Former policeman who leaked files on unsolved murder to journalist cleared after four years in legal limbo

A former detective chief superintendent of the Met Police has been cleared nearly four years after he was arrested on suspicion of giving information to a journalist.

There has never been any suggestion that Dave Cook was paid any money by a journalist for information.

And the information he disclosed is understood to relate to the notorious unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan, who was killed with an axe in South London in 1987.

Cook was 52 at the time of his arrest in January 2012 on suspicion of misconduct in public office.

He was arrested by officers from the Independent Police Complaints Commission acting on information passed on by Operation Elveden. He was working for the Serious Organised Crime Agency at the time, but has since left that job.

After nearly four years in legal limbo for Cook, the IPCC has now finally said that it would not be the public interest to proceed against him.

The IPCC said today that Cook would have faced a case for gross misconduct over his “unauthorised disclosure of information to a journalist” if he was still a serving officer.

It said: “The IPCC investigation found evidence to indicate that after his time as a serving MPS officer, the man sent thousands of pages of MPS police documentation to the journalist.

“The documents included information marked ‘sensitive’, ‘confidential’ and ‘highly confidential’, the majority of which was sent from his work email account to his personal account and then on to the journalist.

“The former officer was an employee of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) at the time but retained an MPS email account in order to complete an investigation. The documentation, which was sent over a three year period from 2008 to 2011, related to that investigation.”

Press Gazette understands the investigation in question was the Daniel Morgan murder inquiry, which has been the subject of five failed police investigations and has been mired in allegations of corruption. It is currently the subject of an Independent Panel (a public investigation set up along similar lines to the Hillsborough inquiry).

According to the IPCC, the Crown Prosecution Service has now decided it would not be in the public interest to prosecute the former officer for either misconduct in a public office or an offence under the Data Protection Act.

IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: “While there was no evidence to indicate that the documents disclosed by the former officer resulted in payment of any kind, the evidence did indicate serious breaches of the trust placed in the officer both by the force itself and by the public.

“His claim that the information was provided to the journalist as part of a future book collaboration appears to be supported by the evidence but he also accepted that he had not requested nor been given authorisation to disclose the documents. He also acknowledged that sending sensitive and confidential documents to the journalist would never have been authorised. As the officer is now retired, no misconduct proceedings can be instigated.”

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