Leicester Police spent almost £750,000 protecting prime suspects Kate and Gerry McCann

Madeleine search has cost police £750,000

Monday, August 03, 2009, 09:30

Two years of investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has cost the police in Leicestershire almost £750,000.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell has paid tribute to the support the county force has given them since the youngster went missing on May 3, 2007.

He said that while Portuguese police had shelved their investigation, county police continued to work on leads and to support and protect the family.

The Policia Judiciaria – Portugal's CID – led the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.

But Leicestershire became involved as the home force of Madeleine and her parents, Kate and Gerry, who live in Rothley.

The force's accounts show that in the last financial year Leicestershire police spent £197,000 on its investigation. This is on top of the £548,000 it spent in 2007/2008.

The force has managed to recoup £525,000 from the Home Office. A claim for the remaining £220,134 is with the Government.

Mr Mitchell said: "It is a significant amount of money. We have a good, ongoing relationship with Leicestershire police and they keep Kate and Gerry informed of any movements in the case.

"But they are at the behest of the Portuguese authorities who are running the case, even though it has been technically shelved by them. Under European law, the Portuguese police must ask them to do things.

"Nevertheless, we know Leicestershire continue to maintain a presence and are still working on the case."

Leicestershire police said it could not speak about the investigation, but it is known that costs incurred relate to the setting up and running of an incident room to take calls from around the world.

Detectives flew out to assist Portuguese officers with the investigation, while family support officers from Leicestershire helped Mr and Mrs McCann through their ordeal.

British officers, led by Detective Superintendent Stuart Prior, will also still be interviewing witnesses in the UK and abroad over possible sightings of Madeleine.
Travel, accommodation, food and drink for officers and specialist equipment, for example, will also be included in this cost.

Leicestershire police's finance director Paul Dawkins said: "Every cost can be backed up by invoices and receipts. We have applied the same strict accounting standards to this investigation as we would any other.

"But we have never charged anything for officer time, these costs are real costs to the force."
Source: Leicester Mercury and Daily Mail
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