British police chief quits over phone-hacking scandal

17th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's most senior police officer Paul Stephenson resigned on Sunday, citing allegations about Scotland Yard's links to Rupert Murdoch's empire amid the phone-hacking scandal.

"I have this afternoon informed the Home Secretary and the Mayor of my intention to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service," Stephenson said in a statement.

British police have been slammed over their handling of the snowballing crisis, and Stephenson himself faced accusations on Sunday over his links to the tycoon.

Stephenson was linked to former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis in reports which said the police chief accepted a five-week stay earlier this year at a luxury health spa where Wallis worked as a public relations consultant.

The force is already facing questions about why it hired Wallis as an advisor two months after he quit the tabloid. Wallis was arrested last week.

"I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week," he said.

But he insisted he had committed no impropriety.

"Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact," Stephenson added.

"I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity."

© 2011 AFP

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