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Fact Check-Metropolitan Police call handler ‘misspoke’ when appearing to confirm that a criminal investigation into COVID-19 vaccines had been launched

A call handler for the Metropolitan Police “misspoke” when appearing to confirm in a viral video that a criminal investigation into COVID-19 vaccines had been launched in Britain, a force spokesman confirmed to Reuters.

In the clip, seen here , an unidentified woman records her phone call with a Metropolitan Police call handler about a Crime Reference Number (CRN) issued by Hammersmith and Fulham Police.

CRN 6029679/21 was issued by the Hammersmith branch in December 2021 following a complaint of an alleged crime regarding vaccine rollouts. It has since been used by social media users to claim a full-scale criminal probe is being carried out. Reuters has debunked this claim in a previous fact check here .

A CRN being issued does not automatically indicate an investigation has been launched, nor that a crime has been committed. Rather, it means that the police force has received and recorded an allegation put forward.

During the video clip, the female caller reads out the CRN, later adding: “I’ve seen this thing online saying that they’re under criminal investigation or something, the government are, under this crime number. So, I was just seeing if you could confirm it.”

The police call handler says she will look into the CRN. Upon returning, she tells the caller: “Yes there is one that is in place. Obviously, I can’t read all the information within the next few minutes because there’s a number of pages as you could imagine.”

The caller then asks: “Can you just confirm that it is under the criminal investigation about the vaccines?”

The call handler replies: “Yes, yes it is. It’s interesting isn’t it?”

However, a spokesman for the Met once again confirmed to Reuters that it had not launched an investigation in COVID-19 vaccine rollouts – and said the call handler had made an error.

He told Reuters via email: “We are aware of a recording posted online in which a Met Police call handler answers yes to a question asking her to confirm the existence of an ongoing investigation.

“The call handler misspoke. No criminal investigation has been launched.”

The Met previously told Reuters that an assessment into the allegations is ongoing – as is standard practice – but there is currently no evidence to suggest that a crime has been committed. Investigative assessments are not to be confused with full investigations. See more information on this process here.

VERDICT

Misleading. There is no criminal investigation into COVID-19 vaccines in the UK. The video shows a Met Police call handler misspeaking, according to the force.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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