Since the launch of Operation Weeting five years ago at least 67 UK journalists have been arrested and/or charged.
After an outcry over the many heavy-handed dawn raids, the Met Police changed its modus operandi to interviews under caution. When these are taken into account the total rises above 100.
I've included private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in the tally because he was effectively a full-time member of editorial staff at the News of the World. Some of the charged journalists were not arrested. Many arrested journalists were never charged.
Some of the investigations were pretty laughable. Several journalists were arrested on suspicion of handling a stolen mobile phone because phones belonging to politicians were handed into The Sun. Two of those never even saw the phone in question.
All of those 67 have paid a heavy price. In the early days those arrested had maybe ten officers arrive on their doorstep at 6am, homes searched whilst terrified families looked on, several hours being interviewed in the cells and then years spent reporting for police bail.
At The Sun a whole generation of senior journalists have left the paper after being arrested, charged, suspended and finally cleared.
Some cleared journalists have had their health, relationships and careers ruined.
Over the last five years the UK has arrested more journalists than anywhere else in the Western world. Globally, the countries that compete with us include the likes of Eritrea and Iran.
On hacking, out of 29 arrested: eight individuals have been convicted after admitting offences, one more was found guilty at trial (Andy Coulson).
All the hacking convictions related to the News of the World. From the civil courts it seems that hacking was possibly as widespread at the Mirror titles, but the CPS said on Friday that the evidence was not there for a realistic prospect of convictions. Five Mirror journalists were arrested and a further 15 interviewed under caution in relation to hacking.
Out of 34 journalists arrested and/or charged with illegally paying for stories the end result is two convictions: Dan Evans, who admitted the offence, and Anthony France of The Sun, who is appealing.
Operation Tuleta into computer-hacking secured no convictions. One Times journalist admitted the offence after hacking into a Yahoo email account and was cautioned.
Journalism is important. It is part of the glue that holds society together. It is the means by which those in power are held to account. So I can see why allegations of institutional criminality at national newspapers are something which the police should take seriously.
Phone-hacking was a crooked practice and deserved to be snuffed out.
But the sad thing about the Met's £41.3m investigations into journalists is that hacking had already been purged from the industry after the convictions of Goodman and Mulcaire in 2007.
Payments to public officials were outlawed by the Bribery Act 2010. The computer hacking and mobile phone investigations appear to have been red herrings.
It is difficult to see what all this has achieved.
I suspect that future generations will look back on this and be shocked not by the illegal interception of voicemails, but by the witch-hunt of journalists which ensued.
UK journalists arrested and/or charged in the course of their jobs since 2011
CPCJ=conspiracy to pervert the course of justice
*Charged but not arrested
|Neville Thurlbeck||NoW||Hacking||05/04/2011||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Ian Edmondson||NoW||Hacking, payments||05/04/2011||Yes||Guilty plea (hacking)|
|James Weatherup||NoW||Hacking||14/04/2011||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Andy Coulson||NoW||Hacking, payments, perjury||08/07/2011||Yes||Guilty verdict (hacking)|
|Neil Wallis||NoW||Hacking||14/07/2011||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Rebekah Brooks||NoW, Sun||Hacking, payments, CPCJ||17/07/2011||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Stuart Kuttner||NoW||Hacking||02/08/2011||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Greg Miskiw||NoW||Hacking||10/08/2011||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Dan Evans||NoW, Mirror||Hacking, payments, CPCJ||19/08/2011||Yes||Guilty plea (all three)|
|Jamie Pyatt||The Sun||Payments||04/11/2011||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Glenn Mulcaire||NoW||Hacking||07/12/2011||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Chris Pharo||The Sun||Payments||28/01/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Graham Dudman||The Sun||Payments||28/01/2012||Yes||Cleared|
|Mike Sullivan||The Sun||Payments||28/01/2012||No||Cleared|
|Fergus Shanahan||The Sun||Payments||28/01/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|John Sturgis||The Sun||Payments||11/02/2012||No||Cleared|
|Nick Parker||The Sun||Payments, handling stolen phone||11/02/2012||Yes||Guilty verdict (handling)|
|Geoff Webster||The Sun||Payments||11/02/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|John Kay||The Sun||Payments||11/02/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Virginia Wheeler||The Sun||Payments||01/03/2012||Yes||Charges dropped health grounds|
|Duncan Larcombe||The Sun||Payments||19/04/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Clodargh Hartley||The Sun||Payments||25/05/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Neil Millard||The Sun||Payments||14/06/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Greig Box-Turnbull||Daily Mirror||Payments||04/07/2012||Yes||Cleared|
|Justin Penrose||Sunday Mirror||Payments||11/07/2012||No||Cleared|
|Tom Savage||Daily Star Sunday||Payments||11/07/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Rhodri Phillips||The Sun||Computer hacking||19/07/2012||No||Cleared|
|Man, 37||The Sun||Handling stolen phone||31/07/2012||No||Cleared|
|Ben Ashford||The Sun||Handling stolen phone||07/08/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Vince Soodin||The Sun||Payments||08/08/2012||Yes||Cleared|
|Douglas Wight||NoW||Hacking, perjury||17/08/2012||Yes||Cleared|
|Patrick Foster||The Times||Computer hacking||29/08/2012||No||Cautioned|
|Alex Marunchak||NoW||Computer hacking||02/09/2012||No||Cleared|
|John Coles||The Sun||Payments||19/09/2012||No||Cleared|
|Tom Wells||The Sun||Payments||19/09/2012||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Chris Pollard||The Sun||Handling stolen phone||20/09/2012||No||Cleared|
|Anthony France||The Sun||Payments||17/01/2013||Yes||Guilty verdict|
|Jules Stenson||NoW||Hacking||13/02/2013||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Tina Weaver||Sunday Mirror||Hacking||14/03/2013||No||Cleared|
|James Scott||Sunday People||Hacking||14/03/2013||No||Cleared|
|Mark Thomas||Sunday People||Hacking||14/03/2013||No||Cleared|
|Nick Buckley||Sunday People||Hacking||14/03/2013||No||Cleared|
|John Troup*||The Sun||Payments||21/05/2013||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|John Edwards||The Sun||Payments||21/06/2013||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Ben O'Driscoll*||The Sun||Payments||12/09/2013||Yes||Cleared|
|Graham Brough*||Daily Mirror||Payments||26/02/2014||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Brandon Malinsky*||The Sun||Payments||26/02/2014||Yes||Not guilty verdict|
|Stephen Moyes*||NoW, Sun||Payments||16/04/2014||Yes||Cleared|
|Graham Johnson*||Sunday Mirror||Hacking||18/10/2014||Yes||Guilty plea|
|Lee Harpin||Daily Mirror||Hacking||15/07/2015||No||Cleared|
* Charged without being arrested