NUJ reacts to Daniel Morgan panel findings

  • 17 Jun 2021

The NUJ believes the failure to enact Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry means that to date the relationship between the police, politicians and the media have never been examined or publicly scrutinised.

The union's policy committee met today and agreed the following statement:

"The NUJ welcomes this week’s Report of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel, a long-overdue inquiry into the shocking murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987. The report is testament to the dogged determination of his brother Alistair and the rest of the Morgan family to secure some measure of justice, and to establish the truth after being repeatedly let down and badly served by previous failed investigations and processes.

"The NUJ notes the panel’s assessment that the London Metropolitan Police has been “institutionally corrupt” and that the panel’s own efforts to reach the truth have been hampered by the force led by Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick.

"The NUJ adds its voice to those calling for the police watchdog to use its special powers to intervene and order a referral and urges the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to investigate the serious questions raised by the report, not just of the historic treatment of the case but in the 34 years since the murder. The Met bears a responsibility to refer any allegations of corruption to the IPOC, but if that fails to happen the NUJ urges the IOPC to act swiftly to stem further blows to public confidence.

"Alongside the damning verdict on the Met, the panel reveals significant and concerning material which lays bare disturbingly close relationships and engagement between the Met police and newspapers, particularly the Murdoch titles.  It highlights the relationships senior officers had with key executives, several of whom went on to work for the titles on their retirement from the force. The panel raises as a key example, the appointment of Lord Stevens, former Met Commissioner, who became a columnist at the News of the World following his retirement in 2005.

"The report highlights a culture where confidential police information was routinely for sale by serving and retired police officers, “for stories about celebrities, politicians, and the royal family, as well as police investigations” according to a former Met assistant commissioner Bob Quick, with Southern Investigations, the company which Daniel Morgan worked for, acting, according to the panel, as “a hub of corruption” in between. A former bookkeeper at Southern Investigations told the panel that between April 1987 to 1989 the News of the World was invoiced “up to 500 times [a] month.” The title was not alone. Other police data collated in 2000, and published by the inquiry panel, showed that of 273 transactions involving Southern, 79% were with the Mirror Group and 21% with the News of the World, via an executive.

"The NUJ believes the findings demonstrated the lengths to which these newspapers – as corporate entities – went in order to obtain information, including in the phone-hacking activity which led to the spiralling scandal that prompted Murdoch to close down the News of the World in 2011, a cynical act of corporate self-preservation that saw hundreds of people lose their livelihoods and concerted efforts to blame individual reporters for a culture that was endemic and led from the top.

"Cultivating contacts and establishing trusted connections with whistle-blowers is an obvious and legitimate part of any reporter’s work. It is also the case that NUJ members agree to abide by the union’s Code of Conduct when joining the union. The practices and behaviour outlined in this Report, however, are of unethical and unhealthily close relationships between press, police, and criminals, described by the panel as a “form of corruption”.

"The NUJ believes the failure to enact Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry means that to date the relationship between the police, politicians and the media have never been examined or publicly scrutinised. The public interest in redressing this omission is vital in light of this important and damning Report of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel and the NUJ calls for action to properly fulfil all the commitments given when the Leveson Inquiry was first established." 

Return to listing