Met reinforces phone-hacking probe

Extra resources for the Met's phone-hacking investigation
Extra resources for the Met's phone-hacking investigation

By Alex Stevenson

The Metropolitan police has increased the size of its phone-hacking investigation by 50%.

The decision to raise the number of police officers and staff working on the probe from 45 to 60 follows concerns about resourcing from the home affairs committee, which published its resources yesterday.

Deputy assistant commissioner Sue Akers, who is leading Operation Weeting, said a "surge of enquiries and requests for assistance from the public and solicitors" had led to a "significant increase" in the operation's workload.

There are now thought to be around 12,000 victims of phone-hacking - only 170 of which have been contacted so far.

MPs reported yesterday that at present resource levels the Met would not be able to contact all victims for several years.

"I have said all along that I would keep the resources under review and this has led to the increase," Ms Akers said in a statement last night.

"Similarly, if the demand decreases, I will release officers back to other duties."

Home affairs committee chair Keith Vaz welcomed the announcement as "excellent news".

"The extra resources will assist to help move things along much more quickly," he commented.

Prime minister David Cameron acknowledged that he was aware the Met faced a resourcing problem in parliament yesterday - before Ms Akers increased the numbers involved in the phone-hacking investigation.

"I do understand, when there are many thousands of people whose phones were hacked, and given the current rate of progress in contacting them and looking into this, that it could take too long a time to get this done," he said.

"I know there will be conversations with the police and the Metropolitan Police Authority to make sure that adequate resources are put into this investigation, which is already a far bigger investigation than the first, failed investigation, to make sure that they get to the bottom of this."


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