The UK has a press-controlled state rather than a state-controlled press. Phone hacking lawyer Mark Lewis reports on lessons from Leveson
Sue Akers, deputy assistant commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, told the Leveson Inquiry today that there are 6,349 potential victims of phone hacking identified in the evidence being investigated. This material included 11,000 pages of notes by private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Akers added that the number of “likely victims” — those whose names featured other details that suggested they had been, or had the potential to be, hacked — was 829.
Of this figure, 581 have been contacted, 231 were “uncontactable” and 17 have not been contacted for operational reasons.
Bringing the Leveson Inquiry up to date with the status of Operation Elveden, which investigates payments to police officers, Akers said 40 officers were working on allegations of police corruption, but there were plans to expand that figure to 61 following the arrest of four journalists at the Sun on 28 January.
Akers said there was a “very legitimate” public interest in Elveden, which was launched last summer. “If the public think that information is being leaked by police officers to journalists, then it is inevitable that public confidence is eroded,” she said.
A total of 14 people have been arrested as part of the investigation, including four journalists. Akers said that the also police wanted to question a fifth unnamed journalist who is currently abroad.
She added that she was “less confident” about being closer to the end of Operation Elveden than she was about Operation Weeting, the investigation into phone hacking that is running in parallel with Elveden.
Akers agreed with Robert Jay QC that she was “nearer the finishing line than the starting gun” of Weeting. Ninety police are working on Operation Weeting, with 35 focused on dealing with victims.
A total of 17 people have been arrested — 15 are on bail and the remaining two have had no further action taken against them — while police have been going through 300 million emails recovered from News International in November, which Akers said was progressing at a “relatively advanced stage”.
Akers updated the Inquiry on a third investigation, Operation Tuleta, which is examining allegations of computer hacking conducted by newspapers. She said 20 officers were looking at 57 separate allegations of “data intrusion” dating as far back as the late 1980s.
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