London

Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson questioned over gifts

Sir Paul Stephenson, Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Image caption Gifts given to Sir Paul will be donated to charity

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has been asked to show he followed the rules on receiving gifts and hospitality by his force's watchdog.

The Metropolitan Police Authority asked for clarification over several entries made by Sir Paul Stephenson between 31 October 2009 and the end of May.

These included an offer of tickets to the Wimbledon tennis championships, alcohol and two watches.

A spokeswoman for Sir Paul said official rules had been followed.

She added the alcohol and watches will be given to a charity fundraising auction.

Strict rules

The Met has strict rules on accepting gifts and hospitality to ensure the integrity of officers and staff is not compromised.

Questions were raised during a routine review of paperwork submitted on behalf of Sir Paul, Britain's most senior police officer.

Alan Johnson, of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), wrote to Sir Paul to check if guidance on accepting hospitality had been followed and to find out what will happen to the gifts.

Published lists reveal employees of all ranks are showered with gifts including dinners, show and sporting tickets, alcohol, memorabilia and chocolates.

Seeking clarification

But the commissioner's register of gifts and hospitality is not publicly available, despite the Met's commitment to publish it under the Freedom of Information Act.

A Met Police spokesman said: "The commissioner reported all gifts and hospitality to the MPA as required. They wrote back seeking clarification on three areas."

An MPA spokeswoman said: "As part of the ongoing scrutiny and oversight responsibilities of the MPA, the gifts and hospitality register held in the private office of the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner is regularly reviewed.

"All offers of hospitality must be carefully considered and hospitality that is accepted must be justifiable in terms of benefit to the Met and the reasons recorded.

"The request for clarification was made only recently and therefore the MPA awaits a response."

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