Almost a quarter of staff working in the Met’s Director of Public Affairs office had previously worked at the News of the World, outgoing Commissioner Paul Stephenson revealed this afternoon.
The admission came as Stephenson gave evidence to the Home Affairs select committee. Stephenson said that 10 of the 45-strong DPA office had spent time at the News International-owned newspaper, including some who went there on work experience.
At the same hearing, Stephenson admitted that he regretted that the force had hired former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who was arrested on suspicion of phone-hacking last week.
He also claimed to have only discovered that Wallis daughter had been given a job at the Met when the story broke this weekend.
Director of Public Affairs and Internal Communications, Dick Fedorcio, was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission earlier today over his dealings with Wallis, who was given a contract as a communications consultant in September 2009.
Giving evidence, Fedorcio claimed Wallis was ‘by far the cheapest’consultant he could find.
Fedorcio was followed at the hearing by Met assistant commissioner John Yates, who resigned from the force yesterday.
Asked if he had conducted due diligence on the employment of Yates – a claim earlier made by Fedorcio – he replied: ‘It’s due diligence in the due diligence sense,’adding that he had nothing to do with the official tender process for appointing Wallis.
‘It’s not due diligence, it’s certainly not a recommendation,’he added.
Yates admitted handing over a CV from Wallis’s daughter to the Met’s head of HR but insisted that he did not ‘force the issue”.
‘I had nothing to do with her employment. I was simply a post box,’he said.
Yates denied being ‘close friends’Wallis, insisting the relationship was ‘mostly sports related’and they would up around two or three times a year