Leading article: A dreadful silence that the police must account for

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The Independent Online

The more the truth emerges about the investigation into the disappearance of Milly Dowler the more shocking this episode becomes. Nine years of silence and denial by Surrey Police over its links to the News of the World and the almost decade-long cover-up of how much it and two other police forces knew about the hacking of Milly's phone in 2002 have been exposed in a summary of a police report given to Parliament yesterday.

Surrey Police is now revealed as having been fully aware of how News of the World journalists illegally hacked into her mobile phone, and yet did nothing about it. Phone hacking had yet to become a way of life at the now-defunct title. Had the police acted there and then, the practice could have been stamped on, and the great unravelling that has led to Leveson might never have happened. The questions that must be asked of the police are just as urgent as those that the press is having to face.