The Post Office Scandal: A 2nd Met Police Criminal Investigation Launched

Following the release of ITV’s latest drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, the Post Office Horizon scandal has taken the nation by storm.

A look at what has happened so far

Described as the UK’s biggest miscarriage of justice, the Post Office Scandal deprived innocent Sub Post Masters and Mistresses of their livelihood and reputation when they were accused of stealing or losing Post Office money. Over 700 people were prosecuted over a 16-year period from 1999 to 2015, and many went to prison for theft and/or false accounting.

A public inquiry was launched in February 2021.

Split into seven phases, the last three years has seen a thorough investigation of the ‘human impact’ and the devastation caused for those who have been falsely accused, charged and/or convicted. The public inquiry has sought to address the failings of the Horizon IT system and the guidance given to employees of Fujitsu on how to handle Sub Post Masters and Mistresses experiencing issues.

Perhaps the largest part of the inquiry reviews the policy making, auditing, and investigating of the accused Sub Post Masters and Mistresses.  A full review of the civil and criminal proceedings brought by the Post Office is taking place in an aim to pinpoint responsibility for failures in investigation and disclosure. The disclosure hearing began on 12th January 2024 as the inquiry recommenced.

It is estimated that the public inquiry will conclude this summer after a full review of the Complaint Review and Mediation Scheme, the Compensation Scheme and the Post Office’s procedure for governance. The monitoring of Horizon, contractual arrangements, technical competence and stakeholder engagement will all be reviewed in consideration of the institution’s authority to operate independent from the governance afforded to ordinary criminal investigations and public prosecutions.

By the end of 2023 it was concluded that there is enough evidence for the police to launch an investigation into Post Office Executives, investigators and lawyers.

1st Met Police Criminal Investigation

In April 2020, the Metropolitan Police began investigating the evidence of tech executives of Fujitsu, and whether the indictable offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice may have been committed during the prosecution of the Sub Post Masters and Mistresses. This investigation remains ongoing.

2nd Met Police Criminal Investigation

Now the Metropolitan Police has launched its second criminal investigation which focusses on the Post Office investigators, executors and lawyers who brought the prosecutions before the Court.

The police investigation will uncover what was known by those involved in the prosecutions when evidence was given at Court, and whether Post Office investigators, executors and lawyers have committed the indictable offences of perjury, perverting the course of justice and misconduct in a public office.

The ongoing public inquiry, criminal investigations and investigations undertaken by the relevant regulatory bodies (Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board) will ensure that there will be consequences for those in any way responsible.

Whilst the public inquiry won’t directly result in the prosecution of individuals, prosecuting authorities will rely on its findings and recommendations to obtain criminal convictions for those responsible. The Metropolitan Police inquiries will focus on obtaining evidence to prosecute those responsible for the miscarriage of justice.

Need legal advice?

This pivotal point of the criminal investigations marks deeply concerning times for Post Office and Fujitsu executors and investigators, along with the lawyers involved in the prosecutions.

At MSB we urge all involved to take legal advice. If you are concerned that you may be the subject of a criminal investigation email Allan Maidment at