The Metropolitan Police announced that their review of the disappearance of Madeline McCann has now turned into an investigation with the discovery of 38 ‘persons of interest’ and the approval of funding from the Home Office. Madeline disappeared from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 when she was 3 years old.
The 38 ‘persons of interest’ are not necessarily suspects as reported in some mainstream media. They include people who may have information that may be useful to the investigation, such as additional witnesses, and people the Portuguese police did not interview or follow-up at the time.
The 37 strong police team has been examining 30,500 documents and made 16 visits to Portugal, costing the tax payer in excess of £1.9 million so far.
Although the case has been officially closed by the Portuguese authorities and cannot be reopened unless new evidence is presented to a judge, the Metropolitan Police say they have had a positive response to their request for assistance in their investigation.
With more staff and resources than most murder squads in the UK, the review and investigation by the Metropolitan Police is set to be the biggest investigation into an alleged missing child in UK police history.
The head of the investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood told the BBC “Over the last two years what the review has told me is that there is no clear, definitive proof that Madeleine McCann is dead,” but neither has the investigation found any evidence that Madeline is still alive.
It is highly unusual for a British police force to investigate an incident which has occurred in another country. The review of the Madeline McCann case started in 2011 after the McCanns appealed to Prime Minister Cameron to launch an investigation in an open letter in The Sun newspaper, at the same time as publishing their book ‘Madeline’.
In a highly political move, Cameron informed the McCanns that the Home Secretary would set out ‘new action’ involving the Metropolitan Police to review Madeline’s disappearance – a review they started in 2011.
In the region of 140,000 children go missing every year in the UK – that is a child about every 3 minutes – including teenage runaways, parental abductions, kidnaps, and unexplained disappearances.
Most police forces do not have the financial resources and manpower to maintain investigations into missing children in the longer term. Often investigations are dramatically scaled down within a few months, and the missing child then becomes a picture on a ‘missing’ poster in the hope that someone may see it and have information which may provide valuable information. None of them have had over £2 million in resources allocated to locate one missing child.
Is there a disparity there? Of course there is.
Cameron has seen that he can gain political mileage out of pretending to care about a little girl that went missing in Portugal. So allocating millions of pounds from the public purse is nothing to him when he can see his selfish agenda enhanced through feigned sympathy.
The parents of Madeline have come under intense public scrutiny, with accusations ranging from their alleged involvement in a purposeful murder to covering up an accidental death resulting from their negligence.
The pursuance of legal action against the press, and anyone else who publically criticised their version of events, has been seen as hypocritical when they were employing costly PR experts and legal counsel who attempted (and may still attempt) to control the information available in the public domain.
In many ways, the McCanns have succeeded in alienating people who may otherwise have been more sympathetic. Instead, those people are questioning why the McCanns have not been prosecuted for abandonment or neglect – something which the current investigation is hardly likely to touch on.
In the end, whatever is going on with politicians, parents, and investigations – this is yet another little child who has gone missing, as nearly a million others have gone missing since Madeline disappeared in 2007, and more millions worldwide, every one being as precious and important as others.
If politicians can find money to fund an investigation into one child’s disappearance, then there is no reason why they cannot properly fund police forces to pursue investigations into the disappearance of other children.
Every year, the UK government allegedly wastes £125 billion a year. A very small proportion of that money could make a difference to families who desperately want to know what has happened to the children they love and miss.
Cameron is intent on increasing foreign aid to astronomical proportions, even though the government claim there is not enough money to properly fund our public services – public services that could prevent the disappearance of some children, and services that could investigate disappearances and find other children.
The police have been forced into a position of being ‘cost effective’ – but it is ridiculous to apply business tactics to a public service – especially when so much money is wasted by those in control.
Extra resources could find missing children, smash paedophile rings, and protect vulnerable children. But the pain and suffering of families and children is not a priority for Cameron and his cronies, who only become involved when they can get political mileage through feigning sympathy – which is what they have done in the case of Madeline McCann.