9 Feb 2011

Police to contact possible NOTW phone hack victims

Police investigating the phone-hack scandal are looking at new evidence and taking “urgent steps” to inform possible victims. MP Tom Watson tells Channel 4 News it’s “reassuring” progress.

Police to contact potential phone hacking victims

Celebrities and public figures who were told by police that their phones were not hacked into – allegedly by staff at the News of the World – could now be told otherwise, as detectives uncover new evidence.

A press release from the Metropolitan Police said there remained no proof that more people had been victims, but police are taking “urgent steps” to contact individuals previously eliminated from the case.

The statement read: “Having begun an analysis of the documents seized in 2005 alongside the new evidence, the team have been able to make some links not previously identified.

“As a result, the team have also identified some individuals who were previously advised that there was little or no information held by the Met relating to them within the case papers and exhibits and this is now being reviewed.

“At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest that their voicemails were hacked but this will be an important and immediate new line of inquiry.”

Tom Watson, the Labour MP for West Bromwich East, and who has been monitoring the phone hacking claims amongst fellow parliamentarians closely, told Channel 4 News that although the development represented progress, serious questions about previous police work.

“It’s extremely concerning that targets who were told their phones weren’t hacked into actually were the victims of crimes,” he said.

“But it is reassuring that the new Met team appears to be getting on top of the investigation.”

On Monday, Mr Watson told Channel 4 News that at least four MPs believe they have had their phones hacked in the last month.

He said that the parliamentarians are made up of two senior Labour MPs, one Conservative and one Lib Dem.

Among those who suspect their phones had been hacked into, but have yet to receive confirmation by the Met are Tessa Jowell, David Davis, Simon Hughes and Lord Mandelson, and BBC presenter Andrew Neill.