John Yates, born 17 February 1959 was an Assistant Commissioner in the London Metropolitan Police Service. Yates came to prominence for heading the Cash for Peerages investigation. His promotion to Assistant Commissioner was confirmed by the Metropolitan Police Authority on 18 December 2006, he had previously held the position on a temporary basis.
A press release issued by the Metropolitan Police Authority stated that Yates will be a member of the MPS management board: "John Yates will help formulate the strategic direction of the largest police service in the country and will manage a major business area."
He has been humorously dubbed "Yates of the Yard" by the British press following his involvement in a number of cases with high media profiles. In March 2009 it was reported that Yates had been assigned to investigate allegations of torture made against UK anti-terrorism officials and on 9 April 2009, it was announced that he would replace Bob Quick as head of Specialist Operations.
On 18 July 2011, it was announced that Yates had resigned from the Metropolitan Police. The Met said of his resignation: "Assistant Commissioner John Yates has this afternoon indicated his intention to resign to the chair of the MPA Metropolitan police authority. This has been accepted. AC Yates will make a statement later this afternoon."
Yates was educated at Marlborough College, and went on to study at King's College London (BA Hons Medieval and Modern History, 1981) and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge (Dip. Applied Criminol.) He has served as a senior detective in North and West London, according to the MPA press release, and had been the senior investigating officer on over 20 murders. He led the complex corruption inquiries of recent years that led to the imprisonment of six serving detectives for sentences totalling 46 years. He has served on the Association of Chief Police Officers committee on rape. Promotion to the substantive rank of Assistant Commissioner comes with an annual salary of £159,135 and benefits according to the MPA. It also published online a detailed job description for the role.
Cash for peerages inquiry
As Deputy Assistant Commissioner, then acting Assistant Commissioner, Yates headed the team of detectives investigating the allegations that life peerages were awarded in return for loans, and it was a member of his team who interviewed the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair in December 2006. John Yates was also the Met Police's senior officer who travelled to Brazil to meet the family of Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot dead after being mistaken for a terrorist in the immediate aftermath of the London Bombings in July 2005. The profile pre-dates his substantive promotion to AC.
Yates's team handed its main file on the cash for peerages inquiry to the Crown Prosecution Service on Friday 20 April 2007. On 20 July 2007, the CPS announced that no charges would be brought as a result of the investigation, due to the lack of direct evidence of an agreement that would have violated the law forbidding the sale of honours.
Phone hacking scandal
Yates headed the initial Police inquiry into the royal phone hacking scandal in 2006, which led to the imprisonment of two men the following January. In 2011, dramatic developments in the ongoing scandal led to the closure of the News of the World newspaper. Yates faced allegations of wrongdoing, including from Chris Bryant MP, who called for his resignation saying "a very dirty smell" surrounded the Police's conduct in the matter. The main accusations relate to having misled Parliament, having repeatedly reported that there was only evidence of around 10-12 cases, whereas it later emerged that Police had evidence of "a vast number" of victims. John Yates later clarified that he was of the belief that he should refer only to cases where voicemail messages had been shown to have been intercepted prior to them being heard by the intended recipient. He also claimed to have ensured that four major mobile phone companies had informed around 120 people that their messages had been hacked - a claim disputed by the companies involved, two of whom wrote to Scotland Yard stating that this was incorrect. On July 9 2009, Yates issued a statement.
Other criticisms related to failures to inform individuals that there was evidence their phone had been hacked, the perceived lack of thoroughness of the investigation, and failure to take adequate action against officers who were known to have illegally accepted bribes.
In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph published on 9 July 2011, Yates expressed "extreme regret" for the failings in the initial phone hacking inquiry, but dismissed any suggestion of corruption or improper relationships on his part.