There are 45 press officers working at the Metropolitan Police Service of London—a.k.a. Scotland Yard—and 10 of them have worked at News International, the part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. that oversaw News of the World
“I understand that there are 10 members of the [Department of Public Affairs] staff who have worked in News International in the past, in some cases journalists, in some cases undertaking work experience with the organization,” Sir Paul Stephenson, the head of Scotland Yard who resigned over the weekend, told Parliament. (Stephenson has not yet stepped down from his post.)
According to an NPR report
, Stephenson denied any wrongdoing, but said he was embarrassed that Scotland Yard had hired an ex-News of the World
editor as a PR consultant.
That former editor turned PR consultant is Neil Wallis, who was hired by Scotland Yard in 2009 on a part-time basis and worked through last September. Wallis worked at News of the World when its royal editor and a private investigator were arrested for hacking.
Stephenson told Parliament:
"Just let me say, with the benefit of what we know now, I'm quite happy to put on the record I regret that we went into that contract, quite clearly, because it's embarrassing. I wasn't involved in the procurement process but I have to say I would not be discomfited by the fact that Mr. Wallis came out of that process because I knew nothing to his detriment."
In the meantime, people are now calling for the resignation of Scotland Yard’s PR chief Dick Fedorcio. He’s the one who hired Wallis. Fedorcio is now under investigation
by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.