Police chief accuses Tories of dirty tricks over arrest inquiry

Author: By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick claimed he had fallen
victim to dirty tricks in an attempt to sabotage the investigation that led
to the arrest of Tory front-bencher Damian Green.

But the Conservatives flatly denied the allegation and cast doubt on his
fitness to continue as head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism squad.

Mr Quick provoked the bad-tempered clash with the Opposition after the Mail on
Sunday disclosed the business ? promoted on the internet with pictures of
luxury cars available for hire with chauffeurs ? was run from the couple’s
home.

He launched an extraordinary tirade against the Conservatives yesterday,
alleging they were responsible for planting the story. He said he had been
forced to move his family to a new address as the report could help identify
where they lived.

Mr Quick claimed the “Tory machinery and their press friends” were
opposing the investigation into Mr Green “in a wholly corrupt way”.

He added: “It is a very spiteful act, possibly to intimidate me away from
investigating Mr Green, and I feel it has put my family at risk.”

The Conservatives said the claims were “absurd and wholly untrue”
and said they knew nothing about the publication of the story. They also
hinted he was motivated by sympathy for Labour.

A spokesman said: “As the officer leading the inquiry into the
allegations involving Damian Green, Assistant Commissioner Quick should
display objective professionalism and not make baseless, political attacks.”

As the Tories indicated they were prepared to take legal action over his
comments, Mr Quick later issued a partial apology but made clear he stood by
the majority of his outburst.

“I regret and wish to retract my comment regarding corruption,” he
said. “The comment was made as I was in the act of having to move my
family out of our home to a place of safety following the article in today’s
Mail on Sunday.”

The police faced widespread accusations of abusing their powers last month
after Mr Quick approved the arrest of Mr Green and the raid on his Commons
office over his links with a Home Office mole.

Scotland Yard is expected to abandon its investigation after a critical
internal report questioned whether its officers had acted proportionately.

Mr Quick said there had been a series of “entirely untrue”
allegations about his investigation in the media and he would consult his
solicitor today about taking further action.

Tension has been simmering between Mr Quick and the Conservative hierarchy
since Mr Green was questioned for nine hours over his links with a Home
Office official suspected of leaking material embarrassing to the Government.

They have previously suggested that he and the former Met Commissioner, Sir
Ian Blair, had allowed themselves to become too close to Labour by making
the case for the 42-day detention of terrorist suspects.

Mr Quick, the former Chief Constable of Surrey Police, has applied for the
vacant post of Met Commissioner, but has not reached the short-list of four.

According to yesterday’s report, his wife, Judith, maintains a fleet of
classic cars for hire for weddings with former police officers behind the
wheel. They are also offered for race meetings, corporate functions and
theatre trips.

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