Ex-officers should not have spoken on Damian Green porn allegations - Met chief

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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has insisted former officers were wrong to make public comments regarding allegations that pornographic material was found on a Commons computer belonging to First Secretary of State Damian Green in 2008.

Ms Dick insisted that the duty of confidentiality undertaken by officers continued after they left their posts.

Mr Green, who is the subject of a Cabinet Office inquiry, has strongly denied that he downloaded or watched porn on the computer.

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner told LBC: "Police officers have a duty of confidentiality. We come into contact with personal information very regularly, sometimes extremely sensitive.

Cressida Dick
Ms Dick insisted that the duty of confidentiality undertaken by officers continued after they left their posts (PA)

"This is a daily occurrence for any officer. We all know that we have a duty to protect that information and to keep it confidential. In my view, that duty endures.

"It endures after you leave the service, so I believe that what this officer and, indeed, other retired officers, appears to have done is wrong and my professional standards department will be reviewing what has happened in relation to how information has been handled and if any offences are disclosed, we will investigate them."

Asked if prosecutions could occur in such circumstances, Ms Dick said: "Undoubtedly, if offences have been disclosed and that can be proved, it would be a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service, but there could be a prosecution.

"I've said before I don't want to give a running commentary on this matter. It's clearly sensitive, it's controversial and there is a Cabinet Office inquiry running in parallel, as you know, but today, I think it is appropriate that I say that what they appear to have done seems to me to be quite wrong."

"I do have confidence in him": @Jeremy_Hunt on the @damiangreen investigation #pestonpic.twitter.com/96FMa8Q0h7

-- Peston on Sunday (@pestononsunday) December 3, 2017

Allies of the First Secretary of State have expressed concern about comments made by two former Metropolitan Police officers regarding an investigation into government leaks when Mr Green was an opposition home affairs spokesman nearly a decade ago.

Ex-detective Neil Lewis told the BBC last week he was shocked at the volume of pornographic material found on Mr Green's Commons computer and had "no doubt whatsoever" it had been amassed by the Tory MP.

The allegation echoed claims made by former assistant commissioner Bob Quick, who went public last month with his account of the material discovered during a police raid on Mr Green's parliamentary office.

Ms Dick told the BBC that she "condemned" the public comments made by ex-officers regarding the 2008 investigation.

She said: "It is my view that what they have done, based on my understanding of what they are saying, what they have done is wrong. And I condemn it."

Responding to Ms Dick's comments, Prime Minister Theresa May's official spokesman said he would wait until the Cabinet Office inquiry is complete before commenting.

The spokesman told a regular Westminster briefing: "I have seen the Commissioner's comments, I think they speak for themselves.

"As for our own position, I think we will wait for this process to be completed."