Independent Police Complaints Commission
IPCC publishes investigation report about meeting with undercover officer
Former Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton and former detective inspector Robert Lambert would both have had a case to answer for misconduct if they were still serving officers, an IPCC investigation has found.
Three other former officers, including former commander Colin Black were found to have no case to answer as part of the same investigation.
The IPCC examined allegations that, during the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry in 1998 Richard Walton, then an acting detective inspector, met with an undercover officer and obtained information pertaining to the Lawrence family and their supporters, potentially undermining the Inquiry and public confidence.
The IPCC investigated the circumstances surrounding the meeting between Richard Walton and the undercover officer from the MPS Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) known as N81. As part of that investigation, Lambert, Black and two other former officers were identified as potentially playing a part in arranging the meeting. N81 was tasked with gathering intelligence about interest groups who subsequently became involved with the Lawrence family campaign.
It was also alleged that Mr Walton provided inconsistent accounts to a subsequent review, conducted by Mark Ellison QC, regarding his actions but there was no case to answer in that respect.
The investigation found no evidence that N81 passed information about the Lawrence family or their campaign to Mr Walton at the meeting, and the MPS submissions to the Inquiry were not altered. However, if the fact of the meeting had become public at the time of the Inquiry, this might well have caused very serious public concern.
Mr Lambert was found to have a case to answer for misconduct for his part in arranging the meeting while Mr Walton’s case involved his attendance at the meeting.
IPCC Deputy Chair Sarah Green said:
“During the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, the honesty and integrity of the Metropolitan Police was rightly under intense public scrutiny. The force’s reputation may have suffered immense damage had the meeting become public knowledge at the time.
“The IPCC found that Robert Lambert and Richard Walton both had a case to answer for discreditable conduct in that their actions could have brought the force into disrepute. As neither of the men are now serving police officers, it is not possible for misconduct proceedings to take place to determine whether or not the case would be proven.”
The IPCC report including the case to answer findings was provided to the MPS on 14 January 2016.
On 19 January the MPS responded to say it disagreed with the case to answer findings for Richard Walton and Robert Lambert. The IPCC replied indicating it stood by its findings.
In these circumstances the IPCC can go on to recommend the force undertake disciplinary meetings but not if officers have retired.
Robert Lambert retired from the police service before the start of the IPCC investigation and Richard Walton, who had previously indicated his intention to retire, did so on 20 January.
The IPCC report can be found here: http://www.ipcc.gov.uk/investigations/stephen-lawrence-metropolitan-poli...
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