More than 800 people have had their telephones illegally hacked by the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, British police investigating the alleged practice said on Saturday.

A statement by London's Metropolitan Police said 2,037 people had been contacted during the year-long investigation, of whom 803 are alleged victims of hacking by the best-selling tabloid, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

It was the first time police provided an overall figure for alleged victims of News of the World hacking.

We are confident we have personally contacted all the people who have been hacked or are likely to have been hacked, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers of the Metropolitan Police said in an interview with The Times published Saturday.

There is a raft of people still to be spoken to who are potential targets, but are unlikely to have been hacked, said Akers, who in charge of the inquiry.

Britain's media industry, politicians and police have been rocked this year by revelations that journalists and private investigators illegally intercepted mobile phone voicemail messages to get gossip for stories.

The inquiry is also looking into whether reporters paid police for information.

The scandal forced Murdoch's News Corp to shut down the News of the World, a weekly tabloid, in July. Top London police officers have resigned and Prime Minister David Cameron's media adviser, a former editor at the tabloid, resigned and was arrested.

Police have made about 20 arrests in the case so far, while other people have been held on suspicion of hacking into computers and paying police for information.

Suspected targets of telephone hacking commissioned by the News of the World include celebrities and politicians, families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and crime victims, including a missing schoolgirl who was later found dead.

Amid the scandal, Murdoch's News Corp has abandoned plans to take full control of Britain's BSkyB satellite TV broadcaster. His son James, the executive in charge of UK operations, has come under fire in parliamentary hearings.

(Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)