Head of GMP Doesn't Want Top Cop Job

21 July 2011, 10:28

The Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police says he's not applying for the job as Britain's top cop.

It's after Sir Paul Stephenson stepped down earlier this week over the phone hacking scandal.

In his blog on the force's website Peter Fahy said:

'I am likely to be named as a potential candidate, however I would like to clarify that I myself will not be applying for the role.'

He said he had the 'highest regard' for Sir Paul and assistant commissioner John Yates, who also resigned over the issue.

'They have done many fine things to protect the public and serve their country, they have been open and honest in admitting misjudgements and shown courage in resigning.

'What is bewildering is that this case is being used by some to suggest that corruption is endemic in British policing, which it is not.

'We have always admitted that we have some staff in our organisation that do bad things including disclosing information to others - sometimes criminals, sometimes journalists and sometimes family or friends, and we take this very seriously. Officers have been jailed for doing this, but that does not mean corruption is endemic or institutional.'

He continued that relationships with the media were a day-to-day part of policing, with appeals for witnesses and telling the public what they had a right to know, which was a 'crucial part of our accountability'.

'Some of the conversations we have with the media are what is known as on the record (and) some are off the record, as they seek background information or guidance which they know cannot be published for legal reasons.

'It is also clear that there are a small number of officers who pass information to journalists when they should not. Most of this is for malicious reasons because, unfortunately, they want to embarrass the force but, to repeat, this is a tiny group of staff and there is no suggestion that they do this for money.

'It is fair to say that some journalists see part of their role as trying to get unauthorised information out of officers that is just seen as something reporters do.

'Whether we like it or not, the tabloid press in this country has huge influence and for a number of years leaders of public services have experienced a situation where what is covered in the tabloid press is of great concern to national and indeed local politicians.

'It is true this has almost become an obsession and leaders of public services, like me, spend a lot of time worrying about how we are portrayed and how we can improve that.

'On the other hand I have never received more than a cup of coffee from a journalist and the stories of dinners etc is something chief officers in GMP have never accepted.

'We are clear that all offers of hospitality have to be declared and indeed any suggestion that this could be misinterpreted means that most offers are declined. We take this issue very seriously.'

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