LONDON, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- Three top British police officials who quit over the News of the World phone-hacking scandal took severance packages totaling almost $500,000, records show.
The Metropolitan Police force's accounting records, disclosed by The Daily Telegraph, show the three former officials -- Commissioner Paul Stephenson, Assistant Commissioner John Yates, and Dick Fedorcio, the force's director of public affairs -- received severance packages when they resigned.
Stephenson, who stepped down in July 2011 over his decision to employ Neil Wallis, a former deputy editor at the News of the World who has been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking, as a public relations adviser, was given $276,609 as "compensation for loss of office," the records show.
Yates and Fedorcio, who were both accused of misconduct for their roles in the scandal, took severance packages of $135,118 and $78,996 respectively, records show. Yates resigned days after Stephenson, while Fedorcio resigned at the end of March of this year.
Regarding the payments, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "Upon leaving the MPS, individuals may have entered into discussions with the [Metropolitan Police Authority or the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime] regarding their contractual position and recompense."
The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime said the payments were made in accordance with "contractual obligations."
Jenny Jones, the deputy chairman of the police and crime committee on the London Assembly, said: "I'm absolutely appalled. As far as I'm concerned, if somebody resigns they should walk away from the job and not get a penny for it. I think they should have been embarrassed to take the money. It's taxpayers' money -- it's not for frittering away on people who chose to resign."