Bets off on Yates as new Aussie police chief

19th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Top British policeman John Yates had been touted as a possible Australian police commissioner, but the odds of a move Down Under have plummeted over the phone hacking scandal, a bookmaker said Tuesday.

Yates, who refused to reopen an investigation into the phone hacking practices of the now-defunct News of the World tabloid in 2009, resigned as assistant commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police on Monday.

Bookmaker, which has been running odds on who will become Victoria state's next police commissioner for nearly a month, said Yates' chances of moving to Melbourne were now "almost non-existent".

Odds on Yates taking the job had reached as high as 11-1, but later blew out to 50-1 in the wake of the phone hacking scandal before ballooning to a remote 500-1 after his resignation, the bookmaker said.

"We were of the opinion that Yates had next to no chance of becoming Victoria's next top cop following the phone hacking scandal and his resignation from Scotland Yard seems to have put the final nail in the coffin," spokesman Haydn Lane said.

Leading the odds now is Victoria's assistant commissioner Stephen Fontana at 3-1.

It is not known whether Yates had submitted an application to head the 11,000-strong police force which guards Australia's second most populous state.

But he was reportedly shortlisted for the job in 2009, only to pipped by Simon Overland who resigned last month soon after an ombudsman's report found he had overseen the release of misleading crime statistics.

Yates was one of the Met's most senior officers and had responsibility for special operations, but came under fire after detectives reopened the News of the World investigation in 2011 and found thousands of alleged hacking victims.

He quit when he found out he was about to be suspended.

© 2011 AFP

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