The Met’s phone-hacking unit Operation Weeting has confirmed the number of potential victims of mobile phone voicemail interception by the News of the World has risen to almost 5,800.
The last update from Scotland Yard back in July put the number of potential victims at 3,870. The figure was based on a list of first and second names recovered in material from private investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Met said: ‘Operation Weeting continues to analyse relevant material.
“It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phones have actually been ‘hacked’ but we can confirm that as of today’s date (3 November 2011) the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material (and who may therefore be victims), where names are noted, is 5,795.’
It added: ‘This figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis.’
On 8 July the head of Operation Weeting, Detective Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers, told the Home Affairs Select Committee they were trawling through 11,000 pages of evidence, as she outlined the scale of the challenge facing the police force.
By July the Met had contacted only 170 suspected victims, according to a Home Office report released at the end of that month.
The report claimed that if the investigation continued at its current pace it could take a decade to contact everyone that was affected.
It said the timeframe of the investigation was ‘clearly absurd’and that it underlined the need for more resources to be made available to DAC Akers, adding that it was ‘impossible to predict when the investigation would be complete”.