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by Kirsteen Paterson
19 May 2022
Partygate: More fines as Met Police closes Operation Hillman

Partygate: More fines as Met Police closes Operation Hillman

The Metropolitan Police probe into 'partygate' has closed after the issue of 126 fines, the force has confirmed.

The criminal investigation into rule-busting gatherings at Downing Street and Whitehall has cost close to £500,000.

Today the London force says it has ended after the issue of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) over eight events held at Downing Street and Whitehall over an 11 month period.

Full details of these have not been revealed, but Downing Street previously confirmed that the Prime Minister had received one. His wife, Carrie Johnson, was issued another, as was the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Now the Met says no more will follow as Operation Hillman ends.

The force said: "The breakdown of recipients is, 53 were men and 73 were women. Some people received more than one FPN.

"We will not be releasing or confirming the identity of anyone involved in this investigation or providing further details of our findings, in line with the approach we’ve taken throughout the pandemic."

A team of 12 detectives investigated events spanning from 20 May 2020 to 12 April last year. The work cost the taxpayer £460,000.

They examined 345 documents, including emails, door logs, diary entries and witness statements, as well as 510 photographs and CCTV images and 204 questionnaires as part of what the London force describes as "a careful and thorough enquiry".

The closure of the criminal investigation now clears the way for the release of the full report by senior civil servant Sue Gray. While some findings were published, other parts of her internal inquiry were withheld, pending the conclusion of the Met's work.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Helen Ball, of the Met said: "There is no doubt that the pandemic impacted all of us in so many ways and strong feelings and opinions have been expressed on this particular issue.

"When Covid regulations were introduced, the Met was clear that whilst we would not routinely investigate breaches of regulations retrospectively, there may be occasions when it would be appropriate to do so.

"The information that we received with regard to the alleged breaches in Downing Street and Whitehall was sufficient to reach our criteria to begin such an investigation.

"Our investigation was thorough and impartial and was completed as quickly as we could, given the amount of information that needed to be reviewed and the importance of ensuring that we had strong evidence for each FPN referral.

"This investigation is now complete."

Read the most recent article written by Kirsteen Paterson - Broken record: What do House of Lords defeats say about the UK Government?

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