FoI reveals £200k monthly cost of phone-hack probe

The latest police probe into phone-hacking has been costing nearly £200,000 a month, it was revealed today.

Scotland Yard said the bill for Operation Weeting hit £1,183,248 in the six months after it was launched in January.

The bulk was pay for officers and staff, including more than £142,000 on overtime, while £18,000 went on transport costs.

The figures, disclosed to the Press Association under Freedom of Information rules, indicate the scale of the new inquiry into abuses at the News of the World.

So far 16 people have been arrested on suspicion of phone hacking, with one told they will face no further action.

Former Downing Street communications director Andy Coulson and ex-News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks are among those questioned by police. Both deny any wrongdoing.

The scandal led Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson and assistant commissioner John Yates to resign, and the News of the World to close down after 168 years.

There has also been controversy over the Yard’s invocation of the Official Secrets Act as it tries to force the Guardian to reveal details of sources for phone-hacking stories.

The true cost of police investigations in relation to alleged abuses will be much higher, as Weeting is only looking at phone hacking.

Separate operations, Elveden and Tuleta, have been set up to examine claims of illegal payments to police and computer hacking.

The Met’s first probe into phone-hacking was held in 2006, and resulted in the News of the World’s royal editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire being jailed.

Lord Leveson’s inquiry into media standards is due to consider the extent of “unlawful or improper conduct” at News International and other organisations after the criminal investigations conclude.

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