Ex-Met chiefs cleared of misconduct
Scotland Yard chiefs forced to quit over the phone-hacking scandal have launched broadsides at the police watchdog as they were cleared of misconduct.
Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and ex-assistants John Yates, Andy Hayman and Peter Clarke were cleared of misconduct relating to the force's inquiry into phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World.
This was despite the "damaging effect of the perceived inadequate response" to criminal activities at the tabloid, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said.
Former assistant commissioner Mr Yates - who resigned with Sir Paul last month - faces a further probe over allegations he secured a Scotland Yard job for the daughter of hacking suspect Neil Wallis.
Mr Yates said he was "disappointed", adding: "I strongly deny any wrongdoing and I am completely confident that I will be exonerated."
The announcement that Sir Paul had been effectively exonerated over the troubled hacking inquiry came on deadline day for applications for the post he left vacant last month.
Sir Paul said the ruling was "as I would have expected it to be" as he added that he regretted resources "have had to be expended on this matter".
He reacted angrily in response to IPCC deputy chair Deborah Glass saying the public would decide if he had been right to accept hospitality from a health spa.
Sir Paul said in a statement: "The IPCC's comments about my acceptance of assistance from a friend through my family, unconnected to my professional life, of services from Champneys' Medical Services, which they chose to examine under their powers without any external referral, does in my view fall a little short of full and proper context. However, this is a matter for their judgment."
The officers were cleared after the crisis was reignited by fresh evidence claiming phone hacking was "widely discussed" at the now axed tabloid under Andy Coulson's editorship.