Met to lead nationwide probe into Post Office Horizon Scandal, Commissioner tells LBC

17 January 2024, 08:29 | Updated: 17 January 2024, 09:08

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley speaks to LBC
Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley speaks to LBC. Picture: LBC/Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

The Metropolitan Police will lead a national criminal investigation into the Post Office Horizon scandal, Sir Mark Rowley has told LBC.

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The Commissioner of the Met told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the force was working with police forces across the country "to pull together what will be a national investigation".

"[We] will pull together because there’s hundreds of postmasters and mistresses across the country. Fujitsu are based in one part of the country, the Post Office in another, [it's a] massive piece of work," Sir Mark told LBC.

He added that there were "tens of millions of documents to be worked through in a criminal investigation".

But it will be much longer before any potential criminal convictions are brought about.

Sir Mark told LBC he expected the investigation would not begin until 2026 at the earliest, as it will have to follow the public inquiry, which will deliver its verdict towards the end of next year.

Met to lead nationwide probe into Post Office Horizon Scandal, Commissioner tells LBC

"Of course we’ve got to do that following on behind the public inquiry, which I think finishes at the end of this year but won’t publish until late next year," he said.

“This is going to be a big detective team, probably tens of officers doing that. My lead on that, Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, is working with chiefs across the country to build that national framework.”

Read More: Post Office boss admits ‘it’s a possibility’ Horizon scandal victims’ money may have been paid to executives

Read More: Calls for Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to resign over 'links to ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells'

The Post Office Horizon scandal was thrust into the limelight once again earlier this month following its dramatisation in the new ITV drama 'Mr Bates vs the Post Office'.

It told how hundreds of sub-postmasters were wrongfully accused of stealing from the Post Office after Fujitsu's Horizon IT system displayed false financial discrepancies.

Jo Hamilton's former Post Office in South Warnborough
Jo Hamilton's former Post Office in South Warnborough. Picture: Getty

A number of sub-postmasters have had their wrongful convictions overturned, though hundreds more are still waiting for justice and compensation.

The Government announced last week that all postmasters would have their convictions overturned once a new law has been brought in.

Meanwhile, the Post Office minister, Kevin Hollinrake, previously told LBC that he expected all compensation to be paid out by August.

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