Former senior Surrey police offers were “afflicted by a form of collective amnesia,” an investigation has found into the Milly Dowler phone hacking claims.
An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report has slammed Surrey police over its failure to deal with an allegation in 2002 that the voicemail of Milly Dowler had been hacked into by a News of the World journalist.
The IPCC investigation found that there was knowledge of the allegation in 2002 at all levels in Operation Ruby, Surrey Police’s investigation into the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler, but that no action was taken to investigate it despite an indication that a crime had potentially been committed.
“We will never know what would have happened had Surrey Police carried out an investigation into the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone in 2002…
“We have not been able to uncover any evidence, in documentation or witness statements, of why and by whom that decision was made: former senior officers, in particular, appear to have been afflicted by a form of collective amnesia in relation to the events of 2002.
This is perhaps not surprising, given the events of 2011 and the public outcry that the hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone produced.” – Deborah Glass, IPCC Deputy Chair
The allegation came to light in 2011 when the Guardian newspaper revealed that Milly’s phone and many other high profile names were targeted by Sunday tabloid News of the World. The scandal led to the closure of the newspaper in June 2011.
The IPCC have said that officers and former officers from Surrey Police have expressed “surprise and dismay” that the initial claims were not investigated. The investigation by the IPCC failed to uncover any evidence as to why that was and cited ” a form of collective amnesia” over the events of 2002.