By Simon Basketter
Downloading PDF. Please wait... Issue 2759

Morgan verdict as damning ‘as the Macpherson report’

This article is over 2 years, 10 months old
Issue 2759
The independent panel on the Daniel Morgan case
Alastair Morgan (right), the brother of Daniel Morgan, speaking to the media following the publication of the panel report (Pic: Socialist Worker)

The Metropolitan Police is “institutionally corrupt”. That is the condemning conclusion of an eight-year inquiry into a notorious murder case. 

The independent panel examining the 1987 killing of Daniel Morgan, a private investigator, criticised a number of officers linked to the case.  

The Met owe Daniel Morgan’s family, and the public, an apology for not confronting its systemic ­failings and those of individual officers, the panel’s report said. 

The Met’s first objective was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many flaws since Daniel Morgan’s murder, panel chair Baroness Nuala O’Loan said. The murder of Morgan is the most investigated case in British history.

But despite five investigations no one has been brought to justice. The panel found “multiple very significant failings” during the initial Met Police investigation.

A second probe by Hampshire Constabulary “did not pursue, to the fullest extent possible, evidence that serving or former police officers were involved” in the murder. 

There was evidence of “a culture” within the Met that allowed “very close association” between police officers investigating the murder and “individuals linked to crime”. 

The Met was condemned for its culture which “still exists that inhibits both organisational and individual accountability” in the 1,251-page report into the murder.  

Cover-up! How the state helped hide the truth about the murder of Daniel Morgan
Cover-up! How the state helped hide the truth about the murder of Daniel Morgan
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O’Loan denounced the efforts of the Met to initially withhold evidence from the inquiry and to delay.

It took seven years to gain offsite access to the police computer files on the case.

The last document was only given to the panel in March this year. Met police commissioner Cressida Dick was specifically criticised for these delays.

The panel examined connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists. It found these relations to be corrupt.

The report denounces the ­relationships between senior police and Rupert Murdoch’s empire. 

O’Loan said the institutional ­corruption verdict was as important as the Macpherson report finding of institutional racism in the Met over the Stephen Lawrence case.

Daniel’s brother Alastair was asked whether Cressida Dick should consider resigning. He responded, “Absolutely she should.”

The family’s solicitor Raju Bhatt added, “The panel found the institutionalised corruption that they found is a current problem in the present tense.

“The current leadership in the Met has to take responsibility for that continuing.”

In light of the report released by the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel this morning, the family have made the following statement:

“We, the family of Daniel Morgan, welcome the report of the Independent Panel into the circumstances surrounding his murder in 1987. In particular, we welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.

“As Daniel’s family, we became aware of the police corruption at the heart of this matter within three weeks of the murder: we said so then, and we had to say so repeatedly over the decades since the murder.

“Through those decades, we had to engage in public protests, meetings with police officers at the highest ranks, lobbying of politicians and pleas to the media. At almost every step, we found ourselves lied to, fobbed off, bullied, degraded and let down time and time again. What we were required to endure was nothing less than torture, and that has changed our relationship with this country forever.

“In the meanwhile, the allegations and evidence of serious corruption within the Metropolitan Police—extending to the highest ranks— remained unaddressed. We witnessed the repeated refusal of those in charge of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office to address the problem that stared them in the face: the serious police corruption and criminality that surrounded the murder and its aftermath.

“It was not until 2011, over 24 years after Daniel’s murder, that the Metropolitan Police finally admitted that their investigations of this crime had been crippled by police corruption.

“And it was not until 2013, over 26 years after the murder, that any politician of authority in central government had the courage to take the first step towards dealing with the implications of that admitted police corruption. We welcomed Theresa May’s decision then to set up the DMIP, and we pay tribute to her now for doing so.

“Now, in 2021, over 34 years after Daniel’s murder, the Panel has shown the courage that was so signally lacking from all those previously tasked to look at this case. In identifying the culture of corruption and cover-up at the highest ranks of the Metropolitan Police that has blighted our lives through these decades, the Panel’s report has finally named the sickness that needs to be addressed. We find in the report an accurate reflection of our lived experience: the complicity and worse of the British state in all its guises in the police corruption and criminality that has wracked our lives.

“No family should have to go through what we have had to suffer over these decades. No family should have to find as we did that our confidence was betrayed by those to whom we should be able to turn for help. No family should be cut adrift in the way we were left to fend for ourselves in the face of the most serious criminality that can be imagined.

“No family should have to bear the immense and indescribable cost we have paid in terms of our health, emotional, physical and otherwise. Above all, no family should be left to find, as we do, that we are no longer able to place our trust in the police, the state or any other form of authority in this country.

“Three generations of our family have already suffered as the collateral damage resulting from the inexcusable failure of the institutions of the state to do what was required of them in the face of institutionalised police corruption. We do not want this burden to be passed on to the coming generations of our family. We want to be able to get on with our lives at long last, but that requires some form of accountability on the part of those who have failed us.

“To that end, we say this to the current hierarchy in the Metropolitan Police. You have to stop protecting those who came before you; those who —at best—deliberately turned away from the stench of police corruption; those who sought to manage the fallout from that corruption instead of confronting it. You know that senior police officers sought to prevent us ever understanding what really happened in this case. You can no longer be blind to these facts in light of the findings in the Panel’s report. Any failure on your part to address the culture of corruption and cover up identified by the Panel will serve only to demonstrate your own complicity in that corruption.

“And we say this to the Home Secretary and the current government. It is not too late for you to give us reason to trust you in relation to this case. We hope that you may yet find in yourselves the integrity and the will required to confront and acknowledge the culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police as identified by the Panel. We look to you to ensure that all those responsible for this state of affairs are compelled to confront and acknowledge their failures for once and for all.”

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