The Metropolitan Police has been accused of "a form of institutional corruption" for concealing or denying failings over the unsolved murder of private investigator Daniel Morgan.
A report by an independent panel said the force’s first objective was to "protect itself" for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Mr Morgan’s murder, the panel’s chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said.
Mr Morgan was killed with an axe in the car park of the Golden Lion pub in Sydenham, south-east London, on March 10 1987.
Despite five police inquiries and an inquest, no-one has been brought to justice over the father-of-two’s death, with the Metropolitan Police admitting corruption had hampered the original murder investigation.
The Met owes Mr Morgan’s family, and the public, an apology for not confronting its systemic failings and those of individual officers, the report said.
In a statement through their lawyer, the family of Mr Morgan said: "We welcome the recognition that we – and the public at large – have been failed over the decades by a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day."
His brother, Alastair Morgan, had hoped the long-awaited report into his death would find institutionalised corruption within the police. He has said he expects the report to contain "a sizeable chapter on corruption".
He said Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick should "absolutely" be considering her position in light of the report into his brother’s murder.
Alistair Morgan, brother of Daniel Morgan, said Cressida Dick should "absolutely" be considering her position in light of the report into his murder.
Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Home Secretary Priti Patel, making a statement on the Daniel Morgan report, told MPs: "It’s devastating that 34 years after he was murdered, nobody has been brought to justice.
Ms Patel described the Daniel Morgan case as "one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the Metropolitan Police".
She told MPs: "The report itself is deeply alarming and finds examples of corrupt behaviour – corrupt behaviour was not limited to the first investigation, that the Metropolitan Police made a litany of mistakes and that this irreparably damaged the chances of successful prosecution of Daniel Morgan’s murder."
Ms Patel added: "The report accuses the Metropolitan Police of a form of institutional corruption.
"Police corruption is a betrayal of everything policing stands for in this country. It erodes public confidence in our entire criminal justice system. It undermines democracy and civilised society.
"We look to the police to protect us and so they are invested with great power."
The Home Secretary said the "overwhelming majority" of officers use this power honourably but criticised those who do "terrible harm" by misusing it or who "indulge cover-up or ignore corruption".
In 2013, then-home secretary Theresa May announced that an independent panel was being set up to examine the case.
The publication of the report follows a furious row between the Home Office, Independent Panel and Mr Morgan’s family over its release, which was originally due to take place in May.
After eight years in the making, the Home Office said that it may need to redact parts of the document on national security or human rights grounds.
Mr Morgan’s family said the move was a "kick in the teeth", and called on Home Secretary Priti Patel to consider the distress the delay caused them.
An agreement was eventually reached that a small Home Office team could read the report in advance, and last week it was confirmed that the full, unredacted report would be published.
The 'Report of the Daniel Morgan Independent Panel', created to probe law enforcement's handling of the case
Credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
The panel’s remit was to address questions relating to the murder including police handling of the case, the role corruption played in protecting Mr Morgan’s killer, and the links between private investigators, police and journalists connected to the case.
Speaking in May, Alastair Morgan said: "I’m hoping to see a conclusion of institutionalised corruption.
"There’s been some very bad policing going on there. And not just at the beginning – it went on and on and on in one way or another.
"In the current situation I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that anyone will ever be convicted of the murder because of the mess that has been made en route.
"Nor do I believe that any of the police officers who were involved in discreditable activity or activity that is criticised by the panel will face any disciplinary or criminal action.
"But I just hope that this situation, this kind of injustice, will be highlighted by the panel."