Lord Stevens said he had encountered an atmosphere of mistrust between the press and the police. He tried to change that by encouraging his officers to talk to the press.
He said he had had 12 separate meetings with Rebekah Wade, former news editor of the News of the World, but he said he had not favoured any one particular newspaper group and he would have investigated phone hacking had it happened in his time very thoroughly.
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The former England captain said he was "overwhelmed" by the messages he received from football fans after Rebecca died from cancer.
David Cameron said the measure, which will save £4 million by 2020, showed a commitment to his "all in this together" approach.
The party has dropped its opposition to an in/out referendum on EU membership and now supports a vote, acting leader Harriet Harman said.