Oral evidence session 21 October
I have seen your letter of 13 October addressed to the Commissioner inviting him to attend an oral evidence session on the afternoon of 21 October to give evidence on matters concerning the late Lord Brittan. I have also seen the email sent from Carol Oxborough on the same date indicating that the Committee also wishes to take evidence from two officers involved in leading the investigation, namely DCI Paul Settle and DCI Sam Price.
With regard to the Commissioner, he is on official business overseas on the 21 October. He has, however, asked me to offer his attendance before the Committee on his return if the Committee would find that to be of assistance.
We do, however, have very considerable reservations about the attendance of DCI Settle and DCI Price before the Committee. We understand, of course, the Committee’s interest in the matters on which it is to take evidence and we are anxious that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) should be able to assist the Committee in the most effective way possible. We do not though think it is appropriate that relatively junior officers should be required to give evidence on purely operational matters in circumstances where it is possible for more senior officers to attend. In our view this would create an unhelpful precedent and may lead to anxiety amongst officers taking operational decisions that they may subsequently have to justify the detail of those decisions before a Committee of the House of Commons. This would seem to us to have significant implications for the operational independence of the police.
As I say above, we do understand the importance of the MPS being able to assist the Committee and, for this reason, I would like to suggest that both Assistant Commissioner Patricia Gallan and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse should attend your session on 21 October to give evidence. AC Gallan has been the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations since 9 February 2015 and DAC Rodhouse became the Gold Commander in charge of Operation Vincente (the investigation into the allegation against the late Lord Brittan) on 7 July 2014. I am fully confident that AC Gallan and DAC Rodhouse will be able to give comprehensive evidence to the Committee on the matters it is considering while avoiding the difficulties that I mention in the previous paragraph.
Should you wish to discuss these issues I would, of course, be very happy to do so.
HASC: Letter from Deputy Commissioner Craig Mackey to the Chair of the Committee, dated 14 October 2015