Met chief in phone recording row

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2006-03-13 00:36:47…   Met chief in phone recording row Met police chief Sir Ian Blair secretly recorded a telephone conversation with the attorney general, it has emerged. Scotland Yard confirmed he recorded the conversation with Lord Goldsmith regarding the admissibility of wire tap evidence in court last September. But the attorney general was not aware the recording had taken place. Lord Goldsmith was said to be “rather cross” and “somewhat disappointed” and looking for answers as to why Sir Ian took the action. We are surprised about the recording of calls and now have the recordings – we are dealing with this issue IPCC spokesman Sir Ian, who is thought to be on holiday, has also admitted taping calls with senior officials from the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The commission is investigating the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes by anti-terror police at Stockwell Tube station last July. An IPCC spokesman said the taped conversations came to light as part of its inquiry into the aftermath of the shooting. “We understand three telephone conversations between senior IPCC personnel and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police have been recorded without our prior consent,” said the spokesman. No investigation “One of these conversations was between our chair Nick Hardwick and the commissioner. “We are surprised about the recording of calls and now have the recordings. We are dealing with this issue.” The spokesman added that no formal investigation into the allegations was taking place. The recording and monitoring of telephone calls is governed by a number of different pieces of UK legislation, according to Ofcom, the telephone industry regulator. Consent issue It is not illegal for individuals to tape conversations providing the recording is for their own use, under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA). It is a civil, not criminal, matter if a conversation or email has been recorded and shared unlawfully. And, legally, recording or monitoring are only prohibited where some of the contents of the communication are made available to a third party. If a person intends to make the conversation available to a third party, they must first obtain the consent of the person being recorded. The call to the attorney general did not concern a particular case. The attorney general’s office said they had not been informed that any other private phone conversations between the pair had been recorded. Story from BBC…: 2006/03/12 23:42:34 GMT

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