Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MADDY INQUIRY TO COST MILLIONS; PEER QUESTIONS USE OF YARD RESOURCES; Yard's Review of Maddy Evidence 'Could Take Months, If Not Years'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MADDY INQUIRY TO COST MILLIONS; PEER QUESTIONS USE OF YARD RESOURCES; Yard's Review of Maddy Evidence 'Could Take Months, If Not Years'

Article excerpt

Byline: Justin Davenport Crime Editor

SCOTLAND YARD'S review of the Madeleine McCann inquiry could take years and cost millions of pounds, the Standard can reveal today.

Police insiders warned against hopes of a quick breakthrough as they said the scale of the task of reviewing the evidence was huge. A team led by an experienced detective will be set up in the next few days to launch the probe.

The Government decision to bring in Scotland Yard sparked controversy. Metropolitan Police Authority member Lord Harris said it raised "very big questions" about political influence on the police. The Labour peer, of Haringey, added: "There is also an issue about resources. Are they in effect saying the Met is the default investigator for every case in the world involving a British citizen? It's not just a question of costs. Our detective capacity is limited as it is."

The move comes after Kate and Gerry McCann made an impassioned appeal for David Cameron to help them revive the search for their daughter, who vanished in Portugal in 2007 days before her fourth birthday.

The Prime Minister, who met the couple 18 months ago while opposition leader, wrote to them saying he had authorised the review. Home Secretary Theresa May is understood to have discussed the move with Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson before announcing that the Yard would use its "particular expertise" to review the case and that the Home Office would fund the investigation.

One senior police source said: "Our first step is to review all the material but there's a lot of it. The whole process will take months, if not years, and cost millions of pounds."

A two-year probe by former Met commissioner Lord Stevens into allegations of a conspiracy to murder Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed is reported to have cost [pounds sterling]3.6 million.

The police source added: "We are expert at this sort of work but reviewing all the evidence on Madeleine is a long way from solving the case. The Portuguese police still have the lead. They take any executive action."

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "Mr Cameron has been clear that he wants to do everything he can to support the family. …

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