Police launch investigations in wake of Mr Bates vs the Post Office drama

Mr Bates vs the Post Office cast group photo

The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating “potential fraud offences” linked to the Horizon IT scandal involving the Post Office.

It follows the hit ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office which has been watched by millions across the week.

The four-part series tells the true story of how more than 700 branch managers were wrongfully accused due to faulty software.

Neil Hudgell, a lawyer representing some of the claimants, informed the BBC that new enquiries include former sub-postmasters who faced prosecution.

The Met Police’s investigation is focusing on fraud offences possibly related to the recovery of money from sub-postmasters through prosecutions or civil actions. Additionally, the police are examining offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice in the Post Office’s investigations and prosecutions.

Mr Bates vs the Post Office cast

Since the inquiry’s launch in January 2020, two individuals have been interviewed under caution, but no arrests have been made.

The Horizon system, operational between 1999 and 2015, led to accusations of wrongdoing against over 700 sub-postmasters based on erroneous data.

This scandal has resulted in significant repercussions for those involved, with some sub-postmasters wrongfully imprisoned, many facing financial ruin, bankruptcy, and community ostracisation. Regarded as one of the most extensive miscarriages of justice in UK history, 93 convictions have been overturned to date.

However, only 27 individuals have reached “full and final settlements”, while 54 cases remain unresolved.

Mr Bates vs the Post Office launched on Monday night on ITV1 and has been the most-watched show of the week.

Acclaimed actor Toby Jones stars as Alan Bates, a sub-postmaster from Wales who was dismissed from his job after raising concerns about the Horizon system

The cast also features Monica Dolan, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Alex Jennings, Ian Hart, Lia Williams, Will Mellor, Clare Calbraith, Shaun Dooley, Amit Shah, Lesley Nicol, Adam James, and Katherine Kelly.

Hudgell, of Hudgells law firm, has credited the TV series with encouraging new cases to emerge.

Alongside the drama, a one-off documentary The Real Story behind Mr Bates vs the Post Office also aired this week.

You can catch up via ITVX where more than 7 million have streamed the series.