The Metropolitan Police commissioner said she has “no intention of resigning” as she faced down accusations that the force was institutionally corrupt.
Dame Cressida Dick hit back at the findings from an inquiry into the Daniel Morgan case as she defended Scotland Yard’s work and her job.
She dismissed calls to resign after the publication of a damning report on the unsolved 1987 murder of private investigator Mr Morgan, insisting she did not obstruct the work of an independent panel looking at the case.
Led by Baroness Nuala O’Loan, the panel found the Met had put protecting its own reputation above finding Mr Morgan’s killer.
The panel’s report said: “Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”
The Met admitted in 2011 that the grossly inadequate first investigation into Mr Morgan’s murder – which saw the murder scene left unsearched and unguarded – had been hampered by corruption.
But the panel found that corruption had gone on after the initial inquiry and questioned why no action had been taken to bring those who sabotaged the first investigation to justice.
The Met chief told reporters on Wednesday: “I don’t believe we are institutionally corrupt. No, I don’t accept that.
“I have the deepest feelings for Daniel Morgan’s family. They have shown extraordinary grit and determination and courage.
“Yesterday, I apologised again to them for our failings and the fact that we have not brought anybody to justice despite six investigations and countless other reviews and pieces of work.
“And for the fact that, in so doing and along the way, we have clearly, we the Met, my force of which I’m very proud to be the Commissioner, we have caused them extra anguish.
“But I don’t accept that we are institutionally corrupt, no.”
Dame Cressida was criticised in the 1,200-page document for having initially denied the panel access to the police HOLMES database as it investigated the case, but she has insisted the force had given the panel team “maximum co-operation”.
She said: “I didn’t obstruct their work. I set out with my team, who were well resourced, to ensure that we gave the panel maximum co-operation, and that we did full disclosure, as quickly as we could.
“I look back and know that I acted with integrity, and that I was at all times trying to fulfil my duty there to the family and to the panel.
“Having said that, I look back and think that in the Met, with this very difficult and powerful report landing, we should of course, together with the Home Office and others, look at what happened during that period, and see whether there are any lessons to be learned for any future possible similar panel.
“Because we would want, of course, to work as effectively as possible with them and have as good communication as possible with them.
“But I have no intention of resigning.”
A string of police investigations and an inquest have failed to convict anyone of the killing or any associated corruption in protecting those responsible.
The numerous inquiries into the case have largely been due to the campaigning efforts of Mr Morgan’s brother Alastair, who has fought for justice for more than 30 years.
He described the findings as an “historic result” but expressed regret that his mother Isobel Hulsmann, who died in 2017, did not live to see the report’s publication, something that he blames on the Met.
In the wake of the report’s findings, he said the Met commissioner should “absolutely” be considering her position.
But Dame Cressida said it is her job to focus on leading the Met through “what has been in the last 15 months, for all sorts of reasons, some pretty challenging times”.
She added: “My people do very difficult work, they have to make very difficult decisions, often with far too little time, sometimes with far too little information.
“I’m very proud of them. I love my job and I will continue to do it.
“I’m an honourable person. If I thought I should be considering my position I would be, but I don’t.”