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

Yes, I think it would, and I just want to turn now to this point, because I think it's very important. In evidence to you and in conversations with me at different stages, I am clear that Peter Clarke took a totally reasonable decision within his own boundaries of responsibility. He took a reasonable decision that he did not have the resources in the light of everything else that specialist operations were dealing with to take this case further. It was unnecessary to take this case further in terms of a criminal conviction.

I also took note of his comments to this Inquiry that he had already begged and borrowed officers not only from all over the rest of the Met, but all over south east England to deal with what he was dealing with, and therefore the decision was taken to close down.

My position would be this: it would have been possible for him to take a different decision. I see the reasonableness of his decision, but it would have been possible to make a different decision, which would have been to escalate it up to those parts of the organisation who could take a different decision, and had that happened, and had there been an explanation through Andy Hayman or Peter Clarke to either the Deputy Commissioner, probably in the first instance, or myself, then I think we might have taken a decision to say, "Okay, we can't deal with this at the moment, but we will hand it over, now it no longer concerns the royals, to potentially the specialist crime directorate for a scoping study in due course." That is a possible set of decisions that could have been made.

Of course, it's equally possible that I could have taken the same decision as Peter. It's equally possible that, had we done so, and then turned up at the News of the World, we'd have had a bit of a row with them and we wouldn't have got very much co-operation. Whether what has now been uncovered would have been uncovered is another matter altogether, but I do think there is an issue here that I as the Commissioner at the time feel we could have done things slightly differently, but I would emphasise that I can understand where Peter was coming from at that point.

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