Elizabeth Filkin at Leveson inquiry

Elizabeth Filkin told the inquiry she hopes internal investigations 'will get to the bottom' of the alleged activity

Dame Elizabeth Filkin, author of a recent independent report into relations between the Metropolitan police and the press, told the Leveson inquiry today about alleged "trading" between the two parties, in some cases as a means of preventing certain stories being reported.

In evidence to the inquiry Filkin was asked about the findings of her report, which recommended all contact between Met officers and journalists be recorded and monitored.

Her report included reference to "trading" between the press and police. Today she told the inquiry that she was told of "a variety of occasions" where stories relating to the private lives of senior officers were "kept out, so they claimed, of the media, by the person in media who has that information getting an exclusive story as a trade".

She also told the inquiry she could not state how frequently this occurred, but that "enough people referred to this sort of activity for me to feel it was proper to put in those descriptions".

Later during her appearance before the inquiry Filkin also spoke of concerns about a "trade" between journalists and the DPA (Directorate of Public Affairs) having been raised, as is referred to in her report.

"They were concerned about some of the relationships within the DPA and the media, and that the DPA favoured some journalists and would trade and would indeed on occasions because of that, cause harm."

Filkin was also asked about "tip-offs" given by police officers to the media, who in their work "come into contact" with those in the public eye.

"Some of it was about people allegedly ringing up in excitement to a newspaper to say celebrity X has just come into my police station," she said, adding that this could mean by the time the celebrity had left the police station there could be press waiting outside.

"People also said to me in some instances people were paid for information about celebrities."

She added that she hopes internal inquiries currently being carried out by the Metropolitan police "will get to the bottom of this, as to how extensive that was".

Lord Justice Leveson said he was "rather concerned" that anyone would feel that "phoning up the press to give them some information such as the presence of celebrity X, or that famous person Y has been burgled or called the police is ever acceptable", or that it "should justify receipt of money".

Filkin responded: "I couldn't agree with you more".

In her report published in January Filkin makes a number of recommendations, including advising officers to avoid "flirting" and accepting alcohol from journalists.

The report said the relationship between the Met police and the press included "sufficient unregulated or unethical contact that is both hidden from scrutiny and harmful to the public".

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