The London Metropolitan Police lost its second high-ranking police official in two days to the News Corp. phone hacking scandal as John Yates, assistant commissioner and public face of the department’s handling of the matter, resigned Monday.
Yates’ resignation, expedited by his sharply criticized appearance before the Commons home affairs select committee last Tuesday, comes a day after his boss, police commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, quit as well.
When he appeared before the committee, Yates testified in regard to the department's initial inquiry into allegations of phone hacking, which is now seen as a failure. Back in 2009, in spite of reports from the Guardian suggesting hacking was endemic to the culture of the News of the World, the police did not reopen the case.
Yates defended his decision not to reopen the case before the committee, but only after he had already told the British newspaper the Telegraph his decision not to do so was “a pretty crap one.”
He also told the paper that it seemed straight forward back then and that had he known what he knows now the police would have widened the investigation. It was that type of answer that led most members of the committee to deem Yates' testimony "unconvincing."
Like Stephenson, Yates was under both public and official pressure for his role in the scandal. The Metropolitan Police Authority’s professional standards cases subcommittee had suspended Yates earlier on Monday after a meeting that morning in which it considered complaints against him.
Yates, who will be repalced by Cressida Dick, is expected to make a statement soon.
Teresa May, home secretary, has responded to the resignations of Stephenson and Yates by promising to look into police corruption and the department's relationship with the media.