Labour MP Chris Bryant welcomes Met's admission of failure over phone hacking
Labour MP Chris Bryant welcomes Met's admission of failure over phone hacking (Reuters) Reuters

Scotland Yard is issuing personal apologies to victims of phone hacking who police knew had had their voicemails intercepted, but did not inform them.

The apologies follow a ruling by a judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The review was ordered into the Metropolitan Police Service's (MPS) handling of the original investigation into phone hacking after pressure from well-known politicians who had their voicemails hacked by News International, including former deputy prime minister John Prescott and Labour MP Chris Bryant.

Victims and potential victims of phone hacking demanded to know why the Met did not let them know they were targets, after police discovered evidence suggesting that this was the case.

"The Met is pleased to have reached an agreement in this case and accepts more should have been done by police in relation to those identified as victims and potential victims of phone hacking several years ago," said a statement from Scotland Yard.

"All the claimants are receiving personal apologies from the Met."

Damages will not be paid out because of the ruling, which was welcomed police.

"How the MPS treats victims goes to the very heart of what we do," the statement added.

"It was important that this case did not result in such a wide duty being placed on police officers that it could direct them away from their core purpose of preventing and detecting crime."

Following the ruling, Bryant, MP for Rhondda, tweeted: "Met finally cave in to our judicial review and admit in court that they didn't inform victims of hacking as they were legally obliged to do."

Bryant and Prescott were among many phone hacking victims who received payouts from News International for having their voicemails intercepted by the company's journalists.

"It's taken me 19 months to finally get justice. Time and again I was told by the Metropolitan Police that I had not been targeted by Rupert Murdoch's News of the World," Prescott said.

"I refused to accept this was the case.

"Thanks to this judicial review, the Metropolitan Police has finally apologised for its failure to properly investigate, and inform victims, of the criminal acts of phone hacking committed by the News of the World."