Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Ian Blair has hit out at accusations that the force is institutionally corrupt as “just not true”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he defended current Scotland Yard boss Dame Cressida Dick as “the finest officer of her generation” and refused to accept there is systemic corruption in the force.
Dame Cressida is facing calls to resign after the publication of a damning report on the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.
An independent panel led by Baroness Nuala O’Loan found that the Met had put protecting its own reputation above finding Mr Morgan’s killer.
The panel’s report said: “Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”
Lord Blair told Today: “The allegation that the Met is institutionally corrupt is just not true. There is no evidence of systematic corruption in the Metropolitan Police.
“If you then use that to describe a reluctance to come forward, you then have to compare the BBC marking its own homework over Martin Bashir.
“Institutions do have a protective process and I’m sorry about that but I just don’t believe the words institutionally corrupt in any way reflect what the public understanding of what that would mean.”
The Met admitted in 2011 that the grossly inadequate first investigation into Mr Morgan’s murder – which saw the murder scene left unsearched and unguarded – had been hampered by corruption.
But the panel found that corruption had gone on after the initial inquiry, and questioned why no action had been taken to bring those who sabotaged the first investigation to justice.
A string of police investigations and an inquest have failed to convict anyone of the killing or any associated corruption in protecting those responsible.
The numerous inquiries into the case have largely been due to the campaigning efforts of Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair, who has fought for justice for more than 30 years.
He said on Twitter on Wednesday: “We achieved a historic result yesterday and I’m pleased and proud of this.”
But he expressed his regret that his mother Isobel Hulsmann, who died in 2017, did not live to see the report’s publication, something that he blames on the Met.
Mr Morgan said: “My greatest regret is that my mother never lived to see the publication of the Daniel Morgan panel’s report.
“The Met’s constant delays and obstructions made this impossible.”
On Tuesday in the wake of the publication of the report, Dame Cressida did not appear in person to answer journalists’ questions, but instead issued a written statement in which she apologised again to Mr Morgan’s family.
She was criticised in the 1,200-page document for having initially denied the panel access to the police HOLMES database as it investigated the case, but Dame Cressida insisted that the force had given the team “the fullest level of co-operation”.