Scotland Yard and the Cabinet Office both came in for further criticism today over their roles in the arrest of Tory MP Damian Green for passing embarrassing documents to the press.
Ian Johnston, the chief constable of British Transport Police, said in a report on the affair - censored in parts - that there was a "strong question mark for me over the proportionality [of Green's arrest]".
Police raided Green's home and Parliamentary office last November after the Cabinet Office claimed national security had been threatened by stories exposing immigration failings. In April the Director of Public Prosecutions said there had been no threat from either Green or Christopher Galley, a Home Office civil servant who was the source of the leaks.
Johston today agreed. "I regard the leaks for which Galley can be clearly held responsible in law, as amounting to 'embarrassment matters' for the government. I do not think from the material presented to me that the leaks in themselves are likely to undermine the government's effectiveness," he said.
A separate report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of the Constabulary (HMIC), also published today, found the Met's inquiry had been "well motivated", but said "noble intentions are not good enough on their own when applied to high profile cases".
HMIC proposed a new protocol that would involve the Crown Prosecution Service early on in any future political leak inquiry.
Green said: "The police were misled about the security risks by a senior official in the Cabinet Office, which is itself very disturbing.
"Then the police themselves used covert recordings to bug my conversations with officers, which is only legal in terrorist arrests. The more we find out about my arrest the more disgraceful it looks."
HMIC told the Cabinet Office it should review how it responds to leaks. ®