Police chief quits, Brooks arrested

The phone hacking scandal has claimed its most high profile scalp yet, with the resignation of Britain’s most senior police officer.

Paul Stephenson’s resignation came just hours after the arrest of Rebekah Brooks – Rupert Murdoch’s former British newspaper chief – on suspicion of phone hacking and bribing police.

Stephenson said he was resigning as commissioner of London’s force because of “speculation and accusations” about his links to Neil Wallis, a former News of the World executive editor, who also worked for the London police as a part-time PR consultant for a year until September 2010. Wallis was arrested last week.

Stephenson said he did not make the decision to hire Wallis and had no knowledge of Wallis’s links to phone hacking, but he wanted his police force to focus on preparing for the 2012 London Olympics instead of wondering about a possible leadership change.

“I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging,” Stephenson said.

“I will not lose any sleep over my personal integrity.”

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