The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

  • MR ROBERT FREDERICK QUICK (sworn).

  • First of all, please, Mr Quick, your full name.

  • Robert Frederick Quick.

  • Thank you. You provided a statement to the Inquiry pursuant to the standard statutory notice. There is a statement of truth in the usual form, you've signed and dated it 13 February 2012. Is this your formal evidence to the Inquiry?

  • In terms of your background, Mr Quick, you joined the MPS in 1978. You were then promoted. You did a degree, an MBA, at Exeter University with distinction in 1994. In 1998, you were seconded to the Commissioner's private office at New Scotland Yard to support the MPS response to the Lawrence Inquiry. You then continued to move up the ranks, appointed Chief Constable of Surrey in 2004, returned to the MPS in March 2008, when you were Assistant Commissioner Specialist Operations, which is ACSO.

  • Is this right, you followed Mr Hayman in that post? Do I have that correct?

  • And then you resigned from the MPS on 31 May 2009, in the circumstances which you explain in your --

  • Before we start, could I just make two comments. First of all, Mr Quick, to acknowledge the work you've put into the statement, which has obviously been very considerable, I'm grateful.

  • And secondly, to note that you identify that you'd not been able to have access to a number of documents that would have assisted in strengthening your recollection. Now, I appreciate you cover a lot of territory in this statement, but is there any document that is particularly germane to the concerns that I am specifically addressing that you feel would have assisted in the preparation of this statement that you would wish to see?

  • The Metropolitan Police have been very helpful in furnishing the documentation that I sought. There were documents dating back 12, 13 years ago that can't be found.

  • That's a different problem. I just wanted to make sure that there wasn't anything fundamental that might change --

  • If I can deal, therefore, with the detail of your statement, first of all paragraph 8. We're back in the year 1999, when you were Detective Superintendent to head up operations in the newly formed Metropolitan Police Anti-Corruption Command. This was in response to significant intelligence indicating serious corruption was being perpetrated by a minority of officers. Did this include investigation into an outfit called Southern Investigations?

  • Was the essence of the allegation there of unauthorised disclosure of sensitive information to journalists for payment?

  • I should clarify there were two phases in this episode. That there was a long-term undercover operation called Operation Othona, which ran for nearly five years, from 1993 to 1998, and that painted a strategic picture of a corruption threat within the Metropolitan Police and involved corruption in many guises. As a result of all of that intelligence, an operational unit was created, which, very soon after its establishment, began an investigation into Southern Investigations.

  • Was that Operation Nigeria, which you refer to in paragraph 9?

  • You say there that a number of journalists -- this is about two-thirds of the way through paragraph 9 -- were identified as having relationships with Southern Investigations. To the best of your recollection these included newspapers like the Sun and News of the World, but may have included other newspapers. Are we talking there about other newspapers beyond the News International group?

  • Quite possibly. Mainly tabloids, to my recollection, but I'm unable to recall the precise detail of --

  • Was the Commissioner aware of this investigation, Operation Nigeria, in particular the newspapers involved? Or do you not know?

  • Was the Commissioner aware both of the fact of Operation Nigeria and the newspapers involved? You have mentioned here the Sun and the News of the World.

  • I'm not aware if the Commissioner was involved -- was aware of who was involved in this particular inquiry.

  • When you refer to "covert investigation techniques" in paragraph 10, am I right in saying that these comprised two aspects, first of all the use of a probe, in other words a listening device, to put it bluntly; is that correct?

  • Was there also a covert human intelligence source?

  • I can't recall whether there was. It's certainly possible, but I don't recall.

  • Did you see any intelligence briefings either emanating to or from that source, or can you not recall?

  • I saw intelligence from a wide range of sources; it was a large covert investigation. My expectation would have been it would have been technical and human sources of intelligence.

  • To wrap this point up, Operation Nigeria ended when the police arrested relevant individuals, is that so?

  • Can I ask you about the report you refer to in paragraph 12, written probably in 2000 or thereabouts, highlighting the role of journalists in promoting corrupt relationships with and making corrupt payments to officers for stories about famous people and high-profile investigations in the MPS. After the elapse of so many years, that report is no longer available. What was the purpose, though, of writing it? Can you recall?

  • Yes. I and others in my command became concerned about these relationships between journalists and police officers who were suspected of corruption, and it became apparent that some officers were being bribed to provide stories; some of the officers were providing them directly or from their own contacts within the Metropolitan Police, and I formed the view that that was a threat to the organisation and compiled a short report, to my recollection, proposing that we might deal with that by way of an investigation that looked at the financial transactions.

  • That's to say between the relevant newspapers or the journalists employed by them, and the officers engaged by the Metropolitan Police, do I have that right?

  • Well, in particular we believed that the journalists that were paying the bribes were not paying them from their own funds, and the intelligence and evidence revealed payments of between £500 and £2,000, and therefore we believed that they were claiming that money back from their employers, and that one of two possibilities arose: that they were falsely claiming that money back by purporting it to be for a reason other than payments to police officers, or indeed the newspapers were in some way complicit in those payments.

  • You make it clear in paragraph 13 that there were discussions with Mr Hayman about those matters, and he had concerns about the evidential difficulties because journalistic material was involved.

  • Similar concerns as we've seen arguably in relation to Operation Caryatid and the application of PACE?

  • You make it clear you're unable to say whether Commander Hayman, as he then was, referred this matter further up the command chain:

    "... although I was under the impression he had."

    What gave you that impression?

  • Because it was an issue that he took time to think about, and I think the conversation went over a number of days, if not more than that, and I do recall a conversation with Commander Hayman about the evidential challenges. Did we have a perfect case upon which to launch the investigation? Well, no, but we certainly had material that gave us a very strong suspicion that these journalists were making these payments, and therefore we debated the strength of the evidence and some of the complexities related to journalistic privilege or journalistic material.

    I was of the view that the offences we were looking at were essentially fraud offences and that it wouldn't necessarily offer any protection or be relevant, but in the end the discussion resulted in the decision that at that moment in time it was too risky to launch an investigation at that time.

  • You make it clear that you felt Mr Hayman was sincere in his reservations at the time?

  • Which might suggest that you didn't necessarily agree with his conclusion; is that right?

  • I don't think we agreed. I proposed it firmly in the belief that there was a line of inquiry into what appeared to be a significant threat to the integrity of the organisation. I accept there were many practicalities and risks with taking that action, and I do feel that Commander Hayman prosecuted his arguments with all sincerity.

  • Thank you. It was Mr Hayman's suggestion, the last sentence of paragraph 13:

    "... that he should visit a particular editor or newspaper and confront them with this intelligence but I do not know what action was taken in this regard."

    Which newspaper or which editor? Can you tell us?

  • Again, I can't be specific about which paper it was without the report. But that was one of the options that I know he did consider.

  • You mentioned two newspapers earlier on in your evidence. Was it the same or different?

  • I think it was one of the two.

  • One of those two. Paragraph 14 we're not going to deal with at all, Mr Quick, because there are too many issues about that, if I can put it neutrally without indicating what the issues are, and we'll move on to paragraph 15, where you say in the second part of that paragraph:

    "There were considerable grounds to believe that journalists from tabloid newspapers were corruptors, driven by intense competitive pressures to use unethical and unlawful means to secure stories that included corrupting police officers through payments."

    Apart from the matters you've referred to in relation to Operation Nigeria and what you learnt through that, were there any other grounds to believe that journalists from tabloid newspapers were corruptors?

  • Yes. I think to the best of my recollection the Metropolitan Police had accumulated a huge volume of intelligence relating to the integrity of the organisation from a wide range of sources. We'd had the Operation Othona running for five years, and as time passed, a picture began to emerge of a serious threat between -- involving ex-officers who had left the service, possibly having been prosecuted or left after a discipline case, and journalists, so the officers that had moved into the private investigation arena, and there was an example here with Southern Investigations, but there were others, and journalists, and the trading of stories. And that picture slowly emerged in the late 1990s and early part of the last decade.

  • So when you're referring to corruption here, you mean frank corruption, that money was passing hands for the stories; is that --

  • Yes, that's correct sir, yes.

  • Paragraph 16 you deal with a leak surrounding the murder of Jill Dando. I think that paragraph is self-explanatory.

    Can I move to the review of the cash for honours investigation? That, of course, was Operation Ribble, and that was being conducted by Acting Assistant Commissioner Yates, and you were asked when you were Chief Constable in Surrey to undertake a review by the Deputy Commissioner, then Paul Stephenson; is that correct?

  • And Mr Stephenson, as he then was, was concerned at allegations being levelled at the MPS and at Mr Yates specifically about the unauthorised disclosure of confidential details of the investigation to the media. So is this right, part of the review was to consider whether indeed there were unauthorised disclosures to the media?

  • Yes. Essentially, the review was directing me at the security and integrity of the investigation and the procedures through which sensitive material was being handled.

  • Were you also being asked to consider the potential for any unjustified attacks on the reputations of senior members of the Operation Ribble team and identify steps to prevent these?

  • Indeed, yes, that's correct.

  • We only have the draft report, not the final version, but it may be there's little difference between the two, but the draft is annex A to your statement, underneath our tab 2 in the file which has been prepared.

  • As you say in your statement at the bottom of this page, 01507, paragraph 18, you found that:

    "... there was a proper basis for the investigation to continue toward the submission of a full file to the CPS and that there was a good and robust process ensuring a high standard of security ..."

  • Did you also find that there was no evidence of leaks?

  • I did find no evidence of leaks, and more than that, I examined the pre-disclosure release of material -- sorry, the pre-interview disclosure of material during the interview of a number of suspects, and it was clear to me that some of the material in the public domain that was being created as leaked material may well have been sourced from people who had been the subject of an interview and therefore the disclosure of material in preparation for that interview.

  • I think you also found as part of your conclusions, this is page 10 of 11, under tab 2, 01557, that there was a substantial risk, four matters:

    "i. An intensifying attack on the motivation, integrity or competence of the MPS by those at risk from the investigation or their allies and supporters;

    "ii. An attempt to discredit or compromise the investigation by suggesting the investigation is not secure and information is being leaked;

    "iii. Attempt by the media to obtain sensitive material;

    "iv. Attempts to discredit or compromise key individuals ..."

    So you, there, were being very defensive of -- and, indeed, supportive of all the individuals involved, is that fair?

  • Yes, I had some sympathy with their plight. It was a very hostile environment in which the investigation was occurring. Obviously a huge controversy, massive media reporting around it, speculation, accusations and suggestions of leaks. So it was a very, very difficult time, I think, for the officers and for the Met.

  • But is it fair to say that in your view Mr Yates was in essence being unfairly implicated in this and there was no evidence in relation to him? Is that correct?

  • I certainly could see no evidence through my review of deliberately leaking material, and I saw robust and secure processes to handle the material secured through the investigation.

  • In paragraph 19, when you refer to a further contact from Mr Stephenson, January 2007, concerns expressed by the Chief Secretary to the Cabinet, then Sir Gus O'Donnell, O'Donnell had specifically expressed concern about Yates' relationship with the media in this regard. Was the implication there that Sir Gus was suggesting that Mr Yates was or might be leaking information to the media?

  • As I understood it, yes. I had, I think, completed my review when I was asked by Paul Stephenson, now Sir Paul, to go back to Scotland Yard and see him. I think that was on 26 January 2007. He relayed to me a conversation he had had with the chief secretary to the cabinet, which had caused him some significant concern. I could see he was very shaken by that, and in effect, it was suggesting that AC Yates was responsible for leaks. So he asked me to give some further thought in the light of that to the security and integrity of the cash for honours investigation, and I agreed to do that over the weekend, and on the following Monday I produced a report, which was sent to Paul Stephenson, the Deputy Commissioner, with 13 recommendations to further assure him, as the Deputy Commissioner and the head of professional standards, that the inquiry was sound and that there was no leaks or malpractice.

  • Recommendation 12, at the bottom of page 01508, was a suggestion that consideration should be given to conducting a retrospective analysis of AC Yates' telephone records.

  • And then you said:

    "This may offer a further layer of audit to counter unsubstantiated claims that sensitive information has been provided to the press."

  • I've been asked to put to you this point: the recommendation was a fairly tepid one, if I can put it in those terms, it wasn't on the basis: well, this is something that must be done. It was only on the basis that it may offer a further layer of audit, is that fair?

  • Well, it was a recommendation. Whether it was tepid or not I think it was pretty clear. I think as a former head of counter corruption in the Metropolitan Police, I recognised that as fairly standard practice in cases where the organisation suspected an officer might be responsible for leaks.

  • But here you were not suggesting it because you suspected him, but because you wanted to counter the suspicion. You'd seen no evidence and you wanted to be able to blow it away?

  • Yes. Essentially that was my recommendation.

  • What happened was, if I can take this bit quite shortly, that Mr Stephenson provided a copy of the recommendation to Mr Yates, sought Mr Yates' views. There was then a period of time which elapsed. And then in paragraph 22 there was a discussion you had with Mr Yates. It was obvious to you that he was aware of your recommendation number 12. You asked Mr Yates for his consent to allow that his private and work telephone records be examined, et cetera. You thought he might welcome this. And then he indicated his refusal, and when you pressed him:

    "... he made the comment that he was 'very well (or too well) connected'. When I questioned this remark he emphasised 'No Bob -- I am very well connected'."

  • What did you draw from that?

  • I didn't place huge significance to it at the time. I thought it was a bit of theatre. I sensed AC Yates was clearly sensitive, as I think I would be, to an intrusive process like that, but I wanted to be fair to him that, as he had raised it, that I had recommended it and that I was going to take it up with the Deputy Commissioner, whose decision I felt it ought to be.

  • And the Deputy Commissioner, when you did raise it with him, indicated he didn't require you to implement recommendation 12. Is there any implicit criticism you're making there, Mr Quick?

  • No. It's just telling as things happened.

  • Thank you. Because you made it clear in your letter to the Deputy Commissioner on 29 January -- we needn't turn it up -- that Assistant Commissioner Yates has been made subject to a protective statutory to reduce the risk of unfounded or malicious allegations, which gives us your view, I suppose, of whether there was any merit in these allegations; is that right?

  • Absolutely. And I should say at the time I was very cognisant, as I'm sure Paul Stephenson was, that AC Yates was not subject to a formal complaint, as I understood it, and therefore, you know, there was a balance to be struck about what the appropriate measures were. And it was Paul's decision that those steps weren't to be taken.

  • In paragraph 23 you move on to a different issue, which was the then government's intention to extend pre-charge detention from 28 days to possibly 42 days.

  • And this was in March 2008?

  • On 28 March 2008 -- this is paragraph 25 -- you wrote to the Home Secretary to set out your assessment of the risk.

  • Basically, you said you didn't give express support to extension to any particular number of days, but you were proposing extending the period. Is that a fair encapsulation of your view?

  • Well, the Home Secretary asked for operational advice in relation to the potential to extend the days of lawful detention, pre-charge detention, so in effect my decision was not to get involved in specifying a number of days; it was simply to discuss with the most senior counter-terrorism officers in the Metropolitan Police who had most experience of some of the largest terrorism cases this country had seen about whether there was a realistic prospect that circumstances could arise that 28 days' detention might prove insufficient to fully investigate suspects, and their advice was, for a number of reasons, which they elaborated upon, that there were foreseeable circumstances where that could happen, and I passed that back to the Home Secretary in a letter, as I felt it was my duty to do.

  • The way you put it in the letter, 01565, under tab 4, last page, you concluded that:

    "A pragmatic inference can confidently be drawn from statistical empirical evidence arising from recent investigations that circumstances could arise in the future which render existing pre-charge detention limits inadequate to ensure full and expeditious investigation."

  • You had a meeting with the Shadow Home Secretary, Mr Davis, in May 2008, and as paragraph 26 makes clear, he accused you of being a supporter of the then government's proposal to extend detention without charge to 42 days, which you say, "Well, if you look at my letter, that's not what I said"; is that right?

  • That's correct. I felt that it wasn't appropriate to get involved in trying to specify a number of days. I was there really to point out the risks operationally and no more.

  • You had a meeting with him where no doubt there was a full and frank exchange of views. One of the points he made was that extended detention was not necessary due to the CPS threshold test and that was the test which said that exceptionally there could be a lower standard of satisfaction for charging in terrorist cases. Did you feel that that point adequately addressed the issue?

  • No, I didn't. Mr Davis did cite the threshold test, and in fact I was aware prior to the meeting he would be likely to do so, and so I'd undertaken some research about it, but I was surprised when he asserted that the suspects could have been charged within 48, 72 hours, and I knew that that simply wasn't the case. This was a huge and very complex inquiry with massive amounts of data that had to be analysed and researched, and evidence certainly hadn't emerged in that time to enable the suspects to be charged, or all of them.

  • Mr Davis also told you he believed that chief constables were not in favour of the proposal to extend the detention period to 42 days?

  • Can I be clear about what you said in response to that?

  • A few days earlier I'd actually been at Chief Constables Council, where the chief constables meet on policy issues, and there had been a long debate on this very issue, and at the end of the debate there was a unanimous agreement that ACPO and the Chief Constables Council would support the principle of extended detention for serious terrorism cases.

  • But not to any specific number of days; is that correct?

  • I can't recall whether the ACPO statement subscribed to a given number of days. I don't recall that it did, but I couldn't be certain.

  • There were then press articles in the Daily Mail and the Standard -- this is under tab 5, annex D -- where you felt that Mr Davis misrepresented your position, and indeed, more importantly, the position of chief constables across the country, as you've just explained it to us; is that right?

  • Yes, I did feel that it didn't represent the conversation I'd had with him.

  • Are you saying that the conversation you had with him was confidential and he shouldn't have spoken to the press at all, or is your complaint fine for him to speak to the press, but if he's going to speak to the press, he should get your position accurately stated? Which of the two?

  • The latter. I felt our conversations were very clear and I think I made it clear that the chief constables were unanimous in that position, as far as I could see at that meeting.

  • You then wrote to Mr Davis setting out your position. There was a further meeting with Mr Davis and Mr Grieve on 24 June when you made it clear that you felt that the newspaper articles and the misrepresentations in them were serious?

  • Mr Davis, you say, didn't seem at all concerned?

  • No, I didn't feel he was particularly concerned about that point.

  • Later in 2009, about nine months later, Mr Davis attacked your character and professionalism in a Mail on Sunday piece, which is annex F or tab 7. Our page 01571. I mean, this piece speaks for itself. He says that he wrote this piece "the day I knew Bob Quick was flawed". He harboured doubts about you, and then refers to your first meeting -- this is the meeting in May 2008 -- as "astonishing".

    Is the issue here again -- sorry, I'll let you express your concern without leading you. Can you tell us what the basis or nature of your concern is?

  • Well, very simply, having prepared for the meeting with Mr Davis, I researched the issue of the threshold test. I had learned, prior to the meeting, that he was citing this argument, so whilst I knew of the threshold test, I made myself much more conversant with it and its sort of technical requirements, so I felt this really misrepresented the situation because I felt actually it was Mr Davis that didn't understand the test. I had rehearsed it in some detail with the Crown Prosecution Service before the meeting, and I felt I understood the test then, in a lot of detail, and I felt Mr Davis's assertions about the 72 hours charge in effect misunderstood the test and what actually happened in the investigation.

    So I was very concerned to read this, because it simply seemed to be almost the opposite of what actually occurred.

  • Yes. One last question before we break for lunch. Is your concern really directed to Mr Davis, or does your concern embrace the Mail on Sunday? It might be said in relation to them all they're doing is setting out -- or in fact, in the second case, printing -- an article which he, Mr Davis, has written. Is there anything wrong with that?

  • I think as a stand-alone issue, you could say that's a perfectly legitimate position for the Mail, but I think this was part -- in fact, I know it was part of a sequence of articles over a sustained period from the Mail during the course of a criminal investigation that I was involved in, so in that regard I felt that it was inappropriate whilst the inquiry was still live.

  • I think that --

  • But for Mr Davis to say what Mr Davis thinks, that's Mr Davis's responsibility.

  • Is that a convenient moment?

  • It is. 2 o'clock. Thank you very much.

  • (The luncheon adjournment)

  • Now, Mr Quick, the Damian Green investigation, can we deal with the background quite economically, if we may?

    There was a briefing or concern within the Cabinet Office that there had been leaks of protected information from within the Home Office; is that right?

  • And in view of that and the overall sensitivity of the matter, you instructed your deputy, who was DAC, as she then was, Cressida Dick, to undertake a scoping exercise and what in essence did she tell you?

  • In effect that the scoping exercise had revealed that someone working very close to the Home Secretary in her private office seemed to be accessing letters from the Secretary of State to the Prime Minister as well as removing documents from a safe in the outer office, private office, and that essentially the CPS, who had been consulted, advised that these are likely to be criminal matters.

  • So DAC Dick instructed you that Stephenson, who then I think was then Deputy Commissioner, he wasn't yet Commissioner.

  • I think he'd just become Sir Paul Stephenson at that point.

  • He'd been briefed terms of reference for an investigation were established, this was in November of 2008, and it soon came about, paragraph 35 of your statement, that a civil servant in the Home Office, Mr Christopher Galley, was a strong suspect for some of the leaks; is that right?

  • Correct. At least five had been linked to him, and then I believe a sixth leak late in the day also was linked to this civil servant.

  • When he was arrested on 19 November 2008, and documents seized, those documents indicated that the then Shadow Immigration Minister, Mr Damian Green MP, was involved with Mr Galley; is that right?

  • Mr Galley was interviewed on that day. He admitted being responsible for four of the six leaks initially linked to him.

  • What did he say in relation to Mr Green's involvement?

  • He claimed that Mr Davis introduced him to Mr Green, and in effect that Mr Green had had a conversation with him about accessing material that would be useful, and Galley gave a number of descriptions in interview regarding that conversation, intimating that Mr Green was seeking dirt or damage on the Labour government, and other material that would be useful to him.

  • Mr Galley's claim was that he told Mr Green that he wanted a parliamentary job within the party?

  • Indeed. His account was that he enquired of Mr Green as to whether he could assist him obtain employment within the party and he claimed that Mr Green had given him positive signals about helping him find employment.

  • In paragraph 37, Mr Quick, Mr Galley then detailed two meetings with Mr Green where he handed over leaked material to Mr Green, including material stolen from the Home Secretary's private outer office safe. One meeting was in a wine bar?

  • The quotation there, that was in an email?

  • That was in an email from Mr Green to Galley arranging a meet:

    "Anywhere we won't see any of your colleagues! Do you know Balls Brothers opposite Victoria Station?"

  • Then there's a text message, paragraph 38, 24 September 2008, where Mr Galley sent a text to Mr Green's mobile stating:

    "Interviewed today by Cabinet Office about leaked economy and crime paper, I think I managed to deflect all questions."

    And then Mr Green's response was:

    "Good let's talk again after conference unless you are going."

  • Later you found evidence of additional communications between Mr Galley and Mr Green and that's paragraph 39, which I don't think it's necessary to specify but we note in passing.

    The circumstances leading to Mr Green's arrest, paragraph 41, Mr Quick, are that on 20 November 2008 you were informed by -- this is Commander McDowall, I think, the admissions by Mr Galley in relation to Mr Green, and the first stage was to get advice from the Directorate of Legal Services because obviously issues of parliamentary privilege arose?

  • Indeed. This was the late DAC, Deputy Assistant Commissioner McDowall, who briefed me on the arrest and the admissions, and whilst initially it was proposed that we would follow up this by way of searches and potentially an arrest, we agreed to actually slow that process down because of the sensitivities, potential for parliamentary privilege issues to be involved and make sure that we were on a very firm legal footing before we moved forward.

  • The advice you received -- this is paragraph 42 -- was that a search of an MP's parliamentary office would be lawful provided it was carried out with the consent of the parliamentary authorities?

  • But a search warrant could be obtained in any event. So you then moved to a decision-making process as to whether it was appropriate to arrest a Member of Parliament or to invite him in for interview by appointment. Can I ask you to address that, please? It's paragraph 43. You were later criticised for following the arrest course on the basis that it was disproportionate, notwithstanding everybody accepted that there was evidence, so before you decide to arrest, what considerations enter into play?

  • Well, there were many considerations, and I think the starting position was moving towards an invitation to attend the police station voluntarily for interview. However, a number of pieces of information came to light, including some information from Christopher Galley, who had been released on bail after his arrest and recontacted the police the following day to tell the officers that he'd had a call, a telephone conversation, with Mr Green, and in relaying the conversation he claimed that Mr Green had told him not to mention certain aspects of the inquiry, the involvement of another person, and therefore the Gold Group, balancing a whole range of issues -- and I won't, unless you require me to, go through every single one -- was unanimous in the belief that the only ethical and effective way forward was to deal with Mr Green by way of an arrest, but with elaborate special measures in place to minimise the impact of that arrest.

  • Thank you. You made reference to a Gold Group. I don't think that term has yet been defined for the Inquiry. What is a Gold Group?

  • A Gold Group is a senior strategic decision-making body of experienced and senior or specialist staff to support decision-making. Essentially I was the chairman of the group. The decision ultimately was mine, but I had a whole range of senior and specialist staff to go through all of the issues and dimensions of that decision before we finally made it.

  • What happened there, I think we can take this shortly: special arrangements were put in place?

  • Sir Paul Stephenson was briefed?

  • A search plan was instituted, and this related to the Palace of Westminster. Mr Green was arrested at his Kent constituency. He was taken to the Belgravia police station.

  • He initially claimed to be too tired to be interviewed. He later agreed to be interviewed, but in effect gave a "no comment" interview, or rather he declined to answer any questions?

  • And that's where matters were left by the time we reach paragraph 52 and, as you say, on 28 November various influential public figures were severely critical of the arrest and investigation of Green, despite being unaware of the nature of the material obtained by the police.

    Pausing there, Mr Quick, it might be said that this was bound to be a controversial operation. Were you expecting this level of criticism?

  • Absolutely. When I briefed Sir Paul Stephenson prior to the arrest operation we both discussed and recognised this would be controversial, and in some respects that was not a huge surprise, but some of the reporting was a surprise, insofar as the assertions about facts that we knew not to be true.

  • There was obviously a party political agenda here, with politicians perhaps briefing the press and then these matters appearing in the press, and Mr Green's colleagues, it might be said, seeking to -- to use the vernacular -- rubbish your investigation. Is that how it appeared to you?

  • It certainly appeared that way, yes.

  • You received a telephone call from Sir Paul Stephenson on the evening of Sunday, 30 November. This is paragraph 54.

  • He expressed his anxieties. Hardly surprising, perhaps. He told you not to worry and that he was not about to row away from you. Did you find that a surprising remark?

  • I did. I took some comfort in his call but I was a bit concerned about his remark. I sensed a slightly dispirited tone, and, of course, it was very controversial and the media controversy had built up to a head at the weekend, and I could understand his anxiety and I'm sure I shared in it, but at the same time I was very clear that we were investigating a case where an individual, or possibly others, were prepared to intercept a Secretary of State for national security's personal letters and communications to the Prime Minister, and access safes where we knew sensitive documents to be held.

    So I was very clear that we were within our rights to continue the investigation, despite it being unpopular potentially with the media and others, because I guess leaks in many ways are potentially good copy for newspapers, but we needed to be absolutely clear as to whether an offence had been committed, whether national security had been compromised or sensitive or secret documents removed.

  • There was a meeting the following day, Monday 1 December. This was Paul Stephenson, because Sir Ian Blair, as he then was, I think had just resigned a few days before.

  • And the Acting Deputy Commissioner, Tim Godwin, was there. You say:

    "Stephenson looked very anxious and told me he had written out his resignation."

    But you told him clearly he'd done nothing wrong; is that right?

  • Indeed. I was surprised and quite shocked at that remark, because I couldn't see that the police were doing anything other than their duty to investigate what were very serious allegations from a government department.

  • At all events, plainly that didn't happen, Sir Paul Stephenson didn't resign, for obvious reasons.

  • There was adverse reporting in the press, however, which you referred to in annex K, which it is our tab 12.

  • Maybe we can look at some of that. 01580, the first page, the Evening Standard. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was very much at the centre of these reports. Do you feel that the reporting was inappropriate or do you feel that what politicians were telling newspapers was inappropriate or neither?

  • Well, I had concerns at some early reports just before the weekend, I believe, where the Mayor had expressed concerns about the arrest of Mr Green, and I detected that that had an impact, and I detected a change in attitude towards the operation on the part of one or two colleagues, and real anxiety and fear about what was going on around them, and that did concern me, yes.

  • Might it be said, though, that the role of the press in a mature democracy is to hold institutions like the police to account? This was a controversial operation, a controversial arrest, therefore it wasn't only inevitable but almost desirable that you should be held under scrutiny, that the bright light, as it were, should be shined in your direction; would you accept that?

  • Absolutely, sir. I think chief police officers accept that and in many ways require that so that their powers are appropriately restrained, but I was concerned that the Chairman of the Police Authority would enter into that fray because -- obviously that person's position in overseeing the Metropolitan Police.

  • Thank you. You received some advice from AC Yates at about this point. He asked to see you in his office. He told you he felt the inquiry was doomed, that the CPS would withdraw their support due to the outcry, in much the same way as they had in cash for honours, and advised you to stop the investigation and "cut my losses".

    All he was doing I suppose was communicating to you what might have been his bitter experience -- we don't know, but we know what happened -- in relation to the cash for honours; is that right?

  • Yes. I had huge sympathy for AC Yates' experience in cash for honours, but my point was really straightforward. We had to have a legitimate reason to stop the investigation, and there wasn't one, and I didn't think it was appropriate -- and I was surprised he asked me to drop it at that point, because we'd just seized a load of evidence that we didn't have the opportunity to examine at that point, and clearly to stop the inquiry at that time would have consequences if later it was established that there had indeed been more serious leaks.

  • So it didn't seem a tenable argument to me.

  • Turning it on its head, it would have had the appearance of succumbing to political pressure had you stopped in your tracks there and then, it might be argued?

  • Indeed. It could have appeared that way.

  • But what happened then, but in your view prematurely, was that a review took place which Sir Paul Stephenson instigated, and Chief Constable Ian Johnston of the British Transport Police was designated to carry out that review. You make the point that you felt that that was inappropriate, given that you really hadn't reached the point in examining the evidence to reach any conclusion as to whether your inquiry merited a review?

  • But I was very concerned that the review was convened in haste, in an air of semi panic, and I felt that the chances of the review getting to grips quickly with the issues were slim, and I felt that it was essentially a result of pressure that was being placed upon the Met.

  • Could I just ask, bringing it back to the press, did you feel that the line taken by the Metropolitan Police at this time was being reflected in the reporting?

  • No, sir. I had concerns about what I was reading in the media at that time, particularly across and after the first weekend after the arrest, and I couldn't see any line of the Metropolitan Police being reflected in that reporting. There were reports attributable to people close to the Acting Commissioner, that he didn't support the arrest, that we had argued furiously about it and I'd ignored his advice. There were various claims in the media that really troubled me, and my team.

  • Because that might be relevant to the next phase of the inquiry to deal with the relationships between the politicians and the press.

  • Quite possibly, sir, yes.

  • We see one such piece, annex M, our tab 14, page 01595. I think this was the Daily Telegraph, where it was alleged that Sir Paul Stephenson felt that his chances to become Commissioner had been damaged and had had a row with you, described as a "frank exchange of views".

  • This was false. This was a false report. Nothing of the kind happened. As I say, I was very concerned about the potential source of those articles and it crossed my mind whether the journalist was simply making it up or whether there was a source somewhere briefing this story into the press.

  • In terms of briefing behind your back and Sir Paul Stephenson's back, do you have any idea from where it came? You refer to someone senior at Scotland Yard.

  • When looking across the reporting, some the reports were well informed, if I might say that, given our line was relatively narrow in terms of what we were saying to the press. It seemed to me that there was some briefing going on, and it wasn't authorised by me as the officer in charge, and the Acting Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, implied very strongly it wasn't him. I did raise this issue. No one came forward to say they had been briefing the press, as you might expect, but I, along with my team, were very concerned about what was happening at that time.

  • So although you suspected that someone senior at Scotland Yard was briefing the press, is this right, you didn't have suspicions about any one particular individual? Or did you?

  • I didn't have any evidence about a specific individual. I had formed some concerns about relationships with the press in the short time that I had been at Scotland Yard. For example, I was aware of a particular journalist at the Mail who had done a pretty good job of trying to demolish the Metropolitan Police over the previous few years and in particular a former Commissioner, and I was aware of some quite close relationships with people like that, which I found extraordinary.

  • Who was this journalist at the Mail?

  • One of them was a guy called Stephen Wright, who I believed was a Mail journalist. In fact I'm sure he was.

  • And I was aware that one of my colleagues, AC Yates, was close to him. So I did have concerns about these relationships in the short time that I'd been back in the Met as an Assistant Commissioner.

  • Yes. We have a combustible mix here, because to put it bluntly, there was a job open at the top, Commissioner had just gone, a number of powerful people are jockeying for position, who's going to be the next Commissioner, and this is one way, arguably briefing behind the scenes, of improving your own position, knifing someone else or trying to get your friend in a better position to be the next Commissioner. Is it that sort of situation here?

  • Well, there's all sorts of potential explanations. I guess my concern was we had a criminal inquiry under way, the allegations were very serious, and it was important that the Met was able to get on with it and not, if you like, persuaded to drop the case before the inquiry was thoroughly completed.

  • What happened then is that the Johnston review began on 2 December 2008. You felt he was set a deadline which was unrealistic, that of two weeks, and there was a meeting on 6 December -- this is paragraph 61 -- which Acting Deputy Commissioner Godwin asked you to attend, and at that meeting you heard what Mr Johnston's preliminary findings were; is that right?

  • That's correct, sir, yes.

  • And the findings were -- and these are findings which are borne out in the final report -- you had evidence to justify the arrest but that arresting Mr Green as opposed to inviting him in for interview was disproportionate; is that right?

  • Yes. I found the rationale for that extraordinary, because the proposition put to me was that the Cabinet Office envisaged this as being a discipline matter, and it was clear from the outset that they thought it was a criminal matter and they required the intervention of the police with their powers. They had been investigating these leaks for some time without success. There was a recognition, as I said earlier, that the person responsible, or at least a person, was in a very sensitive place in the Home Office with access to very sensitive material.

    I was aware that not only did the initial letter make it clear it was criminal, my meeting with the Cabinet Office along with Cressida Dick's meeting made it clear they thought it was criminal, and in any event, regardless of that, the CPS had advised it was criminal. So I found it strange that there was this emphasis constantly on it not being a criminal matter.

  • Would the police normally be involved in an investigation if it wasn't criminal? If it was going to be disciplinary?

  • No, sir. We wouldn't expect to be involved in that whatsoever.

  • At the meeting -- this is your paragraph 62, Mr Quick -- you say:

    "[Paul] Stephenson and Godwin seemed very preoccupied during the meeting about the negative media attention MPS would receive if this investigation continued."

    So are you saying there that the media agenda and the reputation of the police in the eyes of the media, and then consequentially in the eyes of the public, were, as it were, dictating where this investigation should go?

  • Yes. I sensed that it was having an enormous impact on how people were thinking about this case. I was simply concerned that the police are the police in the sense they have a set of statutory functions and duties, and I'm not suggesting for a moment that the police don't take account of things in the media and challenges and criticism, but at the same time the facts were the facts, and there was a perfectly legitimate criminal investigation going on and we had to focus on getting on with it and completing it to the satisfaction of ourselves and reporting matters to the CPS.

  • Immediately after the meeting, as you say, Sir Paul Stephenson came into your office and asked you to stop the investigation.

  • And you expressed your view that wouldn't be appropriate in line with the evidence you've been giving to us. I've been asked to put this to you: was this because Mr Johnston had given his preliminary conclusion that the arrest of Mr Green, although lawful, was disproportionate, and therefore it was right that the investigation should be stopped?

  • Well, Mr Johnston did give some views, but I did respond to those views with pointing out the facts as I understood them to be, and therefore I couldn't see any construct upon which you could hang the cessation of the investigation, anything legitimate, and I made that very clear at the meeting. That wasn't challenged. I didn't sense that anyone was able to challenge that on the basis of facts.

  • What happened then was that Mr Johnston gave his report on 16 December. It was in the line with his preliminary conclusions, as you've told us.

    Can I move forward to paragraph 67. You subsequently became concerned to discover that certain critical -- by which you mean highly important -- references in the original Johnston review have since had to be redacted from the public version as they were objected to by the Cabinet Office, and a section of your statement has been redacted out because those I think are the bits which were objected to by the Cabinet Office.

    Paragraph 68:

    "The proposition that the Cabinet Office considered that this was not a matter that warranted a criminal investigation was at the heart of attempts to persuade [you] to stop the Green investigation and formed a central plank in the argument and conclusion by Mr Johnston that the arrest of Green was 'disproportionate'."

    And you stand by that?

  • And you say basically that simply can't be right because what were the police doing in the first place if this wasn't a criminal investigation? It had to be a criminal investigation.

  • Thank you. The end of this piece of evidence you're going to deal with in a moment, but there's an important piece of evidence you can give which starts at paragraph 70, media attack on your family.

    Can we take this in slightly more detail than we've done the previous section? Paragraph 70, that on 19 December, which I think was three days after the Johnston review --

  • -- you received a call from your wife to inform you that a client of hers had called her to say that a journalist from the Mail on Sunday had called at her house to interview her about your wife's wedding car business. What in essence was your wife's wedding car business?

  • It was a wedding service, it was entitled a wedding service and advertised as such. It involved a fleet of Rolls Royces that were made available to families who had a wedding planned, for hire, to take the bride in the traditional way to the service, and several partnerships and other similar wedding-connected events.

    Essentially, she had been running that for about 18 months, she'd made it very successful, she was enjoying it, and subsequently we found that the Mail had found an interest in it and managed in a way that we've never really worked out how to find one of my wife's clients, it wasn't a local client, but they told her they were going to do a special feature on this business, and managed to get into the client's house and the client actually gave a ringing endorsement of my wife's business, but they were very fixated on me and whether I had a role in the business, did I drive the cars personally, did I use police officers in uniform to drive the cars. Quite daft questions in a sense, but that was how it was reported back to my wife from her client.

  • So the interest was not in the business at all, it was your connection with the business; is that right?

  • Do you know to this day how it was that the Mail on Sunday managed to make this connection?

  • So we understand the nature the business -- you've alluded to this -- it was a bespoke service, not just the Rolls Royce but a driver for the Rolls Royce, obviously?

  • And there was an issue relating to licensing, I think?

  • Which you raised or your wife raised with the borough council and was resolved how?

  • She took advice when she started the business about the wedding service. She was advised that weddings and related services do not require a licence, there is no such licence. Subsequently, of course, I have looked and found the same. So she was operating in the belief that there wasn't a licensing requirement, and I think that was quite right.

  • Subsequently, this is paragraph 72, there was further journalistic activity, if I can put it in those terms, and some of it related to your own Jensen Interceptor motorcar, which was by that stage almost a vintage car, it was almost 30 years old, which was on your wife's website, but you say it was an optimisation tactic, it wasn't in fact for hire?

  • That's correct, yes. My wife became suspicious that prior to the call from her client that week, someone had been very persistent in trying to hire the Jensen, and she was very forthright but polite in saying actually it isn't for hire, although it's on the website. The car attracts a lot of interest, it has a big fan club, and it was a website optimisation tactic, as you say.

  • This caller was very persistent. As I understand it, my wife didn't take orders on the Jensen, it was very unusual, so of course subsequently we suspect that that was a journalist trying to hire it and they were told it wasn't for hire.

  • But both the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail had been critical of your handling of the Damian Green MP investigation which of course was ongoing at this stage; is that right?

  • Can I ask you, please, about the assistance you sought from Mr Fedorcio, paragraph 73.

  • Yes. I'd asked on the Friday of these events for Mr Fedorcio to assist. He said he would contact the Mail and find out what's going on. I don't think I heard back from him until the following day, 20 December, when I took a call from him and he told me that the Mail on Sunday, the next day, the Sunday, were going to run an article that my wife's business uses serving police officers as drivers, and I had a conversation with Dick asserting that that was completely and utterly untrue, and obviously I didn't want to see that article. He told me it was going to be a front-page story and I think I very confidently asserted if they did publish that, then I think I would have a legal redress to it.

    He then came back to me later that afternoon and said they've now conceded it's not true. However, they spent quite a bit of money on this investigation, they've been doing it for I think he said ten days, and therefore they're going to run a different story, which is that my security is at risk by virtue of my wife's business.

    So I said to Dick, "I'm sure it will be if they publish it in a million newspapers and link it to my role as the head of counter-terrorism", but I didn't feel there was a link that anyone would find and therefore I felt it was a bogus case they were making to run an article against me in relation to the real issue, as I took it, to be the Damian Green investigation.

  • It was worse than disingenuous, if I may say so, because the security scare they were referring to was one they themselves were fermenting.

    Tab 15, it's your annex N, we can see the piece. 21 December 2008, Mail on Sunday.

  • Picture of you. You even hire out your own sports car.

  • "Questions are being raised over [your] judgment after it emerged that the wedding car hire business including one of his own cars is being run through his home."

    Given that it was your wife's legitimate business and the sports car wasn't for hire, that was untrue.

    "The business uses former police officers as chauffeurs for the stable of vintage Rolls Royces?"

    Was that true or untrue?

  • There were some former police officers, retired, who were members of the Chauffeurs Guild I believe my wife employed from time to time.

  • There's a reference then to you hiring out your personal 7 litre 130 mile an hour Jensen sports car.

    "One senior Yard source said 'Bob Quick needs to ask himself whether he is happy that all this is out and about. There will need to be a review, bearing in mind his position. He needs to review all of this'."

    Can you comment on the senior Yard source?

  • No, I can't. I have no idea who that was.

  • It's clear that Mr Fedorcio sought to assist you to dampen down this story. Did you feel that he did all that he could?

  • If I'm honest, I didn't feel I had huge support from my colleagues at that time, because on the Saturday, when we became aware that the Mail were conceding their original story was not true and then seemed to have conjured up a different story about my personal safety, I made representations to Sir Paul Stephenson that this was really a very cynical move on the part of the Mail, it was clearly linked to the Green investigation and therefore we ought to be speaking to the editor and perhaps, you know, questioning their -- the legitimacy of this article. He wasn't keen to do that, and I wasn't particularly happy with that decision because I felt it was such a blatant move that would create a risk, that didn't currently exist, that impacted on my family. So I felt that I ought to ask him for his support and the organisation's support, but I didn't feel, if I'm honest, that that was forthcoming.

  • And this was, as you make clear in paragraph 78, both Mr Fedorcio and Sir Paul Stephenson were not intervening on your behalf. Do you know why they did not intervene on your behalf?

  • I don't know. I have no real understanding of why they didn't feel able to approach the editor and really just challenge their motives and their behaviours and whether this was really justifiable.

  • What were the consequences from your personal perspective of the publication of this article?

  • Well, the consequences were there was an impact, I think, in the public perception about the Green inquiry. They were -- or the article was laced with references to my judgment and the Damian Green case. There was an impact on my family's safety because now there was a mass media engaged to alert the country that that business actually was connected to the head of counter-terrorism, so it did then introduce some real anxieties for my wife and I about our children, who were still at home at that time, and so we had to take steps to move them out of the house until we could properly assess the impact of it, have a security review and make some modifications just as a precaution, because I was aware of -- I was well aware of cases in the UK where extremists and other violent individuals have targeted members of the police or security forces.

  • Was this business run in your name? I don't say "your", I don't mean your first name, but in the name -- was the name Quick associated with it?

  • The company was registered in my wife's name, sir.

  • But it was a limited company?

  • Or a firm, a business name?

  • It was a business name. It was registered probably to our home address in my wife's name, but the cars were actually kept at a location away from home. Essentially it's a web business, so she ran it from her computer at the house.

    So I guess my point to Mr Fedorcio was that if I was a violent extremist seeking to find out something about Bob Quick, I wouldn't automatically think of doing a search for a Rolls Royce wedding car, so essentially by using the Mail to connect the two, the risk was massively -- well, it was introduced.

  • Yes, had your surname been Jones or Smith, then of course there would be almost no risk.

  • Correct, sir, yes. There are quite a lot of Quicks out there, actually, but it's a much rarer name, I would agree.

  • The trading name of the business was Aphrodite Wedding Services, which presumably if you Googled a wedding service that would come up, but was there anything on the web page which contained the name Quick, even if it was your wife's name, with her first name, of course?

  • To my knowledge, I can't remember whether there was or wasn't. If there was a name, it would have been my wife's name, and there wouldn't have been anything about me or my role on there.

  • There was a conversation you had with the journalist I think that day, it's paragraph 81 of your statement, Mr Quick, where the journalist asked you how you felt about the Mail on Sunday article. Was the journalist from the Mail Group?

  • No, sir. I think possible Associated Press.

  • Well, that would be -- if it's Associated, that is --

  • AP is different from Associated News.

  • Oh yes, pardon me.

  • In the heat of the moment you say you shared your initial thoughts about the Mail on Sunday being mobilised by the Conservative Party to undermine the Green investigation. You went on to say this was corrupt.

  • I did say that, that's correct, sir.

  • That was certainly what was passing through your mind at the time. You realised though that perhaps that was -- whether it was true or not -- an unwise thing to say?

  • Indeed. I said it in the heat of the moment, I guess on the back of what seemed like a series of interventions on the inquiry, but I quickly recognised that I wasn't in a position to prove that and I did drag the Met into an even greater controversy, and so the next day I agreed to withdraw it and apologise.

  • And this was after remarks by senior Conservatives stating that you were wrong and you should apologise and Sir Paul Stephenson asked you to withdraw your remarks and apologise and that's what you did?

  • There was a further article in the Mail on Sunday the following weekend, which is at tab 16 or annex O, page 01603. The allegation was made:

    "Top terror chief's car hire firm is operating without a licence."

  • And you say that's incorrect?

  • Well, it was operating without a licence, because, as I understand it, there is no licence, but I guess it's the inference that that creates for potential clients of my wife's business.

  • The clear suggestion is that they should have licences, isn't that right?

  • That's as I understand it, yes.

  • The article is, you would say, misleading in any event because it isn't your car hire business but your wife's?

  • The upshot was that your wife had no alternative but to wind down the business, and that's what happened?

  • To go back to the Green investigation --

  • Beforehand -- it wasn't just you that had been approached. You say in paragraph 84 that others with whom you were associated, friends and family, had also been approached by journalists.

  • Yes. We had at one point journalists in the village and my wife, I think, had reports of them approaching people in the street asking about the family.

  • What happened with the Green investigation is that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keir Starmer QC, took over investigation of the case and indicated that he felt there were issues which required further investigation.

  • That is correct, sir. I felt that given the controversy and the head of steam that had built up, I felt I wouldn't approach the DPP direct, I would ask one of my senior commanders to attend a case conference, and obviously if the DPP felt in some way the investigation was misconstrued or the original advice given by the CPS was incorrect, then he would doubtless say so and we would review whether the continuance of the inquiry was sensible, but my commander, my colleague, Mr Sawyer, came back from the case conference and indicated that it was felt that the inquiry should continue and it was in the public interest to see it through and satisfy ourselves that no sensitive or secret material had been leaked.

    I should say, of course, during this inquiry one of those who was originally implicated had made a public statement to the effect that they did from time to time receive secret material, so of course that was impacting on our thinking throughout the investigation.

  • About this time, or slightly earlier, there was an article in the Guardian -- this is tab 17, annex P, page 01606 -- where you apparently moved quickly to declare a truce with the Conservative Party after it became clear that David Cameron had you in his sights. This, I think, was immediately after you apologised; is that right?

  • Yes. This article -- this is the "I'm going to get him this time" article, am I looking at the right --

  • Yes, that's the one, sir, I have that. Indeed, that appeared just about the time I apologised or just after. I think it was repeated a few times in different places.

  • Yes. It's interesting that the author of this piece is linking this to David Davis taking offence at the briefing we heard you give evidence about in relation to the 42-day plan.

  • At the end:

    "The Tories emphatically deny having briefed the Mail on Sunday that Quick's wife ran a wedding chauffeur car business which sparked his outburst. But one well-placed Tory said ..."

    Well, we can see that.

  • I'm sorry, I don't fully understand it.

    "Bob Quick is behind this. I'm going to fucking get him this time."

    What was it being said you were behind?

  • I must say I don't know. I've no idea, sir.

  • It may relate to --

  • I would have thought the Green inquiry, I'm assuming, but I don't know.

  • Well, it would be fair to say you were behind the Green inquiry; you were responsible for it.

  • Is it a reference back to your outburst that the Conservative Party had got the Mail on Sunday to target you?

  • That doesn't make much sense either, does it?

  • As Lord Leveson says, it was patently obvious I was behind that and those comments were attributed to me, so I'm not entirely sure what that grievance is.

  • It all suggests a campaign from whoever to smear you in relation to the Green inquiry, to use a range of strategies. That's really a comment, rather than something that might warrant an answer.

    The next thing that happened, Mr Quick, was the unfortunate events which led to your resignation.

  • Which are fully explained in your statement. In a nutshell, what happened?

  • In a nutshell, during the course of a counter-terrorism operation, the day before the operation lots of frenetic activity, one of which was for me to go to Number 10 and brief the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister and other officials along with the Security Service colleagues. On that day I was handed a briefing note that was -- should have been prepared the night before. There were logistical problems that day, it wasn't prepared until the morning. It was handed to me in a paper folder, which was unusual, and I guess a consequence of the delay. I read it in the car. When I stepped out of the car, I realised I hadn't put the top sheet back in the paper. I literally saw it as I got out the car, turned it quickly, but there was a photographer somewhere, it would appear, with a pretty good lens. It appears I got snapped and some of that was visible.

    It didn't have hugely sensitive data on it, but it had some -- I think an operation name and some roles, but I don't think it revealed a lot of operational detail, but it did reveal that some kind of operation may be about to go ahead.

    I later found out, about an hour after I left Downing Street, that I'd been photographed and was very surprised to learn that whoever took it, or someone, had put it on the web, World Wide Web, so I realised the operation had been compromised. I was then focused on how to mitigate that problem, and a decision was taken to bring the arrests forward, which was achievable, and actually went quite smoothly, but it was obviously inconvenient and difficult.

    And then at the end of the day I sort of turned my attention to the consequences of that momentary lapse and what I ought to do about it.

  • The Shadow Home Secretary stated your position was untenable. You decided, after discussions with family and close friends, it was right and proper to offer your resignation, and then you say in paragraph 95:

    "The next day whilst my terms and conditions were outstanding, and before I had actually tendered my resignation, the Mayor of London announced the acceptance of my resignation on television."

  • So we understand the sequence of events, had you communicated the fact that you were intending to resign to anybody?

  • To conclude the evidential picture in relation to the Green investigation, Mr Yates succeeded you as head of ACSO, or as ACSO, I should say, but the Director of Public Prosecutions gave a report, which we have seen, stating that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of convicting either Green or Galley with any criminal offence. But he made it clear in paragraph 37 of his report that:

    "Unauthorised leaking of confidential information is not beyond the reach of criminal law and once the pattern of leaks was established in this case it was inevitable that a police investigation would follow. There's been a thorough investigation. Without it, I would not have been able to reach a conclusion on the particular facts of this case."

    So impliedly or expressly he's making no criticism of what you did, it's just his conclusion on the evidence which he had. Is that fair?

  • That's correct, sir, yes.

  • Then there's a Home Affairs Select Committee report that suggested something different, but didn't have the benefit of the DPP's views?

  • In the summer of 2009 -- this is paragraph 101 -- Sir Denis O'Connor was commissioned by the Home Secretary to produce a report on lessons learned, and his report made findings which were really predicated on Mr Johnston's findings. He didn't second guess them; is that right?

  • And so in the same way as you disagree with Mr Johnston's reviewed findings, you disagree with Sir Denis O'Connor's, as night follows day, really?

  • Essentially the Johnston review I feel was -- omitted far too much material that was relevant to the decision to arrest Damian Green, so I felt Mr O'Connor's or Sir Denis O'Connor's report seemed to rely heavily on that, but I guess most important of all in relation to my comment about Sir Denis' report, and Sir Denis is someone I know very well and have huge respect for, but I think there was a proposition in the report that the police have to try and anticipate the outcome of an investigation, and in effect should be prepared to stop it in appropriate cases, which I would agree with in less serious cases, but in serious cases I think it's a very dangerous proposition because in the end the police can't read people's minds, they can't see into the future, and I think the police have relied upon a system of jurisprudence which is built around the legal process and procedure and where thresholds are met thorough investigations follow, and I felt this was potentially a difficult proposition, and I notice my former colleague John Yates cited it in -- partly in his evidence as being something that led him to not investigate the phone hacking allegations.

    Well, my point -- my challenge around this, at the time, back in 2009, was that I think it's just too risky for the police. Police, in my experience over the last 32 years, have operated to a system, a set of procedures that are very well defined, and they can be unpopular and protracted but they are thorough, and in more serious cases I think it's probably better to investigate thoroughly rather than try and second guess the outcome of an investigation.

  • Could you help me, please, Mr Quick. It may be that I'll be able to find it all out by close study of every word of this report. Was Sir Denis reviewing this incident on the basis that Sir Ian Johnston's view was correct or was he also reviewing the underlying material which Sir Ian Johnston had reviewed so that he could come to his own conclusion? Do you understand the point I'm making?

  • Yes, sir. I think my recollection is in a conversation with Sir Denis he was appending --

  • He did append the report but made no judgment or comment on it, it was supporting material. But my belief is he was commissioned to report on lessons learned from the Home Office leaks investigation by the Metropolitan Police, so I think it was closer to your second proposition, sir. But he came to his own views on the work that he and his staff did in reviewing the inquiry.

  • My reading was closer to the first than the second, but maybe it doesn't matter hugely.

    There was evidence about this which you gave to the House of Commons committee on privilege.

  • There was a direct conflict between what you told that committee and what Mr Green told that committee, which it's probably not necessary for this Inquiry to consider because it's travelling outside the terms of reference.

    As regards more general matters and your personal contact with the media, paragraph 104 and 105, you didn't maintain personal contacts with journalists, is this right, so you didn't engage with them socially or semi socially?

  • No, I think in common with some other evidence you've heard, my approach was to keep relations formal and businesslike, transparent, diaried, presence of a press officer, and organised through the press office. Indeed, when I returned to the Met as Assistant Commissioner, I was asked to participate in a series of briefings with CRA journalists about counter-terrorism, and I was briefed to the effect there had been an established relationship between my predecessors and the CRA journalists, not all of them, but those that specialised in counter-terrorism reporting, and they would meet periodically as a group and invite ACSO to join them, sometimes over lunch, to talk about the very complex background to the current plethora of counter-terrorism cases that were running, and so I agreed to participate in that from time to time, and that was probably the extent of my contact with journalists at that time.

  • Paragraph 107, you recall that on at least two occasions you were invited to drinks at a wine bar local to Scotland Yard and you saw Stephenson, Yates and Fedorcio:

    "... socialising with people I know to be journalists, including Lucy Panton of the News of the World and Mike Sullivan of the Sun."

    On other occasions you recall seeing Yates in social situations with Stephen Wright.

    Can you help us, please, those social situations, anything about them you can remember?

  • Yes. This was early into my time back in the Metropolitan Police and I sensed some unease about this only because it crossed my mind that these journalists have homes to go to and families, I'm sure, and I found it surprising that there was this level of social engagement in local wine bars or pubs, I witnessed it occasionally, and it wasn't something I, and I think many of my other colleagues, would involve themselves in. I think it has got risks and it crossed my mind as to why are they there if there isn't something accruing from that type of relationship.

  • You're hinting at that, aren't you, a bit further on because you say you were aware that Wright was responsible for a large number of Daily Mail articles that were repeatedly critical of Blair during his tenure as Commissioner. Are you suggesting that Mr Wright was being briefed by Mr Yates?

  • I wouldn't suggest that, because I simply don't know. What I'm suggesting is it seemed unwise and it really struck me in the case of Mr Wright, who I was aware had been author of a whole range of articles that were highly critical of the Met, sometimes quite viciously so, and of its Commissioner, so that really surprised me.

    There could be all sorts of explanations for that, but it struck me that that was a -- had the perception of looking inappropriate.

  • You say:

    "I did not mix with journalists in this way."

    Why not?

  • Well, I think there is a recognition, I think, amongst most of my colleagues that journalists have a very difficult job, they're under huge pressure. The police have information that they would dearly like to access. Some of it of course they can, but some of it they can't, and you have to be guarded, and I think there's a psychological distance you need to have so that you're not compromised, or the perception created that you may be giving them more favourable treatment than they deserve.

  • Paragraph 123 of your statement you're going back to your time at Surrey, you state that your judgment was that Surrey Police personnel were vulnerable to approaches to bribe them by journalists from time to time. What evidence was there to support that judgment?

  • Well, Surrey had experienced a number of very high profile events and cases. There was the tragic case of the Deepcut Four, the soldiers who died at the Deepcut barracks. There was of course the Milly Dowler abduction and murder case and there were many others. It's a force very close to London, it attracts events and incidents that are widely reported, and of course I knew from my own experience in the Met in the counter corruption world of this risky interface between the police and journalists who are in a very commercial environment, a fiercely commercial environment, seeking scoops, exclusives and stories.

  • Then your conclusions, Mr Quick, paragraph 128. I think you've already addressed the point on the O'Connor report. To be clear, this is the O'Connor report which we've just been looking at, not the broader O'Connor report of December of last year, which we were looking at here on Monday and we'll be looking at next Monday. Can I ask you, please, about your comment on the report by Elizabeth Filkin, where you say:

    "I do not think this report has identified the unique role of the police in our democracy and the full potential for, or implications of, collusion or other malpractice."

    What are you getting at there?

  • Well, I think it was a very good piece of work and I think it picked up lots of important issues. I think from my perspective and perhaps some of the unique insights I was able to obtain in my earlier career, I think the police are in a unique position because they're an institution that can be called upon to investigate any other part of the establishment machinery, if you like, at any time, so in a sense they have to stand slightly apart, and that psychological distance between other institutions and the police.

    That doesn't mean to say you can't have completely cordial relations and high quality engagement with other professions and other institutions, but at the same time I think the police are that organisation who can sometimes be called upon to investigate, and therefore the need for transparency, the need for accountability, is very high, quite properly, and I wasn't entirely convinced some of those risks were identified and perhaps relevant to some of the issues that the Inquiry is looking into.

  • Had you remained in post, instead of telephoning Mr Yates on 9 July 2009, Sir Paul Stephenson would have telephoned you to conduct -- or at least to establish the facts. It's very difficult without using hindsight, but do you have any comment on what happened, trying to remove hindsight from the equation?

  • You're correct, sir, it is difficult, but my interpretation of those events were that the Guardian were challenging very strongly the first investigation and therefore I like to think I would have concerned myself with understanding in detail what the first investigation had and hadn't revealed, and whether there was any substance to these allegations. So it is very difficult to comment, because it can only be in hindsight, but I certainly had some concerns at the time that the inquiry was ruled out at such an early stage.

  • Thank you very much, Mr Quick. There may be some more questions.

  • When you say "at the time", do you mean in July 2009?

  • Reading the newspapers, obviously, because that's what you were doing.

  • Thank you very much, Mr Quick. Thank you.

  • Sir, there is one question and I ask your permission to ask Mr Quick a question.

  • The meeting on 1 December 2008 at which, according to Mr Quick, Sir Paul Stephenson indicated he was planning to resign.

  • Just one matter, Mr Quick. You recall what you've said about that. Would it not be more accurate to say that Sir Paul Stephenson indicated to you in that conversation not that he was going to resign but that he was not intending to renew his contract the following April?

  • No, that's absolutely not the case.

  • And that he had a piece of paper upon which he'd written out what he was going to say about that?

  • He told me he had written his resignation out, and I took it at face value to mean he'd written his resignation out, not at some future date but there and then.

  • So if I were to say to you that all that paper said was that he might not renew his contract the following April, you would say that was inconsistent with what he'd said?

  • I would say that, yes.

  • Thank you, sir. We'll produce that piece of paper.

  • Very good. But just reflect on that for a moment, Mr Quick, because there may not be an enormous difference, because, as I understand it, at that stage had the appointment to the new Commissioner been made?

  • It had not at that stage, sir, no.

  • So if he was indicating that he wasn't going to renew in three months' time, that really was meaning he was dropping out of the whole thing, because not renewing means I'm not applying for the job of Commissioner?

  • I just wonder whether actually between the two of you there is not a possibility that there are slightly wires crossed.

  • It's quite possible. I haven't had a protracted conversation about it with Sir Paul, so my understanding was he had written a document out -- I think I was led to believe he was about to resign, and we had a conversation about him not resigning, because he hadn't done anything wrong and neither had I. If I misconstrued what he was saying, then so be it, but that's my recollection, sir.

  • Right, very good. Thank you very much indeed, Mr Quick.

  • Mr Garnham, of course produce it. I'm not sure it takes me very far.

  • Sir, you'll understand why (overspeaking).

  • I understand, but I wouldn't want anybody to think that I was going to be focusing upon it.

  • I can't imagine you'll be hugely exercised by it, sir.

  • Thank you very much.

    Right.

  • Sir, may we have our short break?

  • (A short break)

  • Sir, the next witness is Mr Tim Godwin, please.