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Met police denies delaying publication of Sue Gray inquiry as officers examine material

Scotland Yard says it has not delayed the publication of the long-awaited Cabinet Office report.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

Updated Jan 28th 2022, 8:16 PM

THE METROPOLITAN POLICE have received the material requested from the Cabinet Office to support the investigation into possible lockdown breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall, the police force has said.

Scotland Yard said officers would now examine the material “without fear or favour” to establish whether any rules were broken, adding that it had not delayed the publication of the Sue Gray report.

Commander Catherine Roper, who leads the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command, said the timing of the document’s release was a matter for the Cabinet Office.

Downing Street declined to comment on the Met statement.

She said the force had asked for “minimal reference” to be made in the report to the “relevant events”, in order to “protect the integrity of the police investigation” and be “as fair as possible to those who are subject to it”.

“This will only be necessary until these matters are concluded, and is to give detectives the most reliable picture of what happened at these events. We intend to complete our investigations promptly, fairly and proportionately,” she said.

The force previously argued the constraints on the Cabinet Office report into “partygate” were necessary to “avoid any prejudice to our investigation”.

The new statement, issued this evening, contains no mention of the term “prejudice”.

Roper added: “We have not delayed this report and the timing of its release is a matter for the Cabinet Office inquiry team.”

She said the offences under investigation, where proven, would normally result in the issuing of a fixed penalty notice.

“Individuals who are identified as having potentially breached these regulations will normally be contacted in writing, and invited to explain their actions including whether they feel they had a reasonable excuse,” she said.

“Following this process, and where there is sufficient evidence that individuals have breached the regulations without reasonable excuse, officers will decide if enforcement action is appropriate.

“If the decision is to take enforcement action then a report will be sent to the ACRO Criminal Records Office which will issue the fixed penalty notice. Recipients can pay the fixed penalty and the matter will be considered closed.

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“Should a recipient dispute the fixed penalty notice then the case will be referred back to the Met where officers will consider whether to pursue the matter in a magistrates’ court.

“As the Commissioner said, we will not be giving a running commentary but we will continue to update when significant progress is made in the investigative process.”

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