New Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe (why do double-barrelled names sometimes sound so untrustworthy?) has only been in the job for a week or so but he’s already overseen a humiliating climbdown for the force in its efforts to force the Guardian newspaper to reveal its sources for its investigation in the phone hacking scandal.
Here’s a handy guide to the affair up to the point that the Met decided to drop the charges (last night).
The outcry has clearly forced the Met’s hand but it also seems as though it failed to consult director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer as it is supposed to do with major and contentious prosecutions.
It’s safe to assume that Starmer has been chewing his office carpet ever since he first learned of the Met’s proposed use of the Office Secrets Act and the Misuse of Public Office Act to force Guardian journalists Amelia Hill and Nick Davies to reveal their sources for some of their stories including the phone hacking by the News of the World of murder victim Milly Dowler.
These days top rozzers are sent to posh universities like Oxford to equip them for the complexities of modern life.
Doesn’t seem to be working does it?