Phone-hack squad examining '300m emails'

Scotland Yard’s phone-hacking squad is working its way through 300 million emails from News International, the force’s chief has disclosed.

Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said police had already spent up to £3 million on salaries, with officers speaking to 1,800 of 6,000 potential victims.

Hogan-Howe said the “scale of the task is pretty large” as it emerged that a total of 120 officers and staff are now working on the investigation.

But the investigation would not be rushed, he said at New Scotland Yard, adding: “You either do it properly or you do it quickly.”

Referring to criticism of the first investigation into illegal activities at the News of the World, he said: “It is best that we do it thoroughly.”

Asked about cost, Hogan-Howe said there was an issue “for society” in how far the Metropolitan Police pushed the investigation.

But he added: “We have now got over 100 people working on this case which just shows the scale of it and seriousness with which we are taking it.”

Asked if evidence of phone-hacking had been discovered at other newspaper groups, he said: “We will follow the evidence.”

A total of 1,800 victims had come forward to speak to police.

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