The purpose of
this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog
Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs
from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to
anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many
Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If
you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use
the contact/email details
Firstly, I would like to quote part of a newspaper
report in order to provide you with the source of my personal concerns about the matter I have referred to in the Summary
box you provide regarding this FOI request by myself.
"The Foreign Office was alerted to fears over Gerry and Kate McCann by a British diplomat in Portugal just
days after their daughter Madeleine went missing.
The diplomat was sent to the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in
the days following the four-year-old's disappearance and soon became concerned over "inconsistencies" in the
testimonies by her parents and their friends.
After visiting the McCanns, the unnamed diplomat sent a report to
the Foreign Office in London, admitting his worries about "confused declarations" of the McCanns' movements
on the night of May 3.
He also noted the couple's "lack of co-operation" with the Portuguese police.
The diplomat's concerns were made over four months before Gerry and Kate were named arguidos (suspects) on September
Contents of the letter were leaked to Belgian newspaper La Dernière Heure over the weekend.
The diplomat expressed his fears after receiving instruction from the Foreign Office to provide "all possible assistance
to the McCann couple".
The French-language paper printed excerpts of the letter, quoting the diplomat as saying:
"With the greatest respect, I would like to make you aware of the risks and implications to our relationship with
the Portuguese authorities, if you consider the possible involvement of the couple.
"Please confirm to me,
in the light of these concerns, that we want to continue to be closely involved in the case as was requested in your previous
Although the Government was quick to assist the McCanns in the days following Madeleine's
disappearance, direct contact with the couple ceased when they were named as suspects.
La Dernière Heure
pointed out that a majority of the diplomats originally involved in the case have now been taken off it.
Minister Tony Blair sent special envoy Sheree Dodd to act as a "media liaison officer" for the pair soon after Madeleine
Ms Dodd has since resigned from the Foreign Office, while the British consul in the Algarve, Bill Henderson,
John Buck, the British ambassador in Portugal, no longer works in the country."
Furthermore: BRITISH CONSUL Celia Edwards, who replaced Bill Henderson upon his retirement, resigned from her post on July 1st 2008,
after one year's tenure.
My questions which I request an answer to via the FOI facility are:
Was such a report forwarded to the Foreign Office in early May 2007?
B: If so, who was the British Diplomat who
forwarded this report?
C: What was the reply/response from the Foreign Office to this British Diplomat's report
about such concerns?
D: Why did the Foreign Office provide such an unusual amount of Diplomatic and Government
assistance to the McCann's?
E: Who was the person, or person's, within the Foreign Office who seemingly
overruled the British Diplomat's concerns?
I hope that clear and unequivocal answers to my questions about
these matters can be provided via your FOI facility.
A concerned UK taxpayer and voter.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office response,
23 October 2008
Alleged sightings of Madeleine McCann
Alleged sightings of Madeleine McCann
in Hampshire, date unknown 2008
The British authorities received two requests to provide financial information about the parents of Madeleine but the
answers never arrived to the PJ
The Judiciary Police never had access to the bank account details of Gerry and Kate McCann. This is because the British
authorities have never responded positively to both requests made by Portuguese investigators.
At the beginning of
the process, a first request was made regarding Madeleine's parents and the friends who spent their holidays with them at
the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz. The intention was to obtain more information about who those nine people were.
data emerged about the seven friends, as to the place where they hold bank accounts and credit cards, then regarding Kate
and Gerry the UK authorities have said very little.
"No record of a current bank account is held," said the English about Madeleine's father, adding
that "there is no record of credit cards or loans." And the same for the mother of the girl who disappeared on May
3, 2007 at the Ocean Club apartment in Praia da Luz. The only information is about the bank where the mortgage of the McCann's
house is held. They also refer that there no arrears or defaults registered.
In the rogatory letter sent in November
2007 to England, various diligences [legal investigative actions] were asked of the British police, where, once again,
information was requested on the McCanns' bank accounts. And once again nothing arrived in Portugal.
British authorities refused the request and simply said, as a justification, that they would not provide financial information
on the couple. And the information never arrived.
"The Home Office (British Ministry of Foreign Affairs) cannot confirm or deny" that the McCanns have had bank accounts
between the 25 of April 2007 and 12 September 2008.
This is the reply given, in January of this year, to British journalists
who tried to clarify this situation. Even stranger are the arguments used to justify the answer. The British say that "the
investigation is ongoing" and this information could "jeopardise the investigation, the international relations and endanger
the health and safety" of Madeleine. This when the case was officially archived in July last year.
"Given this, the
UK authorities are lying to their subjects," said Gonçalo Amaral to CM . "The Attorney General said that case is archived,"
added the former coordinator of the PJ.
This is the complete Home Office response to the request for information about the McCanns' bank
and credit card accounts, made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act):
Organised & International Crime Directorate 5th Floor Fry Building, 2 Marsham Street, London
SW1P 4DF Switchboard xxx Fax xxx Direct Line xxx E-mail xxx http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk Ms xxx Our ref: xxx xxx@xxx Date:28th January 2009 Dear Ms xxx RE: FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST
HOME OFFICE MATERIAL RELATING TO MADELEINE MCCANN
I am writing further to my correspondence on the 16th December
2008. We are now in a position to offer a full reply to your request. I would like to apologise for the length of time it
has taken to respond to your request. This delay has been due to giving full and due consideration to the public interest
test together with the necessity to consult with other agencies.
It is noted that your request was to essentially seek information for any record or document or extract
thereof reporting or evidencing that neither of the parents of Madeleine Beth McCann possessed any credit card or debit card
from any financial institution during the period 25th April 2007 and 12th September 2007. You additionally requested any record
or document or extract thereof reporting or evidencing that the alleged affirmation was made by any official of the Home Office
to any police officer in the Leicestershire Constabulary and failing the existence of any written record whether such affirmation
was made verbally the name of the official(s) and the recipient officer(s). The request was also seeking information of any
record or document or extract reporting or evidencing the credit card or debit transactions made by the parents of Madeleine
Beth McCann between the 4th May 2007 and 21st July 2008.
Your request for information has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act)
and we are now able to provide you with a substantive response to your request.
Section 1 of the Act places two duties on public authorities when handling requests. The first of
these duties, provided at s1(1)(a) is to confirm or deny whether the information requested is actually held by that authority.
The second duty is for that information to be disclosed where it has been confirmed that it exists. This is provided under
The Home Office can neither confirm nor deny that we hold information relevant to your request as
our duty under s1(1)(a) does not apply by virtue of the following provisions of the Act:
* Section 27(4) – prejudice to International Relations; * Section 31(3) – prejudice
to Law Enforcement activities; and * Section 38(2) – endangering Health & Safety.
This letter therefore also serves as a refusal notice under s17(1) of the Act.
Furthermore, the Home Office will not comment on any of the information contained in Goncal Amaral's
book, 'A Verdade da Mentira' as it would potentially undermine ongoing investigations.
There are a number of sensitivities relevant to your request, given that Madeleine McCann is still
missing and the investigation is still ongoing. Confirming or denying whether any information is held could undermine the
investigation, prejudice international relations and could endanger the health and safety of members of the public.
We have considered public interest considerations in making our decision and we have attached these
to this letter. We believe that, at this time, the public interest strongly favours neither confirming nor denying that the
information you have requested is or is not held by the Home Office.
This response should not be taken as conclusive
evidence that the information you have requested either does or does not exist.
If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of our handling
of your request by submitting your complaint within two months to the below address quoting reference xxx
Information Rights Team Information and Record Management Service Home Office 4th Floor,
Seacole Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF Or email: xxx
During the independent review the department's handling of your information request will be reassessed
by an official that was not involved in providing you with this response. Should you remain dissatisfied after this internal
review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of
I realise that you may be disappointed with this response. However we have considered your request
with great care, and the Home Office always seeks to provide as much information as it is able to.
Thank you for your interest in the Home Office.
xxx Team Leader UK Central Authority
Public Interest Considerations
– Refusal of request
(1) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any
extent relying on a claim that any provision in part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request
or on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with section1(1), give the applicant
a notice which -
(a) states the fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question, and (c) states (if that would
not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
s.27 – International Relations
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to,
(a) relations between the United Kingdom and any other state, (b) relations between the United
Kingdom and any international organisation or international court
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section
1(1)(a) – (a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)
– Law Enforcement
(1) Information which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its
disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice-
(a) the prevention or detection of crime, (b) the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, (c)
the administration of justice,
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section
1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)
s.38 – Health & Safety
(1) Information is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would be likely to-
(a) endanger the physical or mental health of any individual, or (b) endanger the safety of any
(4) The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section
1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)
Harm and prejudice
The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann is still ongoing. There are significant
unknowns in relation to her disappearance. Leicestershire Constabulary are the lead force in the UK dealing with this investigation
but the principle investigation agency is Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal. We believe that significant harm to the investigation
could result from either confirming or denying that we hold the information you have asked for.
Should this investigation lead to a prosecution, saying whether or not this information is or is not
held by the Home Office would risk undermining the human rights of any suspect to a fair trial and the rights of a victim,
particularly if the prosecution would fail due to such an announcement.
If the Home Office was to either confirm or deny that it did or did not hold any information that
was gathered in the course of this investigation, it might risk compromising the conduct of this investigation. This could
ultimately prejudice the administration of justice. In any event, to confirm or deny that any such information that was or
was not obtained in the course of a criminal investigation, either voluntarily or through compulsory powers, ought not to
be generally disclosed, save as far as it is necessary for the purposes of establishing or defending rights in litigation.
There is consequently a strong public interest in ensuring that evidence is not contaminated for any
future trial. In addition there is a strong public interest to preserve relations with the Policia Judiciara (PJ) in Portugal
whilst Madeleine remains missing.
Two of the Home Office's objectives are to support the efficient and effective delivery of justice,
and to lead visible, responsive and accountable policing. The manner in which the Home Office works to support the Police
Service as a whole is one of our core business functions.
If the Home Office prejudiced such a high-profile and sensitive investigation by confirming or denying
that we either do or do not hold any of the information that you have requested, we would be seen as working against the efforts
of both UK and Portuguese policing authorities, undermining their determined efforts to locate Madeline McCann and her assailants.
This would not be in the best interests of the public.
Any prejudicial effects to these ongoing investigations could jeopardise the health & safety,
of Madeline McCann, in that it might significantly affect the chances of her being found. There is no actual public interest
served in releasing information that may jeopardise the health & safety of any individual.
There is a strong public interest in the UK maintaining the arrangements it currently enjoys with
other States in matters of judicial and mutual legal cooperation in criminal and other matters. Any act that would prejudice
this investigation may discourage other States with complying with reasonable requests issued by the UK or from pursuing legitimate
investigations in the UK for fear that the product of such requests or investigations may be disclosed to private citizens.
Surveillance of the McCanns
Who was listening to Kate and Gerry McCann?, 18 February 2009
A few days ago I received an interesting letter from Leicestershire police about the Madeleine McCann investigation.
I had asked them, in July, if they had got any warrants (under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) to use surveillance
powers - such as phone tapping and email interception on behalf of the Portuguese police.
The force initially stalled saying it needed to "consult other Agencies" before replying.
After a six month delay, Leicestershire has now claimed it is exempt from Freedom of Information laws in this case due
to "national security".
I've put in dozens of FoI requests to police forces over the years, some you get and some you don't but "national security"
is a new one on me.
To make matters even murkier, Leicestershire claimed a second exemption because the information I requested could relate
to "the Security bodies".
A quick look at the FoI Act reveals "Security bodies" are MI5, MI6, GCHQ (pictured above), special forces (such as the
SAS) and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.
Despite claiming these exemptions, Leicestershire seem at pains to neither confirm nor deny they hold any information
relevant to my request anyway.
Check out (slowly I suggest) the tortuous conclusion to the three page letter explaining their stance.
"It is our decision that the Leicestershire Constabulary must maintain a position of neither confirming nor denying that
any relevant information is held and that this response, which neither confirms nor denies that information is held, should
not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have requested exists or does not exist".
Thanks, but I think that is a rather long-winded way of saying Foxtrot Oscar.
However, it does beg the question just who was bugging the McCanns after they returned from Praia da Luz?
And what has the answer got to do with national security?
Kate and Gerry McCann, and national security - update, 18 February 2009
Kate and Gerry McCann, and national security - update Daily Mirror
By JON CLEMENTS
Feb 18, 09 03:39 PM
I've just spoken to the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell who has declined to comment.
Quite sensible, really.
After all, you never know who's listening do you?
The McCann national security documents, 20 February 2009
EMAILS relating to
the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann are to remain secret over fears they could offend the Portuguese authorities.
A request under the Freedom of Information Act asked for disclosure of emails and a letter sent between the British ambassador
and Portuguese police in the weeks after Maddie vanished.
The Foreign Office initially released some information, but the rest was held back under a special exemption to protect
The anonymous applicant for more information appealed, arguing it was in the public interest.
But the Information Commissioner refused, saying disclosure could offend Portuguese authorities, harm the hunt for Maddie
and cause "substantial" damage to international relations.
It is believed the request was rejected because some letters are critical of the investigation by Portuguese cops.
Maddie's parents Gerry and Kate, of Rothley, Leics, face a renewed attack tonight from a shamed ex-cop who was kicked
off the case.
Goncalo Amaral will claim in a TV documentary that Maddie, then three, died in the family's apartment in Praia da Luz
during their Algarve holiday in 2007.
A Magical Mystery Tour, 17 October 2009
A Magical Mystery Tour
EXCLUSIVE to mccannfiles.com
By Dr Martin Roberts
17 October 2009
The Beatles were responsible for so much that was, and is, good in our
lives, it seems almost a sacrilege to adopt their lyrics as metaphors for the distasteful on-going farrago that is the McCann
case. Nevertheless, I trust that those remaining warm-hearted Liverpudlians, messrs. McCartney and Starkey, would not object
if their words were used to promote ease of understanding, in a case where complexity has been piled upon complexity, deliberately
obscuring Occams razor almost to the point of invisibility. For we are all being encouraged to dance around the totem pole,
while the tribal chief and his Shaman sidekick creep off into the darkness with the magic fleece. We might have the egg man
but he is the Walrus.
'Imagine all the people... looking for our child.' And how was she taken
from you? 'He came in through the bathroom window...'
At this point a complete rendition of Yesterday would
sum the story up nicely.
Early on in his Beatles career, the dear departed George Harrison penned what could now
be interpreted as a liar's libretto. Taken to No.1 in the UK charts by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas, it runs:
'Listen.! Do you want to know a secret? 'Do you promise not to tell? Whoa, oh, oh, 'Closer. Let me
whisper in your ear. 'Say the words I long to hear. ‘My secret's safe with you.'
so I've altered the last line a touch. But the stanza can otherwise be adopted 'as is' in relation to what follows. "Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead."
Already a century-old before
Benjamin Franklin utilised it, this proverb still carries some weight, although there are less dramatic options open to us
these days, e.g. 'three may keep a secret if:'
(a) one is your local Catholic priest and the other his
(b) one is your country's overseas Ambassador and the other resides in the Foreign and
On March 19 this year the FOI News reported thus:
'Sensitive e-mails concerning
the hunt for missing child Madeleine McCann will remain secret for fear of offending the Portuguese authorities who were tasked
with finding her.
'A request for the disclosure of 13 e-mails and one letter, which were written in the two
months after Madeleine went missing, was refused by the Information Commissioner.'
And later, discussing an
appeal by the requester to the Information Commissioner's Office:
'The complainant said the release was
in the public interest in order to uphold public confidence that British authorities do everything possible to help find missing
children, reassure people the authorities keep in close contact with the police involved in the search and ensure public funds
are used effectively to help find missing children.
'But the Commissioner said in his decision that the disclosure
would offend the Portuguese authorities.
'He went on to say: "...even now, to disclose full information
about the then ambassador's communications with the Portuguese authorities then, on a balance of probabilities, substantial
damage to the international relationship would result."
'He added: "The Commissioner is mindful of
the need for the UK authorities to be seen to be worthy of trust by their foreign counterparts in Portugal and elsewhere in
'"He sees significant risk that disclosure of confidences or of other sensitive material would
have damaging implications for any possible further developments on this matter and any relevant future investigations in
Portugal or elsewhere in the world. This would not be in the best interests of the McCann family, including Madeleine, or
of other UK citizens travelling to Portugal or elsewhere outside the UK."'
In sum therefore, the Commissioner
took the view that, if the UK authorities were perceived as prepared to 'tell tales out of school' we would no longer
be internationally respected for our integrity. Hence he felt it inappropriate to divulge 'sensitive material' or
It all sounds very paternal, very proper, until one discovers just what 'confidences'
are being protected. I invite you, dear reader, to peruse in disbelief, as I have, comments recorded within the 3 March Decision
Notice under Reference FS50188322: Findings of fact
13. On May 3 2007 the child Madeleine
McCann went missing: at the time of the information request the investigation into her disappearance was high profile and
continuing. In determining to withhold certain information under the section 27 exemption, FCO consulted with the British
Embassy in Lisbon and with two relevant authorities in the UK - Leicestershire Police and the Association of Chief Police
14. FCO told the Commissioner that a family member had made clear to FCO staff that all comments
made by that individual to FCO had been made in strict confidence and were not intended for disclosure to third parties.
FCO did not approach the family member again during the Commissioner's investigation but told the Commissioner
that they were confident the individual would not appreciate being contacted regarding disclosure of the relevant personal
information, a position the Commissioner accepted.
So, in part at least, an international incident is averted
by not betraying the confidence of a family member, who would not appreciate being contacted.
Even as I write this I stare with complete and utter incredulity at these statements. If members of the UK Parliament viewed
Carter-Rucks' attempt to suppress discussion of the Trafigura report as an affront to democracy, what on earth are we
supposed to make of this?
'Dear Sirs at the FCO. Something rather unpleasant has happened to my daughter whilst
on holiday in Portugal. A couple of us involved in the incident are prepared to tell a few lies to the media, to keep them
at bay (in fact we've already done so), but we're not prepared yet to divulge all the details. Fortunately for all
concerned, the Portuguese justice system obliges us to keep stum anyway, so our backs are covered there. Now this is all in
strict confidence you understand, so you won't tell anyone will you?'
Is this how it goes? Is this the
measure of sheer lunacy practised by the British Government and its unquestioning Civil Service? When, in Heaven's name
will someone have the conviction and moral principle to point out that the Emperor is naked?
HOME Secretary Alan Johnson is prepared to ask US spy chiefs
for satellite images which may show the face of Madeleine McCann's kidnapper, following intervention by the Sunday Express.
Hope of new progress came after it emerged Leicestershire Police never made a formal request to the Home Office
for views of Praia da Luz on Portugal's Algarve at the time the little girl vanished in May 2007.
of pictures taken by satellites in space is now so good they can reputedly identify the colour of someone's eyes.
Last night a senior source with the Portuguese police said: "We know US spy satellites regularly sweep over Portugal
looking at military installations and government facilities.
"So we thought they might actually have images
of Praia da Luz on the day of the kidnapping and the preceding days.
"We hoped spy images may have captured
the kidnapper watching the apartment prior to the event or even on the day itself. Obviously, having a picture would have
speeded up the apprehension of the offender."
Yet more than two years after Madeleine was snatched no help
has been forthcoming, despite early requests from senior Portuguese detectives.
The Portuguese source explained:
"This was fully discussed with Leicestershire Police and officials with the British Government.
confident of getting progress because of Gordon Brown's interest in the case and this apparent special relationship between
Britain and the United States.
"Your ambassador to Portugal even visited our officers soon after the kidnap.
"The bad news for us is that we got nowhere with this avenue of inquiry, which was both frustrating and infuriating."
For, despite all the talk, nothing appears to have been done officially with the British government and the formal
requests were never made.
Last night a spokesman for Mr Johnson said extensive checks within the security intelligence
community had failed to discover any formal request ever having come to them through Leicestershire Police from Portugal.
However, he said that if a request were now made Mr Johnson would see whether he could offer any assistance in trying
to persuade the Americans to become co-operative.
The issue appears so sensitive that Prime Minister Mr Brown may
have to speak directly to US President Barack Obama in order to achieve co-operation.
The Sunday Express sought
explanations for the extraordinary situation from the US government's ultra- secretive National Geospatial-Intelligence
The agency's lawyers are now considering a Freedom of Information request from the Sunday Express.
A spokesman for the agency said: "NGA does not provide imagery to private citizens or private companies. For
reasons of national security we do not discuss specifics about what images we have or our capabilities."
investigators working for parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, have also tried to access US
satellite images, but with no success.
The FCO filed the
case in May 2008 [Ben Needham]. You will also be aware of the Madeleine McCann case. Both this and the Needham case are categorised
as a missing persons, rather than child abduction cases, as there is no evidence in either case to support whether the children
were or were not abducted.
Madeleine police files under wraps, 03 January 2010
Thousands of British police files detailing
the hunt for Madeleine McCann will not be released unless those behind her disappearance are brought to justice.
Senior Leicestershire Police officers have remained tight-lipped about their role co-ordinating the search for the toddler
since she vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort in May 2007.
But analysts at the force have drawn up a list
detailing the mass of information they have gathered and considered whether they would ever release any of it to the general
The paperwork includes everything from correspondence with Government ministers, minutes of police meetings,
details of leads and sightings to copies of letters from the McCann family.
Leicestershire Police said they will
not release any information while the inquiry is ongoing and will never reveal the tactics of their investigation. But internal
documents suggest some papers may eventually be published.
They stated: "Anything in relation to the investigation
into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will not be released whilst it remains ongoing.
may be given to releasing certain material, ie, that which would not reveal police tactics, when the circumstances surrounding
Madeleine's disappearance are fully known and the person/people involved have been brought to justice and a suitable period
for any appeal has elapsed."
Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared on May 3 2007 from Praia
da Luz, nine days before her fourth birthday.
An investigation into her disappearance was carried out by the Portuguese
police, supported by Leicestershire Police.
The force is responsible for co-ordinating British inquiries under
the codename Operation Task.
Met Police: High Profile FOIA Requests
in week commencing 27th January to 2nd Febraury 2010
Met Police: High Profile FOIA Requests in week commencing 27th January to 2nd
February 2010 WhatDoTheyKnow.com
27th January to 2nd Febraury
Request No: 16
Summary of Request: MPS correspondence
with other forces re Madeleine McCANN and transcripts of interviews
Responsible Person & Unit:
James F. Young - SCD12
Applicant and Reasons for being High Profile: **S40** - Media interest
Case No: 2010010005025
Request: In particular, ITV news would like to acquire any material, correspondence that were conducted with the
portuguese police during 2007. ITV news would also like to acquire any correspondence that either Leicestershire police
or the met police had with the Home Office in relation to Madeleine's disappearance. ITV news would also like to
acquire transcripts of any interviews that were held with the McCanns or other witnesses.
And any information that
you now consider no longer part of an ongoing investigation.
Home Office response to FoI request from The Madeleine Foundation, 22 June 2010
From: Lister Ian (IMS) <Ian.Lister@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk> Subject: RE: Home Office FoI request
CR14428 PLUS FOUR MORE FOI QUESTIONS and COMPLAINT To: "ANTHONY BENNETT" <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Tuesday, 22 June, 2010, 14:03
Dear Mr. Bennett,
Thank you for your email of
the 17th June 2010 about your ongoing request under the Freedom of Information Act that we received on the 22nd March 2010,
in which you asked the twelve questions which you have detailed below.
I would like to apologise again for the
amount of time it has taken to provide a substantive answer to your request. I appreciate that the fact that your request
is still ongoing might appear to indicate that we are deliberately delaying our response to you or that we are trying to obfuscate
the matter. I would like to reassure you that this is not the case.
The questions that you have asked relate to
an investigation into the disappearance of a missing child; an investigation that is still ongoing within the UK at this time,
as I am sure you are aware. Whilst your questions ask for the release of simple facts, as you put it, we must be extremely
careful that our answers to those questions and the release of any information that we may or may not hold, does not prejudice
this investigation, any relations between UK and Portuguese authorities or would be otherwise prejudicial to the effect conduct
of public affairs.
I acknowledge that this matter is of significant interest to a large number of people and that
there is great deal of ongoing speculation about the stage of investigation. As you have said, there is huge public interest
in ascertaining what happen to Madeleine McCann. However, the 'public interest' that we consider in conjunction with
the Freedom of Information Act, is not the same as what might be of interest to public, or what they might find interesting.
In carrying out a Public Interest Test we consider the greater good or benefit to the community as a whole if the information
is released or not. The 'right to know' that is provided by the FoI Act must be balanced against the need to enable
effective government and to serve the best interests of the public.
Furthermore, the FoI Act is 'applicant
blind'. This means that we cannot, and do not, ask about the motives of anyone who asks for information. In providing
a response to one person, we are expressing a willingness to provide the same response to anyone, including those who might,
in some circumstances, represent a threat to the UK. In this instance, we must also consider whether or not our answers to
your questions could be used by some members of the public to prejudice the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of
We have to balance, on one hand, the inherent public interest in the Home Office being open and
accountable whilst, on the other hand, how the public interest would be served by us providing answers that could prejudice
these investigations or be otherwise detrimental to the work of the police, the government and the McCann family in their
efforts to locate Madeleine. Would it be in the best interest of the public for the Home Office to be seen as releasing information
that might prejudice the investigation? Probably not. Would it be in the public interest for the Home Office to release information
that could potentially jeopardise relationships between the United Kingdom and policing authorities with which cooperate around
the world? Would these authorities be willing to work with us in the future if we released information that potentially prejudices
an ongoing investigation? The answer to both is no. Would it be in the public interest to release information that could help
Madeleine’s captor evade detection and arrest? Most certainly not.
These are some of the considerations we
are currently considering. Simply because the questions are direct and would only require simple answers, does not mean that
potential prejudicial effects of providing those answers would not be far reaching. Whilst we do not doubt that, as a concerned
member of the public, you are interested in ascertaining what information the Home Office holds on this matter, we must consider
the possibility that some individuals may use this information to their advantage and not for the benefit of the community
as a whole.
I would therefore like to apologise once again for the time it is taking us to provide you a response
to your questions. Please be assured that this is because the subject matter is extremely sensitive and not because we are
trying to obfuscate the matter or be deliberately awkward. Please also be assured that I am aware that we have exceeded the
twenty working day deadline provided under s.10(1) of the Act and that, despite legitimately extending this deadline under
s.10(3) of the Act, we have also exceed the forty working day guideline provided by the Information Commission. The Home Office
does aim to provide a prompt response to all FoI requests but, in some cases, where the information is particularly sensitive,
we do need to take some extra time to make sure we have considered all the aspects relevant to that case.
to the four new questions which you have asked us to consider, these will need to be treated as a separate request. This is
because a valid FoI request under s.8 of the FoI Act only concerns information that was held at the time a request was received.
Because your new questions concern information that might have been recorded since your original request was received, we
will need to consider it separately. In light of this, I would be grateful if you can confirm that you would like us
to answer these questions separately.
Thank you again for your interest in the Home Office and for your patience
in this matter. If you have any more questions about the handling of your request, please don’t hesitate to contact
me and I will be happy to help.
Ian Lister Information Access Consultant Information Access Team
The original FoI request
19 March 2010
Home Office Head of Freedom of Information Act Section Direct Communications Unit 2 Marsham Street LONDON SW1P 4DF
re: Questions to the Home Office Freedom of Information
Act Section - Involvement by the Home Office with the McCanns regarding a possible review or re-investigation into the disappearahce
of Madeleine McCann
During the past two weeks, several newspapers have referred to the following matters
in relation to the Madeleine McCann case:
a) one or more meetings between Home Secretary Alan Johnson and the
b) several meetings between the McCanns and staff of the Home Office
c) the commencement of
a 'scoping exercise' to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine's disappearance may take
d) the appointment of the Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, to
advise the Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation
e) the reported
decision by Jim Gamble and the Home Office to appoint West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation.
is evident that there remains huge public interest in and beyond the U.K. in what really happened to Madeleine McCann, which
was described as recently as 19 February by the McCanns' chief public relations adviser, Mr Clarence Mitchell, as 'a
complete mystery'. The clear public interest will therefore be served by your section providing full answers as soon as
possible to the following questions under the Freedom of Information Act. We would add that the answers to these questions
must be readily available to officials and so the cost of providing them should be minimal. Here are the questions:
1. On what date or dates has the Home Secretary Alan Johnson had meetings with one or both of the McCanns?
2. Who else was present at these meetings: in particular, was any lawyer or othert adviser for the McCanns present?
3. On what dates did meetings take place between one or both of the McCanns and staff of the Home Office?
Please identify all the staff who met with the McCanns and again identify whether the McCanns had legal or other representatives
5. On what date did the McCanns first approach the Home Office asking for a review or re-investigation
by a British police force into Madeleine's disappearance?
6. Is the Home Office carrying out what the Daily
Telegraph called 'a scoping exercise' to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine's disappearance
may take and, if so, on what date did that scoping exercise commence?
7. Why, according to the press,
was Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, given the role of advising the
Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation?
8. On what date did the Home
Secretary ask Mr Gamble to perform this role?
9. On what date did Mr Gamble make his recommendation?
Did he, as reported, recommend West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation?
11. Has West Yorkshire
Police, as reported, been asked to carry out a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?
12. If so, what is the brief or remit that the Home Office has given to West Yorkshire Police?
I look forward
to hearing from you.
FoI request: The CPS respond to claim of a 'special unit', 21 July
Madeleine Foundation Media Statement released by the Committee Friday 2
- Extract -
Recently, Tony was told by D.I. Roe that his decision-making
in the case [allegations of fraud in The Madeleine Foundation] was being curtailed by a special unit within C.P.S. headquarters
to which all matters relating in any way to the Madeleine McCann case had to be referred. To us, that illustrates that the
eight-month investigation into Tony which has produced no evidence of fraud or deception may have been politically motivated
and orchestrated at a high level.
From: b-j-r Sent: Monday, July 05, 2010 9:56 AM To: email@example.com Subject: Freedom of Information - Special Unit within CPS dealing with all matters relating to Madeleine McCann
To the Head of CPS Freedom of Information - Special Unit within CPS dealing with all matters relating
to Madeleine McCann
I am writing to you today under the Freedom of Information Act so that you can clarify
something that I have read on the internet referring to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and the Crown Prosecution Service.
An article produced on the 2nd July 2010 by the Madeleine Foundation contains a passage as stated:
I therefore request answers to the following questions under the Freedom of Information Act.
Firstly please could you confirm if the above statement is correct and if it is correct when was the special unit first formed?
2. If the statement is correct, who spearheads this special unit within the CPS?
3. If the statement is
correct, why has this case been allowed to have a special unit that deals with anything to do with the Madeleine McCann case?
4. If the statement is correct who and which department did the order come from within the CPS giving authorisation
to form a special unit and did they receive instructions from the Government to form this special unit, and if so which Minister
authorised the sanctioning of the special unit?
5. If the statement is correct, please could you inform me of all
costs that this special unit has incurred since its formation.
I look forward to receiving your reply.
Mrs B R***
Response from the CPS, 21 July 2010
21 July 2010
- Extract -
There is no special unit at the CPS that deals with all matters relating to Madeleine McCann.
Home Office response to FoI request concerning meetings and activities undertaken
in support of a possible case review, 13 September 2010
Home Office response to FoI request concerning meetings and activities undertaken in support of
a possible case review McCann Exposure
13 September 2010
Home Office Information
Access Team Information Management Service Financial & Commercial Group On behalf of the Home Office Police
Powers and Protection Unit (PPPU)
Thank you for your e-mail of 24 March, 2010 in which you ask for the following information
1. On what date or
dates has the Home Secretary Alan Johnson had meetings with one or both of the McCanns?
2. Who else was present
at these meetings: in particular, was any lawyer or other adviser for the McCanns present?
3. On what dates did
meetings take place between one or both of the McCanns and staff of the Home Office?
4. Please identify all the
staff who met with the McCanns and again identify whether the McCanns had legal or other representatives with them.
5. On what date did the McCanns first approach the Home Office asking for a review or re-investigation by a British police
force into Madeleine’s disappearance?
6. Is the Home Office carrying out what the Daily Telegraph called
'a scoping exercise' to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine's disappearance may take'
and, if so, on what date did that scooping exercise commence?
7. Why, according to the press, was Chief Executive
of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, given the role of advising the Home Office as to which
police force should carry out any review or re-investigation?
8. On what date did the Home Secretary ask Mr Gamble
to perform this role?
9. On what date did Mr Gamble make his recommendation?
10. Did he, as reported,
recommend West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation?
11. Has West Yorkshire Police, as reported,
been asked to carry out a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?
12. If so, what
is the brief or remit that the Home Office has given to West Yorkshire Police?
Your request has been handled as
a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI) and we can now provide you with a substantive response
to your request.
I can confirm that the then Home Secretary met Mr and Mrs McCann in October 2009. Also present
were two members of the Minister's Private Office and a Home Office Official. There were no subsequent meetings between
Home Office Ministers or Home Office officials and Mr and Mrs McCann or any representative acting on their behalf, between
then and the date of your letter.
I confirm that the Home Office holds some information relevant to remaining parts
of your request but that, other than the information provided above, we consider that information to be exempt from disclosure
under sections 31(1)(a) and (b), s.40(2) and s36(2)(b)(i) and (ii) of the Act.
Furthermore, we neither confirm
nor deny that we hold any further information by virtue of Section 23(5) – information relating to an organisation listed
in Section 23(3) of the Act. Section 23 confers an absolute exemption from our duty under section 1(1)(a) of the Act and does
not require any further consideration. This response should not be taken as conclusive evidence that the information you have
requested is or is not held by the Home Office.
The general policy of the Home Office is not to disclose to a third
party, personal information about another person. Section 40(2) of the FOI relates to the handling of personal information
under the Data Protection Act. The Home Office has obligations under that Act, and in law generally, to protect the personal
data that it holds. Mr and Mrs McCann would have had a legitimate expectation that any meeting with the Home Secretary was
a private meeting. We have therefore, concluded that such information as you have requested which relates to Mr and Mrs McCann’s
participation in the meeting and any views or opinions expressed, is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the FOI,
on the grounds that the such disclosure would breach the first Data Protection Principle in that it would constitute unfair
processing of their personal data. The same exemption applies in relation to the details of Home Office officials present
at the meeting. Section 40(2) is an absolute exemption and does not require any further consideration.
31(1)(a) provides that information is exempt if its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the prevention or detection
of crime, and section 31(1)(b) if it would potentially prejudice the apprehension or prosecution of offenders, and (in both
cases) the public interest falls in favour of applying the exemption.
Sections 36(2)(b)(i) and (ii) apply to information
which, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, would if disclosed, be likely to inhibit the free and frank provision
of advice, or the free and frank exchange of views for the purpose of deliberation. Section 36 is also subject to the supporting
arguments of a public interest test.
Consideration of the public interest test in relation to these elements of
the Act is detailed in Annex A.
If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal
review of our handling of your request by submitting a complaint, within two months, to the address below, quoting the reference
number at the top of this letter:
Information Access Team Home Office Ground Floor, Seacole Building 2 Marsham Street London SW1P 4DF
Alternatively you can e-mail:
If you ask for an internal review, it would be helpful if you could say why you are dissatisfied with the response.
As part of any internal review the Department's handling of your information request will be reassessed by staff who were
not involved in providing you with this response. If you remain dissatisfied after this internal review, you would have a
right of complaint to the Information Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.
I apologise for the very long delay in replying to your request owing to the need to apply and fully consider the public
interest test in this case.
Information Access Consultant
Freedom of Information Request: Metropolitan
Police Service (MPS), 05 October 2011
Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2011090001190
respond in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 07/09/2011.
I note you seek access to the following information:
Under the freedom of information request I would like you
Firstly: provide the information which was previously requested by ITV News (Case number 2010010005025) with
regard to the disappearance of Madeline Mccann. Their request was to acquire any material, correspondence that were conducted
with the portugese police during 2007.
Secondly: I would like to receive copies of any other freedom of information
requests which were made by news agencies or journalists with regard to the disappearance of Madeline Mccann. Either if they
received information or did not, I would like to receive details of their request.
Thirdly: please provide details
of any other freedom of information requests which have been made in relation to the disappearance of Madeline Mccann.
Redefined on 19 September 2011 as:
I am requesting the information which was released under request 2010010005025
and I am also seeking copies of any requests and their responses from other organisations or people.
SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION
To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within
the Specialist Crime Directorate - Homicide and Serious Crime Command.
RESULT OF SEARCHES
located information relevant to your request.
I have today decided to disclose the located
information to you in full.
Please find attached information pursuant to your request above.
As of 08
September 2011, the MPS had received three requests for information regarding The Madeline McCann review. Please find them
attached to this reponse. Please note that only two requests were answered and the third was withdrawn by the applicant, therefore,
no response was prepared.
Your attention is drawn to the attached sheet which details
your right of complaint.
Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please email or contact
me on telephone number 020 7230 2003 quoting the reference number above.
Andrew Beaumont SCD Information Manager
Request and response 1
Freedom of Information Request
I respond in connection with your request for information dated 27th January 2010 which
was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on the same date. I note you seek access to the following information:
ITV news would like to acquire:
1) Any material or correspondence that were conducted with the portugese
police during 2007.
2) Any correspondence that either Leicestershire police or the MET Police had with the Home
Office in relation to Madeline's disappearance.
3) Transcripts of any interviews that were held with the McCanns
or other witnesses.
4) Any information that you now consider no longer part of an ongoing investigation.
Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within the MPS to locate information relevant to your request. EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION
To locate the information relevant to your request
searches were conducted within the Specialist Crime Directorate SCD). RESULT OF SEARCHES
The searches failed to locate any information relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is
not held by the MPS.
For your information the publication strategy for material relating to Operation Task is published
on the Leicestershire Constabulary website.
I respond in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)
on 02/08/2011. I note you seek access to the following information:
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 Questions
- Madeleine McCann Review Team
Please answer the following questions in relation to the Madeleine McCann Review
1. What is the precise remit of the Review Team? 2. When was that remit agreed? 3. Who decided
the remit? 4. When completed, to whom will the Review Report be presented ? 5. On 14 May 2011, the Daily Telegraph
said that "Scotland Yard's new investigation is being overseen by Commander Simon Foy, one of the force's most
experienced detectives". Please either confirm that, or provide information as to who is in overall command of this Review. 6. On 15 May 2011, the Daily Record said that "Scotland Yard said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, from the
Homicide and Serious Crime Command, would be the senior investigating officer in the case". Please either confirm that,
or provide information as to who is the senior investigating officer in the case. 7. On 15 May 2011, the Independent
on Sunday said that "Mr. Redwood will report to Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, Homicide and Serious
Crimes Command (HSCC), operational command unit commander." Please either confirm that, or provide information as to
who is the person in overall charge of the HSCC". 8. On 20 and 22 July 2011, an officer from the Intelligence Section
of the Madeleine McCann Team, Sam, Pay No. 220629, stated that the policy of the Team was not to answer any correspondence.
Please state whether or not this is the case. 9. Please state whether, if evidence or other information is sent to the
Madeleine McCann Review Team, any acknowledgement of the receipt of that information will be given. 10. Does the Madeleine
McCann Review Team have a deadline for completing its review? If so, when is it? 11. Does the Madeleine McCann Review
Team have a budget? If so, what is it? Do the funds allocated to this Review Team come from the Home Office or from the Metropolitan
Following receipt of your request searches were conducted within the MPS to locate information
relevant to your request. EXTENT OF SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION
To locate the information
relevant to your request searches were conducted within the Specialist Crime Directorate - Homicide and Serious Crime Command.
RESULT OF SEARCHES
The searches located information relevant to your request.
I have today decided to:
Answer questions 5, 6 , 7, 10 and 11 in full
To refuse questions 8 and 9 by virtue of section 8 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (The Act) as an invalid
To exempt questions 1, 2, 3 and 4 by virtue of section 30 (1)(a)(b)(c) and section 31(1)(a)(b)(c) of the
Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Act referred to in this email.
REASONS FOR DECISION
The following questions have been responded to in full:
At question 5 you asked: On 14 May 2011, the Daily Telegraph said that "Scotland Yard's new investigation
is being overseen by Commander Simon Foy, one of the force's most experienced detectives". Please either confirm
that, or provide information as to who is in overall command of this Review.
At Question 6 you asked:
On 15 May 2011, the Daily Record said that " Scotland Yard said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, from the Homicide
and Serious Crime Command, would be the senior investigating officer in the case". Please either confirm that, or provide
information as to who is the senior investigating officer in the case.
At question 7 you asked: On
15 May 2011, the Independent on Sunday said that "Mr. Redwood will report to Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell,
Homicide and Serious Crimes Command (HSCC), operational command unit commander." Please either confirm that, or provide
information as to who is the person in overall charge of the HSCC".
The MPS response is:
The senior officer with oversight of the review is Commander Simon Foy. Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Andy Redwood is the
Senior Investigating Officer. DCI Redwood reports to Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell.
question 10 you asked: Does the Madeleine McCann Review Team have a deadline for completing its review? If so, when
The MPS response is: The review team does not have a deadline for the completion of its
At question 11 you asked: Does the Madeleine McCann Review Team have a budget? If so,
what is it? Do the funds allocated to this Review Team come from the Home Office or from the Metropolitan Police Authority?
The MPS response is: The MPS has allocated a team to deal with this and the Home Office have agreed
to reimburse this cost. This is reviewed on a quarterly basis.
The following questions have been refused
on the grounds that they do not constitute a valid request under the Act:
At question 8 you asked:
On 20 and 22 July 2011, an officer from the Intelligence Section of the Madeleine McCann Team, Sam, Pay No. 220629, stated
that the policy of the Team was not to answer any correspondence. Please state whether or not this is the case.
question 9 you asked: Please state whether, if evidence or other information is sent to the Madeleine McCann Review
Team, any acknowledgement of the receipt of that information will be given.
The MPS response is:
I have decided to refuse access to the information you have requested under the provisions of Section 8(2)(a)(b)(c) of the
A request under the Act is required by statute to be legible and capable of being used for subsequent reference.
After careful consideration, I have decided that your request does not meet this requirement as I am unable to ascertain what
recorded information you have requested, as defined by Section 8(2)(c).
To enable us to meet your request could
you please resubmit your application in accordance with the above requirements. If for any reason you are unable to do so,
please contact me for assistance or seek assistance from any other available source.
I attach an excerpt from the
Information Commissioner's website which may assist you in composing any future Freedom of Information requests.
What can I request under the Freedom of Information Act?
You have the right to request any information
held by public authorities. The Act allows access to recorded information, such as emails, meeting minutes, research or reports
held by public authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales and some authorities located in Scotland.
have not made a request for recorded information which may be held by the MPS but questions which require a confirmation of
a statement. You will need to be specific as to the recorded information you require.
We will consider your resubmitted
request upon receipt as long as it meets the requirements stated above. You will receive the information requested within
the statutory timescale of 20 working days as defined by the Act, subject to the information not being exempt.
following questions are exempt by virtue of Section 30 (1 )(a)(b)(c) and Section 31(1 )(a)(b)(c) of the Act:
Please see the legal annex for the sections of the Act referred to in this email.
question 1 you asked: What is the precise remit of the Review Team?
At question 2 you asked:
When was that remit agreed?
At question 3 you asked: Who decided the remit?
question 4 you asked: When completed, to whom will the Review Report be presented?
The MPS response
is: This information is exempt by virtue of Section 30(1)(a)(b)(c) and Section 31(1)(a)(b)(c) of the Act
Constituents of this information attract Section 30 and other constituents attract Section 31 of the Act.
It should not be surmised that we are applying Sections 30 & 31 to the same pieces of information.
Section 30(1 )(a)(i)(ii)(b)(c) of the Act, Public Authorities are able to withhold information if it was obtained or
recorded for the purposes of investigations, criminal proceedings or civil proceedings. In this case the information requested
relates to an ongoing review. Disclosing specific details of a review could potentially impact and undermine any current or
future reviews. This exemption can be applied after evidencing the Harm, which could be caused by its release and following
completion of a Public Interest Test (PIT). The purpose of the PIT is to establish whether the 'Public Interest' lies
in disclosing or withholding the requested information.
Under Section 31(1) (a) (b) (c) of the Act Public Authorities
are able to withhold information where its release could compromise Law Enforcement. In this case the information requested
relates to an ongoing review. Disclosing specific details of a review could potentially impact and undermine any current or
future criminal and /or civil proceedings. This exemption can be applied after evidencing the Harm, which could be caused
by its release and following completion of a Public Interest Test (PIT). The purpose of the PIT is to establish whether the
'Public Interest' lies in disclosing or withholding the requested information.
This email serves as a Refusal
Notice under Section 17 of the Act .
REASONS FOR DECISION
Before I explain the reasons
for the decisions I have made in relation to your request, I thought that it would be helpful if I outline the parameters
set out by the Act within which a request for information can be answered.
The Act creates a statutory right of
access to information held by public authorities. A public authority in receipt of a request must, if permitted, confirm if
the requested information is held by that public authority and, if so, then communicate that information to the applicant.
The right of access to information is not without exception and is subject to a number of exemptions which are designed
to enable public authorities to withhold information that is not suitable for release. Importantly, the Act is designed to
place information into the public domain, that is, once access to information is granted to one person under the Act, it is
then considered public information and must be communicated to any individual should a request be received.
considered your request for information within the provisions set out by the Act. I have addressed your request in order to
both confirm if the requested information is held by the MPS and then to provide this information to you. Where I have been
unable to provide the requested information to you, I have explained my decision in accordance with Section 17 of the Act.
Evidence of Harm
In considering whether or not this information should be disclosed, I
have considered the potential HARM that could be caused by disclosure.
Under the Act, we cannot, and do not request
the motives of any applicant for information. We have no doubt the vast majority of applications under the Act are legitimate
and do not have any ulterior motives, however, in disclosing information to one applicant we are expressing a willingness
to provide it to anyone in the world. This means that a disclosure to a genuinely interested applicant automatically opens
it up for a similar disclosure to anyone, including those who might represent a threat to individuals, or any possible criminal
and / or civil process.
Information of this nature needs to be treated with extreme sensitivity, as it could have
a detrimental effect on a review and the operational effectiveness of the MPS and it's ability to fulfil its core function
of law enforcement.
High profile reviews, such as this one, are highly emotive and the manner in which they are
conducted are usually kept in strict secrecy so that the tactics and lines of enquiry that are followed do not become public
knowledge thereby rendering them useless.
Public Interest Test
considerations favouring disclosure
Disclosure of this information would enlighten members of the public
as to the action taken by the MPS in this investigation. This may go some way to promoting awareness, accountability and would
reinforce the MPS's commitment to openness and transparency. Release of this information would assist in any public debate
on the MPS's action during this investigation and would demonstrate the willingness of the MPS to be open and transparent
with the public showing what procedures are carried out.
Public interest considerations favouring non-disclosure
Information relating to an ongoing review will rarely be disclosed and only where there is a strong public
interest consideration favouring disclosure. In this case, release of the requested information could allow individuals to
use the information contained in the remit to undermine the methodology and techniques employed by the MPS and impede current
/future investigations. Release of the remit and the other details could inform suspects of the progress of the review and
allow them to use the information contained in it for criminal activities and to avoid justice.
After weighing up the competing interests I have determined that the disclosure of the above information
would not be in the public interest. I consider that the benefit that would result from the information being disclosed does
not outweigh disclosing information relating to your request for information about the remit of The Madeleine McCann Review.
The MPS will rarely disclose information relating to an ongoing review as to do so could adversely harm that investigation.
Section 17 of the Act provides:
(1) A public
authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision in part
II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim that information is exempt information
must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-
(a) states the fact, (b) specifies the exemption in question, and (c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption
Section 8(1)(a)(b)(c)(2)(a)(b)(c) of the Act provides:
(2) For the
purposes of subsection (1)(a), a request is to be treated as made in writing where the text of the request-
is transmitted by electronic means, (b) is received in legible form, and (c) is capable of being used for subsequent
Section 30(1)(a)(b)(c) of the Act provides:
(1) Information held
by a public authority is exempt information if it has at any time been held by the authority for the purposes of-
any investigation which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being ascertained-
a person should be charged with an offence, or (ii) whether a person charged with an offence is guilty of it,
any investigation which is conducted by the authority and in the circumstances may lead to a decision by the authority to
institute criminal proceedings which the authority has power to conduct, or (c) any criminal proceedings which the authority
has power to conduct.
Section 31(1)(a)(b)(c) of the Act provides:
which is not exempt information by virtue of section 30 is exempt information if its disclosure under this Act would, or would
be likely to, prejudice-
(a) the prevention or detection of crime, (b) the apprehension or prosecution of
offenders, (c) the administration of justice
Request and response 3 (withdrawn)
Freedom of Information Act Request Reference No:
1. Tasks performed, or been performed, by MET Police,
about Madeleine McCann kidnapping investigation (that ocurred in Praia da Luz, Portugal, May 3, 2007). 2. MET Police
plans and/or future developments to continue searching for Madeleine McCann and/or her kidnapper(s).