The plebgate row has clouded the public view of Scotland Yard and has taken too long to deal with, Britain's most senior police officer has admitted.
Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said:
"During the time this thing has been an issue, the Met has been performing better than ever. We've just got to live with the reality - the newspaper headlines, the fact that you're talking about it, clouds the fact that crime's coming down at its fastest for 30 years.
"This issue's got to be resolved and we've got to deal with it."
He added: "We're all eager to see the outcome of this inquiry and that we get back to some kind of normality, because I think it's not good for the police and it's not good for public confidence.
I'm determined to get to the bottom of it, we've got a thorough investigation and we really now have to await the outcome of that."
The mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence will meet Britain's most senior police officer today to discuss claims that undercover officers hunted for information to smear her family.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has told the London Assembly he will try to answer some of the 13 questions her lawyer has put forward. But Mr Hogan-Howe says it is not for him to call for a public inquiry
Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said if the allegations of a smear plot against Stephen Lawrence's family are true, it would be a "disgrace" and the force would apologise.
He said: "I am personally shocked by the allegations that an undercover officer was told to find evidence that might smear the Lawrence family.
"The additional allegations that this was concealed from a public inquiry, and that Stephen's friend Duwayne Brooks was targeted, are also very serious. If these allegations are true, it's a disgrace, and the Metropolitan Police Service will apologise.
"It's imperative that we find out the truth about what happened as quickly as possible."
He added: "Undercover officers have achieved some extraordinary things in the fight against serious crime and violent disorder. But smearing the family of a murder victim would never be acceptable to me or my officers.
"We must now focus on examining these allegations of inappropriate activity so that the public can see that police are held to account for past actions."
Commenting on the recent arrest of of a PC over the alleged leak of information about Andrew Mitchells's tirade at police, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said:
It’s quite difficult at the moment for a couple of reasons. First of all we’ve got a criminal investigation, I hope people understand. And secondly the IPCC are supervising that inquiry so we have to work within the constraints of that.
The only thing I can say is that I hope people can understand that when we’re able to explain why we made the arrest that it’s not all as it appears. At the moment we’re just trying to explain that. I understand that people have got the view that they’ve got about it being a whistleblower that we’ve arrested. That’s a small element of this but there are many more aspects which I hope people understand when we’re able to explain it in time. There’s no good compromising the investigation.