James Forsyth James Forsyth

Attention turns to the police

Today, the spotlight in the phone hacking scandal is shifting onto the police — who have an awful lot of questions to answer. Indeed, I suspect at the end of this the reputation of the police will have been hugely damaged.

The evidence from senior Met officials — some retired, some serving — has not convinced the Home Affairs committee today. It is a sign of how poor relations are between the police and MPs that a Tory MP has asked the current and former assistant commissioners of the Met if he they have ever taken a bribe from a journalist. Both John Yates and Andy Hayman reacted indignantly to the question but the committee members clearly thought the question was reasonable.

Talking to Tory MPs in the past few days, I’ve been struck by their desire to take on and clean up the police. Their view is that it is an unreformed public service that needs confronting. This is combined with a rage at how, they claim, the police leaks the details of any arrest or case involving anyone remotely famous (this category, obviously, includes MPs).

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