Madeleine McCann – Freedom of Information Request

searchThis week I received from the UK Home Office a response to a Freedom of Information Request regarding the ongoing cost to the British taxpayer of the search for Madeleine McCann, the child who went missing from Praia da Luz in the Algarve 8 years ago.

The full response is as follows:

Thank you for your letter of 18 September 2015 in which you ask a number of questions about the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (Operation Grange). I will answer each of your six questions in turn:

1) How much UK taxpayers’ money has been spent on the failed search for Madeleine McCann?

The total cost of Operation Grange, up until end of June 2015, is £10.1m.

2) How many arrests have been made?

The Home Office does not hold this information as, whilst this department funds the investigation, the MPS is an independent organisation and so has operational responsibility for the management of the investigation.

3) What firm leads are being followed up?

As per answer 2.

4) How many police officers are still working on the case, and their ranks?

The MPS has informed me that there are currently 18 Police Officers working on the case comprising one Detective Chief Inspector, two Detective Inspectors, three Detective Sergeants and twelve Detective Constables.

5) Why is so much time and money is being spent on this one, very old, case when a child goes missing in the UK every 3 minutes.

The Government takes very seriously all cases of missing children. Although most of these cases may not be in the public eye, unresolved missing children cases are never closed and they remain the responsibility of individual police forces until the child is found. The circumstances of each case will vary and it is for individual forces to make an operational assessment on how they pursue it.

The Government believes it is right that it does all it can to support the search for Madeleine McCann. That is why the Home Secretary asked the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to undertake a review of the case in May 2011. The Commissioner considered the request and made a decision to bring the Metropolitan Police’s particular operational expertise to the case.

The Home Office agreed to fund this work from the Special Grant budget, subject to the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police reviewing together the value and cost of the work at each stage. The level of funding provided to the Metropolitan Police will continue to be monitored to ensure expenditure from the Special Grant budget is appropriate and proportionate.

6) When is the investigation likely to be closed?

The MPS will continue to work on the case whilst there are lines of enquiry to follow.

So there you have it – 18 detectives, more than £10 million spent and, if there are any leads or have been any arrests (pigs fly) then they’re not telling us.

I think it is now time to stop focusing all this effort on one old case that Mr Cameron wanted to support. Time to get those detectives on to the crimes that are happening now.


I know that there are varying opinions about the McCanns’ behaviour at the time of the disappearance and subsequently.

I declare that I find much of their conduct after the event to be totally inappropriate – it’s not surprising that a sign next to the main junction in Luz was defaced.

It is difficult to reconcile grieving parents with legal actions against a policeman for €1 million damages, a visit to the Pope, appearance on an American TV chat show…

That’s my opinion, but what do you think? Should we draw the line under this investigation now? Am I just a grumpy old man or do you share my view?

About chiptheduck

Ambling through life in an uncoordinated fashion.
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16 Responses to Madeleine McCann – Freedom of Information Request

  1. washknight says:

    I agree there has to be a time at which it is declared that the best thing to do is move on and refocus resources elsewhere. I am not sure when that time is but in this case I think you are right, it is probably long past the appropriate time to let it go.

  2. Philip Tann says:

    “The Government believes it is right” is not an answer to what they were actually asked!!. they haven’t said why this case in particular has had so much money spent on it!. Something that is rarely ever mentioned is the cadaver alerts, why has the government taken the word of the original suspects that Madeleine is alive over the forensic evidence of 100% reliable dogs which says she isn’t?. until someone actually states why this evidence is being blatantly ignored, the public will always believe this is no more than a cover-up

  3. Just why is this case considered “right”? The parents refused absolutely to co-operate with the original police investigation. They admit to having left their children unattended. Why these people?

  4. Lin Jenkins says:

    Way past its sell by date.

  5. Pete Mawby says:

    I could never let this go. So much evidence against this couple and so much effort in to hiding it all, corruption all the way. Just makes the UK look so unbelievably bad.

  6. chiptheduck says:

    There are lots of other missing children who don’t get 18 police officers on their case. I just think the resources should be spread more evenly.

  7. Pete says:

    It is not the responsibility of the British. If it weren’t for British interference the Portuguese would have had them locked up years ago.

  8. Elizabeth Wilkinson says:

    Time to call it a day, whilst I have no respect or sympathy for the parents, I have always felt so sorry for Madeline and the twins, I agree that they were totally irresponsible to leave those children on their own, and I think their behaviour has always been rather strange from the moment they discovered her missing. So no, stop spending our money on this case , they should be paying .

    • Does anyone know what happened to the huge reward offered at the beginning? The only reward on offer now is from the public purse. If there has been “progress” and there are now “focussed lines of enquiry”, is it not now time for Madeleine’s parents to come forward with a huge reward?

  9. Yes I do agree with you, however, I take the view that all of those in the McCann group should be interviewed under caution by the Met all on the same day ……..

  10. chiptheduck says:

    According to the BBC website today, the number of Met officers is now being cut from 29(?) to 4 so a step in the right direction.
    Apparently there are still a “small number of focused lines of inquiry”. But no arrests.

  11. Have the Portuguese Police expended as much time and effort on finding other missing children? As for DC’s intervention in the UK, it’s not what you know but who you know…

    I feel for the McCanns I really do and I would love them to be proved right but…

  12. chiptheduck says:

    I don’t think the McCanns knew Cameron. More like he spotted an opportunity to show what a supportive leader he was at taxpayers’ expense.

    As a result both Portuguese and British police have spent far more time and money than they have on other missing persons which is unacceptable in my view.

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