20/03/2012 07:14 GMT | Updated 20/03/2012 07:58 GMT

Leveson Inquiry: Bernard Hogan Howe's Surprise At Relationship Between Press And Police

The head of the Metropolitan police said the force's relationship with the press was "an issue" and "quite unstable" when he arrived at Scotland Yard in September 2011.

Speaking at the Leveson inquiry into media ethics on Tuesday, Bernard Hogan-Howe said he had been surprised by some relationships between the police and the media. "The frequency of it and the extent, I think that's the thing that's been a surprise," he told the inquiry.

The Met chief, who was brought in after the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson during the height of the News of the World phone hacking scandal, revealed he had accepted "the broad thrust" of the findings of the Filkin report into the relationship between media and the police, which warned that relationship between the Met and journalists has caused "serious harm" .

"On the whole, the broad thrust of the report, we accept," he told the inquiry.

Although the report had been described as patronising, recommending police "watch out" for journalists "flirting," Hogan Howe claimed he didn't see it that way:

"I thought it was written in a sensible style… I didn't take it as patronising for police office, but I can't speak for the journalists who did."

But he said he did not want the relationship between journalists and the police to become "silly", detailing how he recently was ignored at a dinner by a newspaper editor who did not know whether or not the two were allowed to talk.

However he said alcohol was "best avoided", telling the inquiry: "If there is a professional need to meet, it's not clear it needs to be over a meal and if there is alcohol involved, someone's judgment may be clouded."