Page last updated at 14:24 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 15:24 UK

Top police officer's book blocked

Andy Hayman
Andy Hayman retired from the Metropolitan Police in 2007

A book by the police officer who once oversaw the fight against al-Qaeda has been blocked by the attorney general.

Baroness Scotland QC served an injunction against The Terrorist Hunters hours before the book was due to go on sale on Thursday.

The memoir is by Andy Hayman, a retired assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

The book covers some of the alleged terror plots that have happened in the UK since the 9/11 attacks on the US.

The attorney general's office announced the injunction late on Wednesday evening, after it was granted by an unnamed High Court judge. The reasons for granting the injunction cannot be published for legal reasons.

Mr Hayman retired from the force in 2007, having ended his policing career as the UK's most senior police officer responsible for counter-terrorism strategy.

The book, published by Bantam Press, is billed as the definitive inside story of the UK's fight against terrorism.

I find it surprising as commissioner that I have no right on this occasion to have access to the book before it is published
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson

It covers Mr Hayman's recollections of the investigations into the London suicide bombings, the botched 21 July attacks and the suspected radiation poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko.

Large sections of the 372-page book, co-written by Margaret Gilmore, a former BBC journalist, have already been serialised in the Times newspaper.

The BBC understands that while the book has not been publicly available, copies have been circulating among senior lawyers and officials involved in counter-terrorism cases and policy.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson, a former colleague of Mr Hayman, said last week that he had not been given a preview copy and was reluctant to give it more publicity.

"I find it surprising as commissioner that I have no right on this occasion to have access to the book before it is published," Sir Paul told the Metropolitan Police Authority.

"That surprises me. It is troublesome and it does not help good conduct."

A spokeswoman for the publishers declined to comment.



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