Outgoing Met Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates denies recommending former News of the World Deputy Editor Neil Wallis or his daughter for jobs at Scotland Yard.
Assistant Commissioner John Yates has denied he secured jobs at the Met Police for the former deputy editor of the News of the World or his daughter.
Mr Yates, who announced his resignation from one of Britain’s most senior police roles on Monday over the phone hacking scandal, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee he had nothing to do with the hiring of hacking suspect Neil Wallis.
The committee had heard from the Met’s director of public affairs Dick Fedorcio that Mr Yates carried out a “due diligence” exercise over his decision to give the ex-journalist a lucrative part-time contract.
Wallis, who was arrested and questioned over his alleged involvement in illegally accessing voicemails last week, was employed in 2009 and last year to “provide strategic communication advice and support”.
Mr Fedorcio – now the subject of an Independent Police Complaints Commission inquiry over his conduct – said he had relied on Mr Yates’ judgement in deciding whether or not to hire Wallis in 2009.
But Mr Yates said his only involvement in the matter had been to ask Wallis in a brief phone call whether there was anything in continuing reports of criminality at the News of the World that could embarrass him or the Met Police.
He told MPs: “That’s not due diligence – due diligence is in the proper letting of a contract. I had absolutely nothing to do with that, I had nothing to do with the tendering process, that was a matter for Mr Fedorcio.”
Asked about his friendship with Wallis, Mr Yates said he first got to know him in 2000 and added: “Since then, I must have met him in the next five to six years to or three times per year, if that, mostly in the company of others, but occasionally on my own.
Don’t get the impression that we are bosom buddies living in each other’s houses. John Yates
“I don’t go round to his house on a regular basis. It’s mostly sport-related, with other people. I went to see him two or three times a year. Don’t get the impression that we are bosom buddies living in each other’s houses.”
Asked about his involvement in recommending Wallis’s daughter Amy for a civilian job in the Met, he said: “I have done nothing wrong. I was a postbox. I was a postbox for a CV from Mr Wallis’s daughter.”
He said he passed the CV to the Met’s head of human resources with a note showing “a completely equivocal interest in whether she gets employment at all”.
Like Mr Fedorcio, Mr Yates said he could not remember who had first suggested Wallis as a suitable candidate for the job.
Mr Yates added that the Crown Prosecution Lawyers who advised the officers in the original hacking investigation have to bear some of the criticism for the its failure to get to the bottom of the scandal.
He said he was aware of allegations raised in a story by Channel 4 that the News of the World had put a Scotland Yard detective, Dave Cook, under surveillance in 2002.
At the time, Mr Cook was investigating the axe murder of Daniel Morgan. The victim’s business partner Jonathan Rees, who worked as an investigator for the News of the World, was charged with the killing but the case against him collapsed earlier this year.
Mr Yates said he advised Mr Cook on his personal security but did not seek to open an investigation into the newspaper’s conduct.
I have paid a heavy price for it in announcing my intention to resign but I am accountable for what took place. John Yates
He ended his evidence by repeating his regret at the way the police investigation failed the victims of phone hacking.
He added: “I have paid a heavy price for it in announcing my intention to resign but I am accountable for what took place.
“It is not the police here that have failed in every respect, it is News International who failed to provide us with the evidence they should have provided us with in 2006.”