19 Jul 2011


John Yates quit after learning Met watchdog's plan to suspend him

Officer responsible for decision to not reopen phone-hacking investigation in 2009, announced shock departure
John Yates, former Met assistant commissioner
John Yates resigned from his post as assistant commissioner over the phone-hacking scandal. Photograph: Mark St George / Rex Features
The hacking scandal claimed the career of another of Scotland Yard's most senior officers on Monday, as John Yates quit after learning that the watchdog overseeing the Metropolitan police was going to suspend him from duty.
Yates made the now infamous decision in July 2009 that there was no need to reopen a criminal investigation into the scale of phone hacking by the News of the World, whom he denied being overly close to. Yates, an assistant commissioner until now in charge of counter-terrorism, resigned less than 24 hours after the head of Met, Sir Paul Stephenson, announced his shock departure.
Yates, Stephenson and two other senior ex-officers, Peter Clarke and Andy Hayman, face an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission that he bungled the phone-hacking inquiry.
Yates also faces an allegation that he "inappropriately" helped the daughter of his friend Neil Wallis get a job with the Met. Wallis was deputy editor at the News of the World at a time phone hacking was alleged to have been widespread.
Stephenson and Yates will appear before the home affairs select committee on Tuesday, when Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks will also give evidence to the culture committee.
Dick Fedorcio, the Yard's communications chief, will appear alongside the two now ex-officers. Yard insiders believe Fedorcio, an adviser since 1997, will face intense pressure to quit, which would mean three of the nine strong leadership team would have gone.
Yates insisted he would clear his name and denied any wrongdoing but said the furore made it impossible to do his job as Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer.
"There continues to be a huge amount of inaccurate, ill-informed and on occasion downright malicious gossip published about me personally ... I see no prospect of this improving in the coming weeks and months," Yates said.
He will be replaced by Cressida Dick, who was in charge of the 2005 counter-terrorism operation that led to the fatal shooting of an innocent man, Jean Charles de Menezes.

John Yates: 'pretty crap' decision ends 30 years at Met

Failure to take phone hacking seriously ends in resignation of Met assistant commissioner who handled string of big cases
John Yates has resigned as Metropolitan police assistant commissioner
John Yates has resigned as Metropolitan police assistant commissioner for failing to reopen the phone-hacking investigation in 2008. Photograph: Ian Nicholson/Press Association
When he appeared before an angry home affairs select committee last week, John Yates admitted that his decision not to reopen the phone-hacking investigation two years ago had been, in his own words, a poor one.
Two days earlier the Metropolitan police assistant commissioner had been a little more forthright, confiding in a Sunday newspaper that the choice had been "pretty crap".
That repeated underestimation of the severity of the News of the Worldsaga has not only embarrassed the Met and cost the commissioner his job, it has proved to be the miscalculation that undid another of the Met's most respected officers.
Until the phone-hacking scandal erupted, Yates's three decades atScotland Yard had been comparatively free of blemish.
Born in Liverpool in 1959 and educated at Marlborough and King's College London, Yates joined the Met in 1981 and spent time in uniform before rising through the hierarchy.
He was a popular figure among rank-and-file officers as well as being close to Sir Paul Stephenson, and was regarded as a safe pair of hands for his management of a string of high-profile cases.
In 2002 he took charge of the case of the former royal butler Paul Burrell, who was accused of the theft of Princess Diana's possessions. The trial eventually collapsed following an intervention by the Queen.
He travelled to Brazil to meet the parents of Jean Charles de Menezes, the electrician shot dead by police in July 2005 at Stockwell underground station after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.
As head of the special inquiry squad, nicknamed the "celebrity squad", Yates handled a series of sensitive cases, notably the conviction for perjury of the novelist and former Conservative party chairman Lord Archer, and the Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? fraud case.
In 2006 he was appointed assistant commissioner, then took over fromBob Quick as head of counter-terrorism in 2009 following an embarrassing security breach.
But it was the tortuous and futile investigation into the Labour "cash-for-honours" allegations that thrust him most prominently into the limelight.
The 16-month inquiry ended in July 2007 with no charges brought.
Senior Labour figures said Yates and his officers – who carried out a dawn swoop on the Downing Street aide Ruth Turner and arrested Tony Blair's friend and envoy Lord Levy – had been heavy-handed. Yates insisted he had simply been following the evidence and also noted that his officers had at times received "less than full co-operation" from those allegedly involved.
What a pity he did not "follow the evidence" when it came to his tory friends and the News of the World.
"It is a matter of great concern that, for whatever reason, the News of the World appears to have failed to co-operate in the way that we now know they should have with the relevant police inquiries up until January of this year," he said.
"They have only recently supplied information and evidence that would clearly have had a significant impact on the decisions that I took in 2009 had it been provided to us."
Had he been in possession of such evidence two years ago, said Yates, "I would have made different decisions."
His testimony did not impress the committee. During the hearing MPs passed notes to the chair containing one-word descriptions of Yates's evidence.
Some wrote "evasive" but when Yates finished, the committee's chair, Keith Vaz, said he and his colleagues had found his evidence "unconvincing".
Even so, Yates continued to struggle against what was fast becoming inevitable.
Asked by Vaz if he had considered his position, Yates told him: "If you are suggesting that I should resign for what the News of the World has done, I think that is probably unfair."
Pressed again on whether he thought he would keep his job, Yates insisted it was "not a resignation matter".
But the fatal blow to Yates of the Yard's career was dealt on Sunday when Sir Paul Stephenson resigned, leaving his friend and subordinate – the Met's public face of the phone-hacking inquiry – with no choice.


viv said...

Always the understatements, "pretty crap decision making" is as far as this man will go.

But this it was not, it was a failure to do his job to protect his friends and for that, he deserves to serve time, never mind just lose his job. It is called serious corruption.

When it came to the "Cash for Questions" inquiry into Labour he was heavy handed and over zealous, spending 16 months and no doubt a huge chunk of tax payers money on a futile investigation that led to no charges whatsoever. That was pretty crap decision making too, wasn't it, or should I say, politically motivated and bent witch hunt. Did it really take you 16 months to give up? and just one day to give up on phone hacking where you had the clearest knowledge and evidence of wrong doing.

I hope they throw the book at you mate, because you deserve it and for meeting Kate and Gerry McCann. You had no authority to do so, so far as I know, at that stage it remained a matter for their local force, Leicester Police until the Home Secretary/PM invited the Met to become involved. A decision we are all bound to wonder about now.

I am pretty clear on what Leicester Police think of the McCanns.

viv said...

But I will say this, if Cameron thinks he was going to invite the London Met to come to a different conclusion about the McCanns he better just think again because the British Public will not put up with this!

viv said...

So Wiz and Di, we are not set to give up blogging just yet on this case, I would not trust slimy Cameron and his mates any further than I could throw them.

It still galls me, all this crap about Gordon Brown was protecting them.

I think it is time Cameron followed the lead from London Met and got the hell out of it, he is not fit to be PM.

viv said...

No doubt he will be relying upon the long summer recess for the public to just forget. Maybe he would have been relying upon some helpful spin from Murdoch's papers.

I do not normally support unlawful behaviour, but it sounds like justice to me. A bit of their own medicine and surely Cameron could not deny it!

viv said...

I forgot to mention I was referring to the hacking of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun to take them offline.

viv said...

According to The Super Sun which is now back online following the naughty boys hacking antics overnight (which they do not mention) Yates resigned just 26 minutes before he was to be suspended. Not the giving in type then really.

It is looking line an all female lineup at the top, which has to be an improvement IMO. Somehow, although they are appointed by the tories I just feel they will be less likely to allow politics or sleazy Murdoch rags to get in the way of them doing a proper job.