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Dominic Casciani, Home affairs correspondent

Dominic Casciani Home affairs correspondent

Come here for reports and insight into home affairs as well as stories and content from around the web

Hacking probes: What happens next?

Andy Coulson leaving the Old Bailey
Convicted: Andy Coulson

What happens now? The conviction of Andy Coulson - and acquittal of Rebekah Brooks and others - is by no means the end of the road for the investigations into criminality - actual or alleged - inside newspapers.

Although The Sun has declared, in a smart, punning headline, that Rebekah Brooks' acquittal was a "great day for red tops", the full picture is rather more complex.

The scale of the investigation remains enormous and it could take another two years, if not longer, for all the potential cases to come to conclusion.

The investigations

Scotland Yard has run 11 linked operations since it relaunched its inquiry into hacking in 2011. Detectives have arrested 210 people and interviewed others under caution.


Scotland Yard's investigations


The investigations began with Operation Weeting - examining hacking at the News of the World - and then branched out into Operation Elveden - looking at allegations of corrupt payments to public officials. Police then launched a third plank to look at computer hacking and misuse of data.

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News of the World trial: Evidence in documents

One of Mulcaire's notes relating to hacking Milly Dowler

The trial of Rebekah Brooks, Andy Coulson and others included hundreds of documents explaining how hacking existed at the heart of the News of the World.

Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, former news editors Greg Miskiw and James Weatherup and former reporters Dan Evans and Neville Thurlbeck had admitted being part of a conspiracy to intercept voicemails.

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No ordinary newspaper

News of the World

The News of the World wasn't an ordinary newspaper when Andy Coulson was its editor. It had another team you didn't find in your average tabloid newsroom.

Alongside the news reporters and feature writers, there was a department of criminality - a conspiracy at the heart of his newspaper to get the story at any cost.

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How do you define Islamist extremism?

Protesters holding a banner that says "Islam is superior and will never be surpassed"
The government has broadened its definition of extremism to include "opposition to British values"

The Birmingham Trojan Horse row has reignited a long and difficult debate over defining Islamist extremism.

Today, the government defines extremism as "vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs".

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Confidence in police levels-off as fewer see officers on street

Police on parade
Is confidence in the police driven by visibility alone?

The number of people who have seen a police officer on the beat at least once a week has fallen, official figures for England and Wales indicate.

This fall in police visibility during 2012-13 is the first recorded in official figures since 2009-10.

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Dominic added analysis to:

Sean Rigg custody death officer quits Metropolitan Police

The police watchdog's demand that Scotland Yard halts the resignation is highly unusual.

Sometimes police inform the IPCC if they think an officer who has faced investigation is considering departing - but in the case of PC Birks, neither the watchdog nor Sean Rigg's family saw this coming.

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Dominic added analysis to:

Police fail to seize terror inmate Munir Farooqi's home

Under the Terrorism Act 2000, courts can order convicted offenders to forfeit anything that has been "used for the purposes of terrorism".

In practical terms, this power would be typically used to seize computers, phones and vehicles. Jailed drug dealers and other offenders can be forced under different laws to give up homes, if it can be shown that the property was bought from criminal profits.

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Operation Cotton: Court of Appeal ruling explained

Legal aid protests
Barristers have held protests over legal aid cuts

The Court of Appeal has overturned a decision to halt a fraud trial because of a lack of specialist criminal barristers prepared to take on the work.

I've covered the initial row over the prosecution - known as "Operation Cotton" - in an earlier blog.

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Dominic added analysis to:

Court of Appeal overturns move to halt fraud trial

"Even if Operation Cotton does finally get to trial, the judgement has not made the bigger problem go away - there needs to be some kind of new long-term deal between barristers and the government"

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About Dominic

Dominic began his career in local newspapers after studying languages at university.

Since joining the BBC in 1998 he has focused on stories relating to law, order, society and belonging - including immigration, ethnicity, the rule of law and terrorism.

He has spent most of his BBC career working online and was one of the pioneers of live online reporting for the BBC, filing stories from the field in the days when mobile phones looked like bricks and we had no idea when the data would reach the news editor.

He is married with two children. His unspellable surname is Italian.

When not undertaking family or work duties, you'll find him cycling up and down hills dreaming of Tour de France greatness.

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