It might be not less than two years till any felony prices are introduced over the Post Office scandal, Britain’s most senior police officer has mentioned.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has warned detectives should learn “tens of millions of documents” to determine whether or not legal guidelines have been damaged, and that may in all probability take not less than till 2026.
A nationwide investigation will solely begin as soon as the general public inquiry into the scandal has introduced its findings, anticipated to be late subsequent 12 months.
Hundreds of sub-postmasters have been wrongly convicted of stealing after the faulty Horizon accounting system, developed by Fujitsu’s ICL enterprise, made it appear like cash was lacking at their branches.
The Post Office additionally pressured not less than 4,000 department managers to pay again money based mostly on the flawed information.
One of these workers, former sub-postmaster Alan Bates, impressed the hit ITV drama Mr Bates Vs The Post Office, which introduced the scandal to a wider public.
Sir Mark instructed LBC: “We’re now working with police forces across the country to pull together what will have to be a national investigation, which we’ll pull together because there’s hundreds of postmasters and mistresses from across the country.
“Fujitsu are based in one part of the country and the Post Office is another part of the country, (it’s a) massive piece of work to do.
“There are tens of thousands and thousands of paperwork to be labored by in a felony investigation,” he mentioned, which means they will not end earlier than 2026.
An intensive investigation might be wanted to see if any there was any felony intent, and that “won’t be quick”, he mentioned.
“At the core of the issue you’ve potentially got fraud in terms of false documents if it’s for financial purposes, and you’ve potentially got perverting the course of justice if people have deliberately set in train evidence into a legal process, which they know is false. That would be perverting the course of justice,” he added.
“To prove this to a criminal standard is different to what’s in a documentary.
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“Clearly, we’ve to show past all affordable doubt, actually 99.99%, that people knowingly corrupted one thing, in order that’s going method past incompetence, it’s important to show deliberate malice, and that must be finished very completely with an exhaustive investigation. So it will not be fast.”
He mentioned police providers throughout the nation perceive the calls for and “will do everything we can to bring people to justice if criminal offences can be proven”.
On Tuesday, Fujitsu apologised for its half “in this appalling miscarriage of justice”. The public inquiry into the Post Office Horizon scandal continues right now.