Britain's police chief resigns over hacking scandal

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Britain's London Police chief Paul Stephenson resigned on Sunday after he was accused of having links with the phone hacking scandal of the News of the World. 

Britain's London Police chief Paul Stephenson

Britain's London Police chief Paul Stephenson 

"I have this afternoon informed the Palace, Home Secretary and the Mayor of my intention to resign as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service," said the police chief in a statement.

"I have taken this decision as a consequence of the ongoing speculation and accusations relating to the Met's links with News International at a senior level and in particular in relation to Mr Neil Wallis who as you know was arrested in connection with Operation Weeting last week."

Stephenson was criticized for hiring former News of the World Deputy Editor Wallis, who was questioned by police investigating phone hacking, as an adviser.

Stephenson denied accusations that the department suspected Wallis' involvement in phone-hacking when they hired him as a consultant.

"I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging, nor of its apparent reach into senior levels," the police chief said. "I saw senior figures from News International providing evidence that the misbehavior was confined to a rogue few and not known about at the top."

It was also alleged that Stephenson spent time at a health farm where Wallis was working as a PR consultant after an operation on his leg before Christmas.

"Let me state clearly, I and the people who know me know that my integrity is completely intact," Paul said. "I may wish we had done some things differently, but I will not lose sleep over my personal integrity." 

Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday in a statement that Sir Paul had enjoyed "a long and distinguished career in the police".

"While I know that today must be a very sad occasion for him, I respect and understand his decision to leave the Met, and I wish him well for the future.

"What matters most of all now is that the Metropolitan Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority do everything possible to ensure the investigations into phone hacking and alleged police corruption proceed with all speed, with full public confidence and with all the necessary leadership and resources to bring them to an effective conclusion."

It is expected that the deputy cheif Tim Godwin will replace Paul as the police chief with almost immediate effect, before a more formal appointment process takes place, BBC reported.

According to BBC reports, Home Secretary Theresa May said she was "sorry" Paul had resigned and thanked him for all the work he had done during his time in office.

"Sir Paul has led the force through difficult times and although current circumstances show that there are still serious issues to be addressed, I believe that the force is operationally stronger today now than it was when he took over," she said.

The News of the World was the best selling Sunday newspaper of the News International, a subsidiary firm of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

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