The leader of London's Metropolitan Police Services, better known as Scotland Yard, resigned today. Sir Paul Stephenson stated that his job was "in danger of being eclipsed by the ongoing debate by senior offices and the media. And this can never be right." Revelations that the police agency failed to thoroughly investigate the tabloid News of the World for its part in the phone-hacking scandal, and that Scotland Yard was a "revolving door" for News Corp employees, who in some cases paid police officers for confidential information, have deeply tarnished the institution in recent days.
The Times reports that a former News of the World editor who was arrested last week, Neil Wallis, was hired by Sir Paul as a "public relations advisor," and worked for a spa attended by Sir Paul at which he received $17,000 worth of treatments paid for by Scotland Yard. Sir Paul denies knowing Wallis's association with the spa.
Sir Paul's resignation comes hours after Rebekah Brooks, former Murdoch employee and a favorite of the boss, was arrested "by appointment" for her role in the phone-hacking scandal. Brooks is scheduled to answer questions before Parliament this week. One Labour member is suspicious of the arrest's timing, telling the Times, "I do find it odd that they should arrest her now by appointment," as it may make it "impossible" for Brooks to answer and "substantive" questions posed to her about her role in the hacking scandal.
In addition to frequently meeting with executives of News Corp's British subsidiary (Sir Paul shared 18 meals with them while they were supposed to be under investigation) it appears that higher-ups in Scotland Yard buried the investigation of News of the World after the prosecution of a reporter and a private investigator. "Six overstuffed plastic bags" including "11,000 pages of handwritten notes listing nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked" sat unseen in the agency's headquarters for five years. One police official testified that he wasn't "going to go down and look at bin bags."
In addition to Brooks, Rupert Murdoch and his son James, are scheduled to testify in front of Parliament on Tuesday. As one Labour party parliamentarian put it: "The water is now lapping around the ankles of the Murdoch family."