Phone hacking: IPCC to probe Met press chief Fedorcio

Dick Fedorcio
Image caption Mr Fedorcio has been in his post since September 1997

The Independent Police Complaints Commission is to investigate the Met Police's press chief, the force says.

Dick Fedorcio faces questions about his links with former News of the World executive and phone-hacking suspect Neil Wallis.

The IPCC will also examine the circumstances under which the Met awarded a contract to Mr Wallis's media consultancy firm Chamy Media.

The Met has already referred four other current or former officers to the IPCC.

In a statement the Met said the latest referral was in connection with the "ongoing high level public interest" in the relationship between News of the World publisher News International and the Metropolitan Police.

It said it wanted an examination of the nature of the relationship between Mr Wallis and Mr Fedorcio and the circumstances under which the contract was awarded.

Chamy Media was used by the force from October 2009 until September last year.

Mr Fedorcio is responsible for explaining and promoting the work of the Met's 30,000 police officers and over 10,000 police staff.

He is based at New Scotland Yard and has been in his post since September 1997.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission will act after the referrals from the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Image caption Former senior policemen Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates resigned within 24 hours of each other

The other men under investigation include Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and Assistant Commissioner John Yates, who both quit this week.

The BBC understands the other two are former Assistant Commissioner Andy Hayman and former Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke.

As well as the five individual referrals to the IPCC, there was a sixth relating to the alleged involvement of Mr Yates in inappropriately securing a job at the Met for the daughter of a friend.

The BBC understands the woman to be Amy Wallis, daughter of Neil Wallis, and that she works in a civilian non-operational role.

The IPCC said the referrals raised "serious allegations" about senior officers and it was right that they were independently investigated.

Deputy chairwoman Deborah Glass said: "The role of the Met Police in its original investigation into phone hacking has rightly come under huge public scrutiny.

"These matters are already the subject of a judge-led public inquiry announced on 13 July which is looking into the way in which police investigated allegations of conduct by persons connected to News International.

"I now need to assess these referrals carefully to determine what should be investigated at this stage, bearing in mind the judicial inquiry, and I will seek to liaise with Lord Justice Leveson as soon as possible."

Sir Paul Stephenson, Britain's most senior police officer, resigned on Sunday after facing criticism for the Met's recruitment of Mr Wallis as a PR consultant.

Mr Yates resigned a day later after he also came under fire for his links with Mr Wallis, the News of the World's former deputy editor.

Mr Hayman was in ultimate charge of the original 2006 police inquiry into hacking and was later employed by News International title the Times as a columnist. Mr Clarke oversaw that investigation.

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