Independent Police Complaints Commission report finds former counter terror boss Richard Walton has a case to answer for misconduct over a meeting held with an undercover officer during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry
2 MARCH 2016 | BY Martin Evans FOR THE TELEGRAPH
Former Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton would have a case to answer for misconduct in relation to an incident during the Stephen Lawrence inquiry of 1998, the Independent Police Complaints Commission has concluded.
But no action can be taken as Mr Walton, the former head of Scotland Yard’s counter terror command, retired earlier this year just six days after the IPCC submitted its findings to the force.The report by the police watchdog found that Mr Walton would have a case to answer over a meeting he held with an undercover officer during which it was alleged he obtained information about the family of the murdered black teenager and their supporters.
The report said his actions could have potentially undermined the public inquiry into the case and public confidence in it.
Former Detective Inspector Robert Lambert would also have a case to answer if he was still serving, but three other officers, including former commander Colin Black, were cleared.
A report into possible police corruption surrounding the Lawrence case conducted by Mark Ellison QC revealed how Mr Walton had met a police spy who had infiltrated a group of activists close to the Lawrence family.
Mr Ellison revealed that an undercover officer – known as N81 – held a meeting in 1998 with Mr Walton, who was then an acting detective inspector working on Scotland Yard’s Lawrence review team, responsible for making submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry, the probe into the appalling failures in how the 18-year-old’s racist murder was investigated.
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.
He was also alleged to have provided inconsistent accounts to Mr Ellison’s review team, although the IPCC said there was no case to answer in that respect.
Following the revelation he was temporarily moved from his job leading the force’s counter-terror unit.
He retired on January 20, despite a last ditch effort from lawyers acting for Stephen’s father, Neville Lawrence to stop him so that he could face misconduct claims.
It has previously been claimed that N81 told Mr Walton that Stephen’s parents had separated, although the IPCC found no evidence of this.
IPCC deputy chairwoman 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.”
A spokesman for the Met said the force disagreed with the findings and added: Whilst there is little doubt the meeting on August 14th 1998 took place, there is little or no evidence to suggest that either of the former officer’s intentions in attending or arranging the meeting was in anyway improper or that any of the information passed to, the then, Acting Inspector Walton was used, or could have been used, to supplement the Met’s submissions to the Macpherson Inquiry or indeed that any information relating specifically to the Lawrences or their campaign was exchanged.”