Post Office scandal: Fujitsu was approved as Met Police IT contractor by Sadiq Khan's office in 2022

A public inquiry into the Post Office scandal is under way and ITV's Mr Bates vs the Post Office has this week raised public awareness.
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While the Met Police is investigating potential fraud offences arising from the Post Office scandal, it has emerged that the firm behind the Horizon computer system was signed off as an authorised contractor for the force by Sadiq Khan's office in 2022.

The scandal has returned to the public's attention this week following the release of the ITV drama Mr Bates vs the Post Office, starring Toby Jones.

More than 700 sub-postmasters were prosecuted despite repeated assertions that the Post Office's Horizon computer system was faulty. The system, which did in fact falsely suggest fraud by sub-postmasters, is owned by the firm Fujitsu.

In 2019 a group litigation involving more than 550 sub-postmasters was settled and a High Court judgement found deficiencies in Horizon. The public enquiry was established in September 2020 and made statutory in June 2021.

In April 2022 deputy mayor for policing and crime Sophie Linden signed off "System Integration" and "Augmented Resources" approval for "Digital Police Solutions" which would enable the Met Police to award contracts to Fujitsu, among other companies. The ceiling value for potential contracts was £300m over a four-year period.

The approval signed off Fujitsu as one of a number of "trusted suppliers that have policing experience" as part of a framework designed to speed up procurement for the force.

It is not known whether the Met has any current contracts with Fujitsu.

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) said: “MOPAC and the Metropolitan Police Service follow public procurement rules for every procurement exercise that is undertaken.

"Through our financial oversight, we routinely monitor and review all contracts on an ongoing basis to ensure they are delivering the agreed services and providing value for money for Londoners. In this case, Fujitsu could not have been barred from the list as a result of national procurement rules mandated in law.”

Met Police investigation

The Met Police is investigating possible fraud offences arising from the prosecutions of sub-postmasters.

The force said last week that potential offences could be related to "monies recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions".

The Met was already looking into potential offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice in relation to investigations and prosecutions carried out by the Post Office.

LondonWorld understands there have been no arrests but that two people have been interviewed under caution since the investigation began in January 2020.

The Met Police is investigating whether any fraud offences were committed in the Post Office scandal involving Fujitsu's Horizon system. (Photos by Getty)The Met Police is investigating whether any fraud offences were committed in the Post Office scandal involving Fujitsu's Horizon system. (Photos by Getty)
The Met Police is investigating whether any fraud offences were committed in the Post Office scandal involving Fujitsu's Horizon system. (Photos by Getty)

Post Office scandal

A total of 736 sub-postmasters were prosecuted by the Post Office between 1999 and 2015, based on accounting information from its Horizon computer system.

Problems were repeatedly reported with the IT system and most sub-postmasters repeatedly maintained their innocence. But some were jailed for false accounting and theft - and many were financially ruined.

So far 93 convictions have been overturned, and on Wednesday prime minister Rishi Sunak announced legislation to enable exoneration and compensation for all sub-postmasters.

Fujitsu

LondonWorld was unable to contact Fujitsu for comment but a spokesperson said this week in a previous statement: "The current Post Office Horizon IT statutory inquiry is examining complex events stretching back over 20 years to understand who knew what, when, and what they did with that knowledge.

"The inquiry has reinforced the devastating impact on postmasters' lives and that of their families, and Fujitsu has apologised for its role in their suffering.

"Fujitsu is fully committed to supporting the inquiry in order to understand what happened and to learn from it.

"Out of respect for the inquiry process, it would be inappropriate for Fujitsu to comment further at this time."