Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis: Investigation into Death of Diana, Princess of Wales

House of Lords written question – answered on 17th May 2004.

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Photo of Lord Fyfe of Fairfield Lord Fyfe of Fairfield Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether it is an appropriate use of police resources for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to conduct an investigation into the death of Diana, Princess of Wales; and whether this will divert resources from the prevention of terrorism in the United Kingdom.

Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Minister of State, Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Criminal Justice and Offender Management)

Operational decisions by the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis on the deployment of allocated resources in response to the request by the Coroner of the Queen's Household are a matter for him.

Following the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al-Fayed, the Metropolitan Police Service has assisted the coroner to prepare for his inquiries into the deaths. At the opening of the inquest on Diana, Princess of Wales, on 6 January, Mr Michael Burgess, who is both Coroner of the Queen's Household and the Surrey Coroner, requested that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police look into allegations that the circumstances of the deaths were not as a result of a tragic accident. The commissioner subsequently established a small team who are tasked to assist the coroner in reviewing the information available from the French inquiry. This also includes carrying out further inquiries to ascertain if there is any credible evidence to support the allegations that have been made.

The team is working in close co-operation with the French authorities throughout the inquiries being undertaken. This was reinforced through the commissioner's recent visit to Paris. It is wholly appropriate for police resources to be used in providing the coroner with information that will enable him to fulfil his responsibilities. The police service provides such services on a regular basis to coroners throughout the country.

We recognise the current high threat from international terrorism. That is why we are providing the Metropolitan Police Authority this year with £61 million specifically to counter this threat. The resources being used to support the coroner are not being diverted from any counter-terrorism activity.

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