Two ex-police officers referred over Damian Green inquiry leaks

Two former police officers who leaked details of the alleged discovery of pornographic material on the Commons computer of Damian Green have been referred to the data protection watchdog, the head of the Metropolitan Police has said.

Appearing before the London Assembly, Commissioner Cressida Dick said the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) was the right body to carry forward the investigation into their actions.

The move follows the sacking of Mr Green as first secretary of state after he admitted making misleading statements in response to the claims first made by former Met assistant commissioner Bob Quick.

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A second officer involved in the 2008 investigation into Home Office leaks - former detective constable Neil Lewis - subsequently went public with similar allegations.

Ms Dick told the assembly: "We are disappointed to see that it appears that former colleagues have put into the public domain via the media material that they appear to have had access to as part of a confidential investigation.

"We have been reviewing that in the Met in the last couple of weeks. We have had a QC helping us with that.

"I can say today that, in relation to that matter, having received our advice, we have made a referral to the Information Commissioner's Office as we believe that they are the appropriate people to carry on that investigation into essentially data protection matters."

In a statement, Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said: "We can confirm that we have received a referral from the Metropolitan Police Service that explains their belief that offences under the Data Protection Act 1998 have been committed by former MPS officers.

"As the UK's data protection regulator, we'll be looking at whether individuals acted unlawfully by retaining or disclosing personal data.

"These are serious allegations and we are investigating to determine whether the law has been broken and what further action is necessary including potential criminal prosecution."

Under the Data Protection Act, anyone who is prosecuted and found guilty could face an unlimited fine.