Sir Ian Blair , the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is reported by The Scotsman as having secretly recorded phone conversations with The Independent Police Complaints Commission over the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting, and with Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General
Ironically this "confidential" conversation with the Attorney General:
"concerned the admissibility of wire tap evidence in court, but did not involve any particular case."
Given the spin and media leaks which the
Obviously there are several questions which spring to mind, but which we doubt that the journalists reporting the story will bother to ask:
- Does Sir Ian Blair routinely tape all his phone conversations, or only some of them ?
- Is this a private, personal, backside covering exercise, or has it been done using Metropolitan Police phone surveillance equipment and resources ?
- Were these recordings for a personal diary or planned book of memoirs, like so many politicians and senior public officials seem to be compiling for profit and posterity ?
- Has he tapped or recorded the phone conversations with other Ministers e.g. the Home Secretary or with other Members of Parliament ?
- If so, does this contravene the "Wilson Doctrine"?
- Is the fact that , despite being a Cabinet Miniister, Lord Goldsmith is a Peer of the Realm , and is not an elected Member of Parliament, mean that he is not protected by the "Wilson Doctrine" ?
- Is there, within the NuLabour regime, a "Francois Mitterand" culture of using supposedly anti-terrorism electronic intercept resources to monitor political colleagues, promotion rivals, political opponents and just about anybody who those with such power meet socially ?
- Do these recordings still exist and have they been handed over to say, the IPCC, or is it only the fact that such recordings were made which is in evidence ?
It is not a criminal offence under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Section 1 to record a phone conversation on your own phone, which you control the use of:
(6) The circumstances in which a person makes an interception of a communication in the course of its transmission by means of a private telecommunication system are such that his conduct is excluded from criminal liability under subsection (2) if-
(a) he is a person with a right to control the operation or the use of the system; or
However, as the BBC report points out, in theory, a civil action for breach of confidentiality might be possible, but that seems rather unlikley to happen.
It is strongly suggested that people are informed that a conversation may be recorded for "training" or "quality" or security" purposes.
What if it emerges that their conversations with Sir Ian Blair have also been recorded ?
How exactly have these "secret recordings" emerged into the media ? Is this the result of disaffection with Sir Ian Blair (who is on a skiing holiday at the moment), by some of his New Scotland Yard staff ? Or is it media leaks by the Independent Police Complaints Commission again, who were somehow made aware of the recordin of their own officials regarding the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting investigation ?