26 Jan 2011

Police launch fresh NOTW phone hack investigation

As police launch a fresh investigation into claims of phone-hacking at the News of the World, a Conservative MP tells Channel 4 News it raises serious questions about the Met’s handling of the case.

Police relaunch News of the World phone hack investigation.

Police say they have received “significant new information” about the phone-hacking scandal and have launched a fresh investigation.

Senior officers said the complex inquiry is now being led by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers at the specialist crime directorate.

It has been moved from the Met’s counter-terrorism command. A police spokesman said the change was necessary because of the terror workload and a continuing “severe” level of threat.

Shortly after the announcement the News of the World revealed it had sacked one of its senior editors, Ian Edmonson.

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A police spokesman confirmed: “The Met has today received significant new information relating to allegations of phone hacking at the News of the World in 2005/06. As a result, the Met is launching a new investigation to consider this material.

“This work will be carried out by the specialist crime directorate which has been investigating a related phone-hacking allegation since September 2010.”

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson quit his job as Downing Street communications chief on Friday saying “when the spokesman needs a spokesman” it is time to go.

Mr Coulson issued a statement confirming his resignation in which he reiterated his innocence at the allegations made against him.

Read more: phone-hacking is the story that won't go away

‘Serious questions’

The latest developments have prompted criticism of the Met’s handling of the case.

Conservative MP John Whittingdale, who chairs the Commons Culture committee which has investigated Mr Coulson, told Channel 4 News that police had “serious questions” to answer.

“This has all come about on the basis of information which was available to police five years ago so it begs the question why they never did anything with it.

He continued: “These are matters which should have been resolved at the time. It’s not the fault of the News of the World.

“I would say this raises very serious questions about thoroughness and attitudes of the Met police at the time.”

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