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

  • MS JACQUELINE ELIZABETH HAMES (sworn).

  • Could you please state your full name to the Inquiry?

  • Jacqueline Elizabeth Hames.

  • Can you confirm that you provided a witness statement to the Inquiry and a number of exhibits thereto?

  • And that the contents of your statement are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?

  • We're going to just touch briefly first on who you are. If you look at paragraph 2 of your statement, that's summarised there. Perhaps I can summarise it in this way: you are a former Metropolitan Police officer and Crimewatch presenter. You joined the MPS in 1977 and became a detective constable and you served until January 2008, when you took early retirement.

  • You're best known, you say in your statement --

  • Very early, sir, thank you. I joined at five.

  • You're best known, you tell us, for your role on BBC Crimewatch between 1990 and 2006, and you explain that as a result of these roles, you have first-hand experience of the way in which the press and the police interact, gained from working on both sides.

  • Can I just check one thing? You explain that you took very early retirement in January 2008. Does that mean that your experience, as detailed in your statement, covers the period from 1977 to 2008, or do you have continued knowledge of the interaction between the press and the police since you took retirement?

  • I certainly continued to work in the media and also for the police service. I'm involved in media training for senior detectives at the Metropolitan Police crime academy, so I've continued my connections in that way.

  • We'll come on perhaps to discuss later the training that you provide. Concentrating for the moment on paragraph 2, you set out in a little detail the first-hand experience that you have had. If I can summarise it in this way: you say that you worked as a detective specialising in major crime enquiries, such as murder, rape, serial sex offences and so on, and you also held various roles within incident rooms. You explain that in 1987 you worked on the implementation team for the country's first Crimestoppers project based at New Scotland Yard.

  • You explain that in 1990, you became a regular presenter on Crimewatch, making appeals to the public live on BBC1 every month to help solve crime on behalf of the UK police service. You explain that this in particular meant that you saw the media from the inside.

  • You explain that at this time you received some personal press attention, and you explain at the end of that paragraph that it was lonely at times as there was no one else to whom you could relate in the same position. Is there anything you'd like to add about that particular aspect?

  • Yes. I think it was very much a baptism of fire, as a detective constable. Other than my experience with Crimestoppers, I had very little interaction with the press other than in the general course of perhaps working on a major enquiry, but it wasn't my role to speak to the press or brief them in any way. So I had no real experience, at that stage, of talking to journalists or any sort of media interaction.

    So it was very much -- I say a lamb to the slaughter. It's probably slightly overstating it, but certainly it was a baptism of fire when I first started working at Crimewatch and having journalists interested in my private life as well as some of the cases I was working on, and as a result of publicising the programme as well. The majority of it was absolutely fine, but it is an area which, as a complete novice, it is fraught with danger, particularly representing the police service. I was very sensitive that I didn't overstep the mark or say anything to perhaps embarrass the police in any way or the programme, and so I was -- I did feel that I walked a very thin tightrope on occasions.

  • Moving through the -- it's paragraph 2 still, turning back to subparagraph 4. You explain other areas where you have worked. You explain that you worked during your career break as a part-time press relations officers. You explain that since leaving the police, you have pursued your interest in women's safety, you have written a book on personal safety, you've undertaken security consultancy and you've also continued working in the media on news and factual programmes.

  • Yes, that's right. Since leaving the police service, I was very interested in women's safety issues and I've undertaken to try and use my experiences as a police officer and on Crimewatch to heighten the issues around that, in general safety terms but also in the area particularly of stalking and harassment.

  • In subparagraph(6), you explain that you were asked to write and deliver regular presentations to the advanced CID course at the Metropolitan Police Crime Academy.

    Then finally, another facet of your experience, regrettably, is that you've also had personal experience of being placed under surveillance by News of the World. You explain this to be a deeply unpleasant experience which you believe arose from inappropriate relationships between crime suspects and that newspaper, and we will come back to that in more detail if we can.

    I'm going to turn first to the issue of increased openness and training, which starts at paragraph 3 onwards of your statement. What you do is you firstly describe how the relationship between the press and the police has changed since the 1970s when you first joined the Metropolitan Police Service, and you go on to explain -- you start by explaining at paragraph 3 what it was like when you joined in the 1970s. You simply say it's changed now beyond all recognition.

    When you're describing here the way that the interaction was in the 1970s, are you speaking from personal experience or have you collated your thoughts in discussion with others?

  • I think it's mainly from my own personal experience. I joined the police service in 1977, as I've said, and I went to work at Clapham police station in south London, and I can talk from the perspective of what it was like as a young police officer in those days, particularly as a woman and one of the few at the time.

    It was a particularly difficult era. We, in 1981, had the riots in Brixton, the first sort of major disturbances on the streets of south London, and as a result there was a report by Lord Scarman criticising the police and the way that they policed, and I think there was a -- it was a whole era, having not long come after the Times enquiry into corruption in police -- there was a whole era where I think the force had a sense of being slightly in a bunker and being very protective and defensive of their actions, and it was -- perhaps the first -- also an era of the first steps of the media to sort of perhaps get inside the police to find out what's going on, what was causing these problems.

    I think I've highlighted several aspects. The World in Action series was constantly exposing wrongdoing and sort of doing stings on various departments within the police service. The News of the World, bless them, were doing some fantastic investigative work on exposing problems within the police service, and I think for me personally, the series -- the TV series that was produced called Police, which followed Thames Valley police officers in the way they conducted enquiries, particularly the one on rape, really exposed a lot of problems in how that crime was investigated. Whilst it was not pleasant to see the work of genuinely good, well-meaning and hard-working officers being put to scrutiny in that way, a huge amount of good came out of that, and I think it was a real wake-up call and a feeling that the police were under scrutiny like they'd never been before, and I think that that was actually a real force for good and change in the way that police interacted with the media, and I think Sir Peter Imbert was the Commissioner at the time in Thames Valley when that Police series was commissioned and he took over in the Met and took the initial steps into trying to be more open with the media after that.

  • You tell us in paragraph 3 that essentially, at that time -- this is the 70s and 80s -- all media enquiries were then dealt with by what was called the Press Bureau and only officers at the most senior level were authorised to speak to the media?

  • Yeah, you just didn't do it. In my little station in south London, we had a south London press used to turn up every week and they would be supplied with the nature and type of crimes that had been committed during the week, but the idea that individual officers would supply information to journalists just wasn't occurred to. I mean, I worked -- I remember arresting three little burglars at a very high profile rock star's house and he and his wife lost a huge amount of property which we managed to restore and nothing was in the media until there was a conviction and it was all done and dusted. We wouldn't dream of picking up the phone or popping down to the pub and telling the local press about it. It just wasn't done.

    Obviously, I'm only talking from my own experience, but that's the way I remember it then.

  • You tell us at paragraph 5 that this all changed when Sir John Stevens became Commissioner in 2000 and introduced the open-door policy by which officers are positively encouraged and sometimes, you say, even ordered to allow the media access to operations and to explain aspects of their work.

    You go on to tell us that in the early days this created something of a free-for-all for the press, which jumped at the opportunity to have access to newsworthy and exciting incidents, and then you tell us a bit about one particular incident that you recall. This is the robbery squad covering an armed raid on a warehouse at Heathrow airport.

    Can we turn to page 1 of your exhibit, which has a front page from the Daily Mirror. Perhaps you can tell us a bit about this particular front page and how it came about.

  • Yes. This was going back to 2006. I was actually working on an intelligence unit, working in the area of organised crime in and around Heathrow airport, and we'd put together an operation or intelligence that there was going to be a raid on a secure establishment in the cargo area of Heathrow, and the Flying Squad were actually going to cover this potential raid to see if they could apprehend the people doing the raiding, if I can put it like that.

    Quite late on in the day, it was decided that Jeff Edwards from the Daily Mirror would be attending with the Flying Squad with a photographer to cover that raid in the morning --

  • Can I just ask you to pause there. How was that decided?

  • From my understanding, and that's all -- obviously, I wasn't privy to any conversation about it. My understanding was that he had a close relationship to the person in charge, at that time, of the Flying Squad, and he'd been invited along as a personal invitation to come and witness this raid.

    As a result, obviously the raid, as you can see from the picture, was successful in that -- as much as they detained certain suspects at a gold bullion secure establishment. This photograph was taken and an article was written which appeared almost immediately afterwards.

  • Can you confirm whether this photograph is of a person who was arrested on that occasion?

  • It's not set up in any way?

  • No, that's a genuine photograph, yes.

  • You go on to say that you consider this tag-along to be inappropriate and also lends an almost comic book quality to serious criminal behaviour. Why is it inappropriate? Do you mean inappropriate in all cases or inappropriate in this case?

  • I think that certainly on this occasion, whilst it's sometimes irresistible to try and to get people to like what you do and to congratulate you when you have success -- and we all need a pat on the back sometimes when things go well, and I'm the first one to say that unfortunately the police don't always get credit for a huge amount of good work that goes on and successful operations -- I think it has to be appropriate, and I didn't feel that -- and many of my colleagues, I have to say, felt the same way. They felt that photographing a man who had just been arrested and putting it on the front page of a paper was inappropriate. He hadn't been charged but he -- he was in the process of going into the criminal justice process, of being spoken to about his involvement, and we all live by the rule that people are innocent until they're proven guilty and this, by any stretch of the imagination, puts him firmly in the latter category. He was -- yes, he was there, but I've always believed in fairness and I think people should have an opportunity to give their side of the story before judgment is passed, and judgment by a national newspaper is just not appropriate.

  • Is your view, therefore, that tag-alongs like this, in general terms, are inappropriate or was it the context of this particular story that concerned you?

  • I think that more thought should have gone into it. I think it's not necessarily inappropriate that the press are invited along on these sorts of events, and I think the workings of the police should be open and transparent, within reason, but the effect of this was in fact that many other newspaper outlets were -- noses were out of joint, put it like that, that Jeff Edwards had been given this special access. They didn't cover the story particularly well, if at all, so it didn't actually receive the widespread publicity that perhaps it could have done if they'd perhaps, I don't know, selected one or two people who could have covered it on behalf of a group, for instance, and given the photographs and copy to a group to use in their publications and in their broadcasts. I think that would have been a fairer, more transparent way of covering the incident, and I think it leaves the police service open to criticism of favouritism and unfortunately questions about what happened and why that particular journalist was invited and nobody else was.

  • In your experience, was there favouritism for certain newspapers or certain journalists?

  • I think it -- and again, I can only talk from my experience, but it was well not only that certain police officers had a predilection for certain journalists and publications. It was pretty much about press rather than broadcast journalism and the Crime Reporters Association was very much a select club which had a select group of police officers that it mixed with.

  • You discuss from paragraph 8 onwards the most recent version of the open-door policy in the MPS. You say it's dated June 2011. If we look at the front page of it -- it's page 2 onwards of your exhibits, just after the headline we've been looking at. You should find it there. Can we agree that at the bottom of that page it suggests that in fact the policy was created in June 2008 and reviewed in June 2011?

  • Yes, that's actually a mistake. We've just got a new copy of it in 2011, but in fact, yes, it was created this 2008.

  • Instead of going through the policy, if we just look at the bits that you've summarised at paragraph 8 of your statement, we can see that this is a policy reflecting the Met's continuing commitment to be open and it makes a number of points. The ones that you've set out on page 5 are that they seek to gain maximum positive media coverage:

    "It's the Met's policy to be open and honest in dealing with media, and we will tell the media things which are in the public interest to know about to show the public the way in which the police go about their work."

    It then sets out, you say, the importance for the appropriate limits for the release of information.

    That's the general policy. Do you have any quarrel with what it says?

  • Actually, I totally support it. I think the police service does need to be much more open and honest in its dealings and transparent in its dealings. I just think that they need to accord the general police staff the opportunity to understand and to be trained in it, and to be confident and on the front foot when they're dealing with the media, because there's a huge number of officers who aren't, and if you're not confident, if you are nervous and you are worried about saying something wrong, the nature of that discourse is going to be skewed.

  • We'll come back to whether people know about the relevant policies and whether anything can be done about that, but just before we move on to that, the second policy that you refer us to is the more detailed guidance in a document entitled "MPS media relations standard operation procedure". It's just after the one we've just been looking at, also in your exhibits, page 8 internally.

    You tell us about it and then you say further in your statement you consider this policy to be wide-ranging and helpful. Before we discuss how widely publicised it is, is there anything at all that you would add to this document or anything that you would criticise in this document?

  • I think in general principle I think the document is quite wide-ranging. I think it's a bit too superficial and doesn't go into enough detail. Unfortunately I feel that the word "victim" doesn't appear at all, which I think is a huge hole. There's no policy about the fact that the stories that those police officers will be talking about involve victims of crime, and it's their stories, not the police officers' stories that they're telling, and I think that's a huge omission from that document.

    I think it also lacks in more specific guidance in terms of what constitutes a fact or a piece of information. I think the officers could do with a lot more guidance and an opportunity to challenge what it means so that they are more confident in taking it on.

  • You explain to us -- move along to paragraph 10 of your statement -- that very few officers attending your courses have even heard of this specific media relations policy, let alone read it. Do you hand it out as a matter of course?

  • No, I don't hand it out. I do indicate where it's available on the police intranet, but generally, by the time they come to me, they're detective inspector level, and it is surprising the number that probably haven't read it or haven't found the need to read it or don't know of its existence.

  • I'm going to ask you about training, but before we do, just tell us in a nutshell -- tell us the training input that you provide.

  • Yeah, I -- I'll give you a bit of a background to it. In 2006, I was approached by the detective training school, the crime academy, who were writing a course for newly promoted detective inspectors. There hadn't been one in existence prior to then. They were endeavouring to get a media input. The directorate of public affairs hadn't been able to supply anybody or any information, and they were really struggling to provide something which would assist officers with the media, so he approached me and said, "Could you come up with something which would cover certain areas to provide a media input on this course?" So I wrote a presentation and started delivering it.

  • How many officers would you see or train, therefore, during the course of, say, a year?

  • The number of courses varies. It can be as little as three, sometimes five, and probably between 15 and 18 detective inspectors on each one.

  • You've given us in your statement some of their views. You tell us, for example, that they're not always familiar with the relevant media relations policies. We'll come on to discuss some of what they say, but you tell us, for example, that they don't feel entirely confident dealing with the media. How confident are you that the views that they express to you are representative?

  • I think over -- what are we talking about? -- six years that I've been delivering this, I've always tried to create an atmosphere where -- I'm sorry, is there something I could ...?

  • I've always tried to create an atmosphere where they can talk open and frankly. As an ex-detective myself, I've always tried to encourage them to exchange frankly their views a honestly as possible and to learn from each other's experiences, and within that environment, and I've always believed that by the time we finish our session, is that everybody has been given the opportunity and they do, quite frankly, to be honest, express and quite robustly express those views, and I'm pretty sure that they're being very honest about it.

  • I don't think we need to go into detail about all the views that they express. They're set out in your statement. But can I just touch on one thing? At the end of your statement, you suggest that enhanced training in media and communications skills for officers at all levels of the police service is something that you would recommend. In a nutshell, what would that involve and how would it help?

  • Since 2006, when I started giving this input, there was such a positive feedback, not necessarily because I was doing it but because they had at last had an opportunity to get some media training and to discuss the issues. It became very apparent from their feedback and comments that they felt they could have -- should have had something sooner than this.

    There is now an hour, I think, on the junior detective trainees course for detective constables. I think there's an hour and a half for detective sergeants on their newly-promoted course, but I feel that it really needs to be a much more intrinsic part, rather than an isolated hour of their training, because it's something which is -- flies through the hole of their training. It impacts on so many other things that they do these days, particularly with new media and the access for the public to instantly send off messages and video officers on their phones while they're undertaking their duties. I think it's important for their skillset to be able to handle that and to understand the issues that that raises, and to be able to be on the front foot when they're dealing with it and not to be scared of it, as so many of them are.

  • Let me ask you a number of small questions, again, on this aspect of your statement.

    Paragraph 21, please, on off-the-record briefings. You say that off the record briefings to established and well-known journalists are an effective way of managing the process and can help to build trust on both sides.

    Again, a general question on that: I understand what you say but isn't there an argument that off-the-record briefings are always going to be open to abuse in the wrong circumstances?

  • I think we've -- and certainly in the police service, we have -- always suffered from a reaction to the bad behaviour of a few impacting on the normal daily process of the many. To constantly bring up and write new rules and regulations for the one or two that abuse their position I feel is perhaps too detrimental to the workings of the whole force in particular, you know, with off-the-record briefings which affect criminal investigations which are complex, and the damage that can be done by misinformation being written is huge.

    So I think that in this case, the benefits outweigh the problems, and I think that if you do -- you can have a relationship with journalists and retain your professional integrity, and there's no reason why if you're open and honest about that discourse, it shouldn't be of benefit to everybody.

  • I suppose it depends what's going on, doesn't it?

  • "Police sources say that ..." potentially give rise to real problems, don't they?

  • So is your training course to provide officers with the ability to feel confident in what they say to the press or does it also touch upon the risks of inappropriate contact and the development of relationships which might ultimately cause problems for the police? You've already mentioned one: the fact that somebody was allowed to come on this very substantial operation, not merely potentially damaging or influencing the case against him but also demeaning or undermining the gravity of the investigation and finally creating all sorts of problems with every other media outlet. I mean, there don't seem to be many wins there.

  • So the real issue is not how you train police officers to be able to answer the question or to be able to confront the giving of evidence or material to the press and to calibrate it in their minds before doing so, but the way in which the press is not necessarily always going to operate in a way that assists the police.

  • That's extremely true, and the way I approach it -- I mean, I may be right or wrong and I'm sure there are people who have better ideas than I do, but the way I approach it is by way of debate, in posing the question: is it possible to have a perfectly normal professional relationship with a journalist and retain your professional integrity? And that provokes a really interesting debate which allows officers to question perhaps what they've done in the past and also how they will approach their relationships with journalists in the future.

  • But don't you need some rules in that regard?

  • Of course you do. Absolutely you do, and I think you can focus in on rules, but as you can see from the rules that are currently in place, they are open to interpretation, and I think there's a lot to be learnt from experience, and what happens in the time that I have with officers is that I don't admit to having all the answers because there are so many grey areas in criminal investigations with fast-moving, changing operations, where you may believe -- somebody -- absolutely in your mind that somebody's responsible at 9 o'clock in the morning, but by midday, new information has come in.

    So you can't necessarily set down absolute rules as to how you manage that information, but you can give people the opportunity to debate: how would I deal with that? What would I say? What would I do? Is that right?

  • But you can set down some rules, can't you?

  • We've had many examples, I'm sure you'll appreciate, of potentially very, very damaging press releases, police suspicions reported, which then dramatically affect the nature of the investigation. You give one later on in your statement about the Soham murders. I've heard in relation to the Bristol murder too. This shouldn't be a matter of complexity. It seems to me that here there can be some quite bright lines, or do you think I'm being --

  • No, I think you're absolutely right. There clearly are -- you know, you just don't make judgments about suspects who have come into the enquiry for whatever reason -- or persons of interest, perhaps, is a better phrase to use. The word "suspect" holds far more weightier connotations. But people of interest come into enquiry for all sorts of reasons before they get to the stage of becoming suspects, and I think when you're asking a police officer to be open and honest about what's going on in an investigation and who's being investigated, there should be clear demarcation lines that you don't discuss people who have come into the enquiry on that basis because you don't know enough to make a judgment as to what their involvement is.

    And that's very clear, but it's where you get further down the line and you're closer, perhaps, to gathering sufficient evidence to take it to the next stage that officers find it difficult to say, "Well, am I now under an obligation, because I have seen this witness statement or that piece of identification or that piece of forensic evidence -- am I now in a position where I do have to tell the media?"

  • That's a problem as well, because you'll presumably have somebody who's been arrested and therefore proceedings are active for contempt of court purposes. That sort of black letter stuff ought all to be available.

  • Yes, but there is a huge demand by the media and they quite often will find out things for themselves that the police officers haven't given to them, and will be following and investigating the case almost in parallel, and that can be very tricky, and they will report on matters that they found out about which haven't come from an investigation.

  • And that's very difficult for an officer to deal with.

  • I'm sure. I've had the experience of it. Yes.

  • Finally on paragraph 21, you say that the power --

  • In recent years, you say, the power wielded by the Crime Reporters Association has given the impression of a closed club of people given special treatment by the police. Can you assist us with in your view what's the power wielded by the Crime Reporters Association? What is that?

  • Again, it's sort of a cultural thing, almost, within the police service, and certainly within a high level of investigators, you know, who are at the top of the major criminal investigation sections -- you know, specialist crime directorate and anti-terrorist function and things like that -- who have spent many years developing their skills and contacts as police officers and establish relationships with journalists over many, many years, sometimes even close friendships, and if a new person coming into that -- it's not an easy place for them to get established because it becomes, by human nature, a gentlemen's drinking club and that's what it was for many years. I don't know if that's the case now, because I'm detached from it, but certainly for many, many years, it was known as a sort of -- a very close-knit group of people who would have access to information that some police officers don't have.

  • Okay. Can we turn to paragraph 24, please. This is a recommendation that you make or something that you say works well. You say:

    "The press/police relationship works well during high-profile cases where an experienced officer is essentially detailed to do nothing but handle media enquiries."

    You give us two examples, really, where you think this has worked or hasn't worked so well. The first is the experience of the Soham murders and you explain here, I'm paraphrasing, that for a number of weeks there was no such person appointed to handle media enquiries --

  • I think it was the first ten days, yeah.

  • The first ten days, and you catalogue what went wrong as a result, and then on day ten, Mr Tapp was brought in by the police and took control of the media strategy and at that point everything went rather better, if I can put it in that way. So you give us that example and an example of a murder in Feltham, which I'll come back to.

    In what circumstances do you think that someone should be appointed exclusively to handle media enquiries in this way? In every high-profile case? In every murder case? Where would you draw that line?

  • Not in every murder case by any means. There are many that go on which receive no press interest whatever, there's no doubt about that, and you're actually knocking on the door of broadcasters and print journalists and asking them to help solve cases and to publicise them.

    So certainly not in every case, but clearly some are much more in the public's -- "public interest" is an expression in this environment that probably means weightier things, but, you know, the public are really passionate and interested about, particularly when it involves missing children, where there's potentially the beginning or a series of offences, which can raise the fear of crime in a particular area to very high levels, and sadly to say, when the certain type of victim is involved.

    I know that Lord Blair brought up the subject some years ago of newspapers in particular only -- and perhaps broadcast journalism -- not paying attention to certain murders because the type of victim wasn't one which the public would have necessarily sympathy with, and therefore the sort of demarcation lines between what they covered and what they didn't cover was influenced by their interest in the victim. But some murders obviously create a lot of interest in the press, in the public, and you can be flooded with calls, and being in an incident room under an avalanche of calls after an appeal by the public is -- you can be swamped with messages and it can take a lot of dealing and handling with.

  • Can I paraphrase what you say in your statement like this: appointing someone like this to deal exclusively with media questions or issues has the dual application of being able to cope with the deluge of interest, but it also, you say at paragraph 24, means that someone dedicated can keep everyone -- by that, I think you mean the press -- interested during times when nothing much is happening. So, for example, by providing background information about the victims, photographs, videos, interviews with the family and so on.

    I'm interested in this because, of course, in the evidence that this Inquiry has heard, victims and journalists themselves have said that when there wasn't much going on, it was really necessary to fill a gap. In your view, would a dedicated and experienced officer dealing with media enquiries be able to fill that gap in such a high-profile case?

  • They'll generally know what can be disclosed without a problem and to help -- use the expression "feed the beast", if you like. Because if there is a gap, they will want to fill it with something. We live in a world of 24-hour news coverage, of the Internet, and the demands of newspapers to provide copy on something which is of such interest to the public. They want to know what's going on and police aren't always going to be able to tell them, so giving them background information, perhaps using the opportunity -- and it is an opportunity -- to pursue lines of appeal which the public can help with -- because ultimately this is about a conversation between the police and the public. It's not about the police and the journalists. They're just a conduit for the police to be able to provide information and seek the help of the public, and it's very easy to get so messed up with the journalists in the middle that you forget why you're talking in the first place.

  • I'm going to turn on now, please, to your personal experience of media surveillance. It's paragraph 29 onwards of your statement.

  • Just before you do, there's one question. You give the example of the Feltham experience in paragraph 28 and your last sentence of that paragraph says this:

    "Whilst the PCC code is designed to prevent certain behaviour, such as intrusion into grief or shock, in my experience, if there is good enough story, the press will tend to disregard the code."

    I'm not going to go into details or ask for specific examples, but can you give me some idea of how many times that's happened?

  • I think certainly -- my experience of dealing with major crime, which tends to sort of involve that sort of activity, when you have a victim particularly who is of interest, or they think is of interest to their readers, or even a suspect, as we'll hear later, the idea that to get that person's reaction, to get inside information into their lives, tends to give them free reign to sort of get that information, whether it's part of the PCC code or not.

    Certainly I give that example because it took the decision out of the hands of the police in trying to inform the family about certain aspects of the case which were going to be particularly distressing and they were forced to actually have to divulge them before the family were ready to listen.

  • I understand that. What I was trying to ask about was: did this happen once? Once a year? Or was it a regular sort of occurrence in your experience?

  • Mainly on sort of the more emotive high-profile cases I think it becomes more of a free for all. I think in lesser cases or perhaps in terms of size of the enquiry, it tends not to happen so much.

  • I understand, but we are talking about a number of such cases each year?

  • I couldn't make that judgment now, because I've been away for a few years now, so it be would unfair of me to make that judgement, sir.

  • I wondered if you'd picked it up also through your experience with Crimewatch.

  • Yes, certainly with Crimewatch. Don't get me wrong; I think a lot of families of victims and victims themselves of serious crimes like to be involved in publicising their cases. It gives them a feeling that they are doing something positive to solve their own cases, and I would never dissuade anyone if they wanted to talk to the media and talk about what happened to them. That's their decision, and certainly Crimewatch does that in a very managed and effective way in helping solve the case. It's not for me to make a judgment of any victim or family member who wants to talk to the press. But if they don't, then they should have the opportunity to stay silent.

  • Personal experience of surveillance. This is paragraph 30 onwards of your witness statement.

    I'm going to paraphrase what you say about the murder of Daniel Morgan, if I can. I think it's sufficient for us to note that in 1987, a man called Daniel Morgan was murdered and found dead in the carpark of a pub in Sydenham, south London. You then tell us a bit about the initial murder investigation, and it's safe to say that various things happened, but no one was charged --

  • -- with his murder, such that in 2002, many years later, the police decided to issue a fresh appeal for information in connection with his murder.

    If you turn to paragraph 34 of your statement onwards, this is where you deal with this. You explain that your then husband, David Cook, who was then a detective chief superintendent, was tasked with being the public face of the Inquiry by appearing on Crimewatch. He duly made the appeal in June 2002 and you say that after the appeal was transmitted, the police received intelligence that one of the suspects had been discussing your husband's involvement in the enquiry and intended to make life difficult for him.

    You explain that at this time, a police panic alarm was installed in your house, along with additional security, and you were placed under the umbrella of the witness protection unit. Again, paraphrasing, you also say, paragraph 35, that during this same period an email was received at the Crimewatch production office suggesting that you were having an affair with a senior police detective. I make it clear that was completely untrue, but it obviously caused you some concern, you say, because someone was trying to stir up trouble and damage your reputation.

    Just going through the course of events chronologically, you explain at paragraphs 36 and 37 that two vans were spotted outside your home. It looked as if the vans were following your husband, and it became clear to you that your husband was being placed under surveillance.

    I'm trying to paraphrase quite a long story, but you essentially find out, paragraph 37 -- the police make enquiries and it becomes clear that the vehicles were leased to News International and that you and your husband had been placed under surveillance by News International.

    Paragraph 38, you explain that this series of incidents caused you great anxiety. You set out there some of the steps that you had to take and how you felt about being placed under surveillance at this time.

    Before we turn back to the impact on you, please, I just want to complete the story. You tell us at paragraph 39 that Dick Fedorcio, who was the head of the MPS directorate of public affairs at the time, spoke to Rebekah Brooks, who was then the editor of the News of the World -- so prima facie the person responsible for placing you and your husband under surveillance -- and as I understand it, she didn't deny that you had been placed update the surveillance but she said that the explanation was that you and your husband were under surveillance because they were investigating suspicions that you were having an affair with each other.

  • There's two questions. In your view, could that possibly have been the reason why News of the World placed you and your husband under surveillance?

  • Having been a police officer for 30 years, I'm always willing to try and see the other side of things, and to be fair. But scratching my head and being as kind as I possibly can, I cannot think of one reason why that would be in any way, shape or form a valid reason for putting us under surveillance. It just doesn't add up and is absolutely pathetic, to be honest.

  • Can you tell us a bit more why you say that?

  • Well, we'd been together for 11 years. He was a detective chief superintendent in the Metropolitan Police, who had investigated quite a number of high-profile murders himself. We were well-known as a couple within the police service. We'd appeared -- I'd done some publicity, I think it was a year or so before, where I'd been in Hello! magazine talking about Crimewatch and various other things, and we'd appeared together. There was a picture of us with the family. It wouldn't have taken much to have completely refuted that allegation, if that's what had happened, and it obviously wasn't.

  • In your view, what was the reason for the surveillance?

  • Well, David took on this initially public face of the enquiry in order to make this appeal. Up until that moment, not one word of this -- one event had happened that would support that. He made that appeal on Crimewatch, and I was actually on the same programme, and the following day we were informed that officers investigating the murder of Daniel Morgan had received intelligence that he would become the subject of their interest in terms of trying to discredit him in some way in order to derail that investigation.

    The fact that within a few days we were being put under surveillance -- our mail was being tampered with. A phone call was being put into a previous place of work for David at Surrey Police, trying to get financial information. There were various things that happened, and you can't -- I think any reasonable person would find it very difficult not to put them together and feel that there was in some way -- there was some collusion between people at the News of the World and the people who were suspected of committing the murder of Daniel Morgan. I can't put it any clearer than that.

  • Have you ever got to the bottom of why you were placed under surveillance or been provided with any evidence which would indicate to you the reason why you were placed under surveillance?

  • No. As you can imagine, various thoughts went through my head as to what we could do about it, but we were serving police officers and it was important that -- and perhaps more important that the murder enquiry was allowed to continue without any interference. I know that David made -- or approached Dick Fedorcio to try and figure out a reason why, and that's when the initial response came back from Rebekah Wade or Rebekah Brooks, as she is now, that this line about the affair.

    Unfortunately, nothing else was heard after that. It went very quiet from that angle. He, to put it mildly, was not happy that we were being placed in that position and that our sense of personal safety and security had been undermined in such a large way, and continued to make noises and to try and see if somebody could get to the bottom of this. He really forced it and finally a meeting was agreed at the Yard, as far as I'm aware, between Dick Fedorcio -- I think commander Andy Baker was there, who was David's immediate boss, and Rebekah Wade, in order to try and elicit what on earth was going on and what she was doing about it. I understand that she just continued along the line that they were investigating the potential that we were having some sort of an affair, and nothing else was heard.

  • My second question on this was whether you felt able to tell us about the impact of this period on you and your family.

  • This is obviously a very difficult area because -- I mean, as a police officer you learn to compartmentalise. You put your private and your public and your business life into two different places. You -- excuse me.

  • Would you rather I didn't ask you about this?

  • Just stop. Just pause a moment.

  • You've described this in your statement. It was clearly extremely distressing and even now to think about it, I can see it. So I don't want you to talk about it any more. You are not the first person who has given evidence, speaking about this, who has reacted in this way.

  • I do apologise. I'm sorry.

  • You mustn't. That's what I'm saying to you. There's nothing to apologise for at all. You were concerned about the lack of investigation into all this by the police, and that's another matter. I am interested to know what the impact of knowing about what was in the Mulcaire notebooks has had on you, but again you've set it out in your statement, and I'm content to leave it at that, unless there's something you want to develop or talk about. But the purpose of this Inquiry is not to aggravate the distress that you've previously suffered. It really isn't.

  • I think -- and I'm grateful for your kind thoughts. It is very difficult, because in some ways, by coming here, you stick your head above the parapet because you're angry and distressed about what has happened, and the impact on us, I think, is important because I think it's very easy to compartmentalise people, inasmuch as celebrities have clearly suffered in this whole process, as have many others, and I think sometimes it's easier to dismiss certain people because they should be able to put up with it. But I don't think anybody, from any walk of life, should have to put up with it, which is why I've come here today and stuck my head above the parapet.

    So it's important to me to come here and do that to show that the impact of something like that, which can be easily dismissed, because people -- you know, I would hate to think of any other person in the future having to go through what we've had ten years of.

  • I understand, and I ought to have said -- because you started on the professional training material, I didn't say what I've said to all those who came during the first part of this Inquiry, that I am extremely conscious that matters which you'd prefer to move on from and are private and personal to you are not matters which you should be asked to talk about publicly, and therefore I've been very conscious of the enormous effort that not just you, but everybody else who's been in your position, has made expose the reality and the impact on their lives.

    So you don't need to be concerned about it at all. I really do understand, and I'm absolutely content to take your statement for what it says. You've obviously put a lot of work into it, and I'm grateful. It is important, for reasons which I'm sure you understand.

  • Certainly, sir, and I'm more than happy to discuss my findings in response to the Mulcaire notes.

  • Let's deal with that. Right.

  • Yes. The Glenn Mulcaire notebooks. You explain at paragraph 41 onwards that in May 2011, police officers from Operation Weeting contacted you and conformed you that your details had been found in Glenn Mulcaire's notebooks. You explain that you were shown details of investigations undertaken by News of the World into David and yourself back in 2002, which of course you had no idea were going on at the time.

    Then you go on to detail the information that you were shown in the notebooks, and it included -- and I'm going to read this out, it's important -- your payroll number, your warrant number, the name of the police section house that you'd lived in when you first joined the police in 1977, the name, location and telephone number of your place of work in 2002, you and David's full home address, your mobile number, notes about your previous husband and his work details. It also contained notes about David, including his name, telephone number, rank, the word "appeal", which you presume to be a reference to his appeal for information on Crimewatch, and you explain that the date at the top of the notes was 3 July 2002, a week or so before the News of the World vans began to appear outside your home.

    You say this in the final sentence:

    "This demonstrates to me that the News of the World knew full well that I was married to David at the time of the surveillance, and thus gives the lie to their explanation for it."

    We obviously don't have the relevant page or pages from Glenn Mulcaire's notebooks that contains these entries, but from memory, can you tell us whether all this information was in the same place, ie on a single page or number of pages together, or whether it was bits of notes from different parts of the notebook that seemed to have been collated in one place to show to you?

  • No, it was very much contained within a page or so of the notebook, as if somebody was on the telephone and just writing notes as and when.

  • You saw his original documents?

  • Yes. So, I mean, if, for instance, I was making some enquiries and somebody was giving me information, I would write little notes on a piece of paper. It didn't appear to me to be written at different times or over a course of a period of time or from different people. It was in the same pen and same handwriting as if it had all been written down at the same time.

  • The reason I ask you that question is probably apparent to you. You say at the first line of paragraph 42 that the information that you saw could only have come from one place: your MPS file. You explain that you were horrified by the realisation that someone within the MPS had supplied information from your file to Mr Mulcaire, and probably for money.

    The question I've been asked to put to you is: isn't it right that all the information that you detail as being in the Glenn Mulcaire notebook could have been obtained by old-fashioned investigation and digging around, asking friends, asking colleagues for information about you? In your view, is that right?

  • Oh, crikey, they'd have to do an awful lot of digging around, an awful lot of talking. Things like your payroll number, it's an extension of your warrant number. As a woman, when I joined, we had separate, different types of warrant numbers, and mine was only four figures, so if anybody said to me, "What's your warrant number?", I would have said "4481", but my payroll number was 19/00004481, and it wasn't something that you used for any other purpose, really, other than your payroll number, because it was too unwieldy and unnecessary. And things like the section house that I lived in when I first left, I'm not sure many people would know that. It's not something I regularly talked about. I only lived there a few months.

  • In 197 -- January 1978 I moved in there, and I was there a few months. It wasn't something that was a topic of conversation amongst -- even my friends wouldn't have known that, necessarily.

  • All right. How did you feel when you were contacted by Operation Weeting and shown all the details found in Glenn Mulcaire's notebooks?

  • Well, all sorts of things went through my head, some which I probably shouldn't go into, but certainly I was very -- I think initially I was shocked, and very angry. It's very difficult. I spent 30 years in the police service, and do you know what? I loved it. I loved being a police officer. And I was extremely -- excuse me -- extremely proud to be in the Metropolitan Police, and I think although I was aware of corruption, aware of malpractice, I'm certainly not that naive to think it doesn't go on. But, hey, when it's you and you know that somebody in your family, the police service, has sold you down the line, it's very hurtful, very painful.

  • I don't think I need to ask you any further questions about the Glenn Mulcaire notebooks.

  • There is one other feature. First of all, that's how it looked, but secondly, for five years you didn't know about it.

  • Exactly.

    I mean, there are two issues, actually, probably I should mention. Firstly, the date on the notes, which gives rise to the suggestion that this was the date the information was received. It was some week or so before the surveillance on us started. They would have known in that case that we were married, from reading my file. So it certainly, if it didn't -- if it needed saying at all, gave further weight to the lie that we were supposed to be having an affair.

    Secondly, I mean in 2006, when this information came to be known, I was -- I mentioned earlier, talking about the bullion raid, I was on a rather sensitive inquiry, not that, involving security and some sensitive witnesses under protection, and if I'd known that my phone number was known to members of the media or to people perhaps with more scurrilous intentions, I would have immediately changed it, if only as a matter of prevention. It would have caused me huge problems to know that that was in the public domain, because it wasn't at that time something which I widely publicised.

  • Yes. The final question really is about recommendations for the future. Two paragraphs in your statement deal with this. First of all, paragraph 45, where you say that you don't necessarily believe the answer is to bring in more legislation when there's already so much in place, and you recommend more widespread use of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. I'll move on from that, unless there's something you particularly want to say about that.

  • No. I think there are only a number of bits of legislation, and it may be if there's more controls brought into police interaction with journalists, maybe the Freedom of Information Act needs to be looked at again, but I'm not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination, so in terms of legislation, I'm probably completely the wrong person to comment on that.

  • And paragraph 48 contains your recommendations as well. We've already touched on the enhanced training. You also suggest there should be a clear complaints procedure for police officers wishing to correct inaccuracies in a story or who were unhappy with the conduct of a journalist; a review of the role of the Crime Reporters Association to ensure transparency in terms of access to information; and that news editors should be required to complete decision logs where invasion of an individual's privacy and/or use of a private investigator is contemplated.

    Is there anything that you would like --

  • I think on this last one, you've probably heard that over the course of the last few months one of the issues that I have discussed with editors is audit trails of decisions, and that's really what you're talking about.

  • Absolutely. I don't necessarily feel that there need to be additional constraints, but I just think there should be a process by which they can show some transparency in how that decision -- and justify it in some way, because the huge effect that it has on people's lives needs to be justified, and it may well be in the public interest, and if it is, they have nothing to hide.

  • Is there anything that you would like to add to the other recommendations that you made?

  • I think with regard to the training for police officers, I've sort of gone into that briefly in terms of complaints. I think there's a lot of frustration around, "What do I do if I've given an interview to a journalist and they completely change what I've said or put inaccuracies in?" And it goes back to the confidence issue, I suppose, is to challenge them on that and to correct those inaccuracies, but I don't think a lot of sort of coalface detectives know where to start in that, and they feel that there isn't an ability for them to complain or --

  • Well, there is, actually, but people have spoken about the PCC at some length, and what you're saying is actually that applies just as much to police officers as to everybody else.

  • But I think that there is a general feeling that unfortunately the directorate of public affairs really was so close to many journalists and media organisations that their voices wouldn't be heard anyway, so what was the point?

  • Is there anything that you would like to add?

  • Thank you very much. Those are my questions.

  • Thank you. I just want to write down what you've just said. (Pause)

    Ms Hames, thank you very much indeed. Thank you.

    Right. 2 o'clock.

  • (The luncheon adjournment)

  • Sir, the next witness is Mr Christopher Jefferies, please.