Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe has said the publication of yesterday's Ellison Report was one of his "worst days" he has seen as a police officer.
The report concluded that evidence of police corruption had been found in the case of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
Mr Hoga-Howe told The Evening Standard: "This was a devastating report for the Metropolitan Police and one of the worst days that I have seen as a police officer.
“To see Neville and Doreen Lawrence struggling through their tears was awful. The Met has come to know them well and I have enormous respect for their quiet dignity and powerful determination to see justice, which I share.
“I cannot rewrite history and the events of the past but I do have a responsibility to ensure the trust and the confidence of the people of London in the Met now and in the future. This will need a considered response to meet head-on the concerns that have been expressed in yesterday’s report.”
Two men convicted of arson attacks on department stores will ask to have their convictions quashed in the first of a raft of cases that could be overturned due to the involvement of undercover police.
Lawyers for Andrew Clarke and Geoff Sheppard claim they were the victims of a miscarriage of justice when they were found guilty of firebombing branches of Debenhams.
They will renew attempts to get the convictions overturned after a damning report by Mark Ellison QC published yesterday found that information obtained by undercover officers had not been disclosed to defence teams and therefore miscarriages of justice may have occurred.
Former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Paul Condon said today "at no stage did I ever authorise, or encourage, or know about any action by any undercover officer" in relation to murdered Stephen Lawrence's family and friends.
David Cameron has said a public inquiry into the work of undercover policing will "make sure we get to the truth".
The inquiry was commissioned after a report into the police inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence uncovered evidence of corruption.
The Prime Minister added: "It should have not taken this long and the Lawrence family have suffered far too much."
Several of today's papers lead with strong headlines after the report into the police inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence uncovered evidence of corruption.
The public inquiry announced today will examine the Special Demonstration Squad, the Metropolitan Police's undercover unit.
It was set up in the 1960s to infiltrate protest groups. One former member has claimed he had been told to find information to smear the Lawrence family.
ITV News correspondent Paul Davies has been looking into the background of the secret squad:
Almost 21 years after Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death, the Home Secretary has ordered a public inquiry into undercover policing .Read the full story ›
Lord Taylor of Holbeach was overcome with emotion when speaking to the House of Lords about the Stephen Lawrence report today.
"Stephen Lawrence was murdered more than 20 years ago and it's deplorable that his family have had to wait so many years for the truth to emerge," the Home Office minister said, speaking opposite Baroness Lawrence, Stephen's mother.
"The findings I have set out today," he continued, his voice cracking, "are profoundly disturbing.
"For the sake of Doreen Lawrence, Neville Lawrence and their family, and the British public, we must act now to address these wrongs."
Our Senior Correspondent Ronke Phillips was with Neville Lawrence as he watched the Home Secretary deliver the report. He spoke about the fight for justice, and how it was far from over.
Stephen Lawrence's mother Baroness Lawrence fought back tears in the House of Lords as she said she and her family had endured "21 years of struggle" and there was "still more to come" following a review into the original investigation into her son's murder.