New head of hacking investigation 'critical of previous inquiry'

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The Independent Online

The officer in charge of the new investigation into phone hacking told one of its highest-profile possible victims that she was "not satisfied" with the original police inquiry. John Prescott, the former deputy prime minister, said that Assistant Deputy Commissioner Sue Akers had expressed her dissatisfaction of the initial inquiry during discussion of the failings that led to officers not warning him that his messages may have been illegally intercepted while he was helping to run the country.

Lord Prescott, who has been told by police there is evidence that he may have been a target of the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire who was working for the News of the World in 2005 and 2006, heavily criticised the initial Metropolitan Police inquiry.

He also claimed that "hundreds" of journalists from across the newspaper industry had been engaging in phone hacking. "The papers have been at it for years," he told BBC Breakfast. "There have been hundreds of journalists hacking phones in all the newspapers."

After they went through the findings of the first investigation, officers from Scotland Yard working on the new investigation disclosed on Wednesday that they had identified individuals who had wrongly been told that there was little or no evidence about them in paperwork seized from Mulcaire's house in 2006. They are in the process of notifying up to 20 people that they may have fallen victim to the scandal.

The Metropolitan Police launched the new investigation last month after receiving new evidence from Rupert Murdoch's News International relating to the News of the World's former head of news, Ian Edmondson, who has been sacked by the newspaper. He denies any wrongdoing. Mulcaire and the NOTW's royal editor Clive Goodman were jailed in 2007 for illegally accessing the voicemails of members of the royal household.

Ms Akers visited Lord Prescott to outline the evidence found about him, which indicates he may have been targeted in 2006, about the time he admitted having an affair with his diary secretary, Tracey Temple. Lord Prescott – who has been seeking a judicial review of the initial police investigation – told Sky News that Ms Akers had told him she was "not satisfied" with the original police investigation. "She showed me substantial evidence to show the judgement that she wasn't satisfied with the previous inquiry," he said.

"She showed me evidence that my phones were involved in a hacking process, with messages from different people. It convinced her and me, as I've always suspected, that not all the evidence had been properly investigated."

He added: "If [the police] had my name on a list, why didn't they warn me? I was the deputy prime minister talking to the PM and the Chancellor and many other important people."