Every officer involved in the Daniel Morgan scandal will escape punishment, the police watchdog has announced, despite an independent inquiry finding that corruption in the Metropolitan police shielded the private detective’s killers with the force ignoring information.
Those escaping any action include the former Met commissioner Cressida Dick, who the inquiry accused of hampering its work.
Morgan was found dead in a south London car park in 1987 with an axe in his head. No one has been convicted of his murder.
The Morgan family reacted with anger and disappointment at the announcement by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), having spent 35 years fighting what they see as a cover-up and failure to confront corruption.
Last year an independent review ordered by the government personally censured Dick for obstructing its work.
On Wednesday, the IOPC announced that after 14 months it believed no new criminal or disciplinary charges could be bought over the case, which is one of the biggest scandals to blight British policing.
On Dick, the commissioner of the Met until February this year, the IOPC accepted she may have broken the rules, but the watchdog said it still could not take any action because the alleged breaches were not serious enough, and would have to amount to gross misconduct.
The IOPC said: “We assessed that she may have breached police standards of professional behaviour by not providing full and exceptional disclosure to the [panel] sooner, although not to the extent that would justify disciplinary proceedings. On this basis we have no grounds to exercise our power of initiative.
“We found that she acted with a genuine belief to protect the information but may have got the balance wrong and should have given greater priority to her duty to provide full and exceptional disclosure to the panel.”
Dick maintained her defiance, and said: “I disagree with their analysis that my actions ‘may give an indication of a breach of standards of professional behaviour’ and that ‘I may have got the balance wrong’.”
The Morgan family accused the police watchdog of sharing the same “sickness” as the Met, adding: “What we find here is a rather shabby exercise by the IOPC to avoid the implications of the police corruption and criminality which the panel’s report compelled them to acknowledge.
“In the same vein, we see the IOPC forced to find that ex-commissioner Cressida Dick ‘may have breached police standards of professional behaviour’ in the obstructive stance she chose to adopt towards the work of the panel, but they then go to look for reasons not to use their powers to act on that finding.
“In doing so, the IOPC shows that it suffers the very sickness within its own ranks that it purports to diagnose within the Met.”
Morgan, 37, was found murdered on 10 March 1987 in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham.
With his business partner, Jonathan Rees, Morgan ran an agency called Southern Investigations. It would go on to carry out extensive work for the News of the World.
The panel said the Met was “institutionally corrupt” and placed protecting its reputation over the truth, all charges the force under Dick denied.