AN independent panel has accused the Metropolitan Police of ‘a form of institutional corruption’ for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan in 1987.
This is the most serious charge against the Met since the McPherson Inquiry of 1999 found that it was institutionally racist.
There is now growing support for the demand that the Met Police force be disbanded.
Independent panel chair Baroness Nuala O’Loan said that the Met’s first objective had been to ‘protect itself’ by not acknowledging its failures since the 1987 murder.
‘Mr Morgan’s family, and the public, are owed an apology,’ her report added.
Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of a pub in south-east London.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father of two’s death, and the Metropolitan Police, admitting corruption, had hampered the original murder investigation.
In a statement through their lawyer, Morgan’s family said: ‘We welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover-up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.’
Home Secretary Priti Patel told the House of Commons the report was ‘deeply alarming’ and revealed a ‘litany of mistakes’ by the Met Police.
She said the behaviour of the force ‘irreparably damaged the chances of a successful prosecution’.’.
Morgan, from Llanfrechfa near Cwmbran in south Wales, died in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham on 10 March 1987.
Failures criticised by the panel include procedural errors – the crime scene was not searched – and forensic work was of so poor a standard it was described by a senior officer in the second investigation as ‘pathetic’.
‘In many respects that investigation was not compliant with the policies and procedures in force at the time,’ the report says.
‘From the beginning, there were allegations that police officers were involved in the murder, and that corruption by police officers played a part in protecting the murderer(s) from being brought to justice.’
The brother of Daniel Morgan said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick should ‘absolutely’ be considering her position in light of the report on his murder.
The report found the Met was ‘institutionally corrupt’, and Morgan’s brother Alastair was asked whether Dick should consider resigning.
He responded: ‘Absolutely she should.’
The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added: ‘You heard from the panel that the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense.
‘The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.’
Home Affairs Committee Chair Yvette Cooper said: ‘This is a deep, damning and disturbing report’.
She added it had taken eight years and ‘it is important that I hold the Commissioner Cressida Dick to account.’
She continued: ‘It is important to find out what corruption has happened over three decades … there is absolutely more to do here.
‘We cannot shy away from asking some difficult questions.’
The SNP’s Stuart C Macdonald called the report ‘devastating’ and asked whether the Home Secretary would meet with the Morgan family to discuss its contents.
He said: ‘MPs should be given the chance to debate the report’, and asked whether the ‘challenges’ in securing the co-operation of the Met Police had led to delays in the work of the panel.