Phone hacking at News of the World may have taken place as recently as last year, new information suggests, as Scotland Yard faces mounting criticism over its handling of the investigation.

In the light of new evidence about the News of the World, police have launched a fresh inquiry into the phone hacking scandal.

However there are calls for the Met itself to be reviewed over its ineffectual handling of the case.

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott said: “I just don’t trust the Metropolitan Police to conduct a proper inquiry […] and that’s why I asked the courts for a judicial review on the Metropolitan Police and the way they’ve conducted investigations.”

Alastair Campbell, once Tony Blair’s director of communications, also criticised the police, telling BBC Two’s Newsnight: “Why was none of this done before, either by the newspaper group or by the police?

“Both of them I think still have a lot of things to answer.”

New allegations of phone hacking came to light yesterday when the BBC reported the existence of documents relating to Kelly Hoppen, who is Sienna Miller’s stepmother.

The papers are understood to refer to fears that reporters were gaining access to their phone messages between June 2009 and March 2010.

The News of the World is facing a growing number of legal claims from well-known people who claim their privacy has been violated by the newspaper allegedly hacking their mobile phone messages.

Steve Coogan, the comedian, and Paul Gascoigne, the footballer, are also among those bringing claims.

Gordon Brown thinks his phone was hacked

The News of the World has already reached out of court settlements with several people embroiled in the scandal.

News International, which owns the paper, is understood to have passed the police evidence detailing communications between Ian Edmondson, the former news editor of the News of the World, and a private detective already convicted of phone hacking.

Edmondson was sacked by the newspaper yesterday and is now expected to be questioned by police within weeks.

Former editor Andy Coulson resigned from his new job as David Cameron’s director of communications last week, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of phone hacking at the newspaper.

However, Coulson may become involved in investigations in coming weeks.