caption The secret investigation into corruption within the Metropolitan Police was named Operation Othona

The Met Police "may never know" which documents relating to a corruption inquiry may have been shredded, according to the force's deputy head.

Met Police Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey said 55 people were interviewed about the shredding, but only one said they knew about the claims.

Destruction of files was raised by Mark Ellison QC in his review of the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation.

Mr Mackey said it was "feasible that we may never now know what was shredded".

'Mass shredding'

Mr Ellison's report, published in March, found evidence of "mass shredding" of files relating to Operation Othona - a broader, top-secret investigation into possible police corruption that began in 1993.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mark Ellison's review found officers spied on Stephen Lawrence's family

According to a female former member of police staff, four bin bags containing files on the corruption inquiry were destroyed in 2001 after the information had been entered onto a computer, Mr Mackey said.

In the statement, Mr Mackey said: "It is entirely feasible that we may never now know what was shredded in 2001, but to date we have found no evidence to counter the theory that this was done as good practice to destroy paperwork in a unit where secrecy was of the utmost importance and after the information had been computerised."

He added that the Met Police had 10,000 files relating to Operation Othona on its current system.

A team of up to 40 officers and staff were working through the Met's anti-corruption documents to respond to claims in the Ellison review and prepare for a public inquiry on undercover policing, the Met said.

Retired judge Peter Jacobs has also been appointed to chair an Independent Review Committee, Mr Mackey said.

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