Post Office Horizon IT scandal: 80 detectives across UK set to investigate

28 May 2024, 05:46 | Updated: 28 May 2024, 08:02

The criminal investigation into the Post Office scandal is to be expanded, with 80 detectives set to be involved.

The Metropolitan Police started examining possible offences, including perjury and perverting the course of justice, in January 2020.

This is now widening to forces across the UK as a public inquiry into the scandal progresses.

Hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongly convicted of theft and false accounting because of a faulty IT system called Horizon.

Met Commander Stephen Clayman, who is overseeing the investigation, said officers understood the "widespread and devastating impact" of the scandal.

He added: "A team of detectives has been painstakingly working through millions of documents manually and with the help of specialist software, in parallel with the public inquiry. This is very time consuming and we cannot cut corners and risk missing evidence.

"Given the significant scale of the investigation, it has been agreed by the National Police Chiefs' Council that the next phase of the investigation will be a national policing effort, coordinated by the Met, with the pursuit of justice at its heart.

"We do not underestimate the seriousness of the task at hand and we are determined to carry out a full investigation with independence, precision and integrity."

Read more:
More than £1m Post Office 'profit' may have come from victims
Scotland unveils plan to exonerate sub-postmasters

The Post Office and Fujitsu - which developed the Horizon software - have been under police investigation for over four years following a referral from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, a final charging decision can only be made once the public inquiry reaches its conclusions - and while hearings are set to conclude later this year, a final report may only be published in late 2025.

According to The Guardian, officers have asked the government for £6.75m to fund their expanded investigation.