Heading them off at the Pass. Ian Johnstone selected to put the fires out over hounding Damian Green
In a statement this morning, the Acting Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, getting his defence in early , Sir Paul Stephenson, said:
"I am properly concerned about the issues being raised within the continuing debate surrounding the ongoing investigation into the leaking of Government information. "
"I have therefore appointed Ian Johnston, Chairman of ACPO Crime Committee and Chief Constable of the British Transport Police, to conduct an urgent review of our decisions, actions and handling of the investigation to date and to provide me with an interim report within 7 days and a final report within two weeks. "
"In the meantime the investigation team will be meeting with the CPS to review progress and consider next steps."
In 1998 Mr Johnston (now 63) was chosen by the Met to make its formal apology in court to the Lawrence family, for the handling of the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. Guradian
The Times reported December 18th 2007 that Ian Johnston was / is picking up a six-figure salary and a full pension after retiring six years ago then returning to work as a chief constable.
Ian Johnston, who leads the British Transport Police (BTP) and is a national police spokesman on organised crime, is the highest-paid officer in the country with an estimated pay-and-pension package of £260,000 a year.
According to the force’s 2006-07 accounts, Mr Johnston, 62, is paid £190,000-£195,000 by the British Transport Police. He became chief constable of the force in May 2001, the year that he retired as an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard. The Times has estimated that his annual pension is in excess of £70,000 – two thirds of the salary for an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard when he stepped down.
During last year Mr Johnston claimed expenses of £6,964.40 – considerably higher than the £5,000 per annum that led to an audit of a senior Scotland Yard officer’s expense claims last month.
The British Transport Police is unlike most Police forces, and does not report to the Home Office.
His force, which is responsible for policing the railway network across Britain, falls under the control of the Department for Transport and has a separate pension scheme.
Mr Johnston is also a lead spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers. He represents the police on issues including forensic science, organised crime, drugs, firearms, fraud and violent crime.
We cannot report which Lodge he is with.
UPDATE : BB4 Radio News confirmed this at 10.00 am
UPDATE Independent 10.30
In a statement, kebab guzzler Jacquie Smith (still, amazingly Home Secretary) is reported issuing a statement (not available on Home Office website)
"I welcome Sir Paul's appointment of Chief Constable Ian Johnston to conduct a review of the Metropolitan Police Service's decisions, actions and handling to date of the ongoing investigation into the leaking of Government information. "
"In view of the gravity and sensitivity of this ongoing investigation, I spoke to Sir Paul yesterday to seek his assurance that the investigation was being pursued diligently, sensitively and in a proportionate manner. Sir Paul informed me of his intention to conduct a review of the handling of the case, which I welcomed. "
"I reiterated my support for the police's operational independence from political interference. "
"No-one should seek to prejudice a police investigation in any way. These are very serious matters, and the police should be free to pursue their investigations without fear or favour."
Boris Johnson also welcomed Mr Johnston's appointment: "I welcome Sir Paul Stephenson's sensible appointment of Ian Johnston to lead a thorough review of the handling of the investigation and arrest of Damien Green MP.
"It is right that someone independent (?!) should look closely at how the police conducted this investigation and whether the actions and decisions they took were proportionate and necessary and I am pleased at the common sense approach this represents."