A team of 30 detectives from Scotland Yard will be
assigned to the search for missing Madeleine McCann in an investigation
which could cost millions of pounds, The Daily Telegraph has learnt.
McCann holding her missing daughter, Madeleine's favourite
toy, Cuddle Cat. Photo: JOHN TAYLOR
Some of the team will be officers who were due to retire or take
voluntary redundancy, a police source said.
The details came as Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner of the
Metropolitan Police, defended Scotland Yard’s decision to take up the
case, insisting that Madeleine could still be found alive.
She went missing from her family’s holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the
Algarve on May 3, 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.
Portuguese police, helped by officers from Leicestershire Police,
carried out an extensive investigation into her disappearance but the
official inquiry was formally suspended in July 2008.
Since then no police force has been actively looking for the child.
But last week, it was announced that Scotland Yard would reopen the
search, a move that led to criticism that officers’ valuable time would
be diverted away from other cases. A police source said that the team of
30 Scotland Yard officers would in part be drawn from those who were due
to leave the force through redundancy or retirement.
One of the major difficulties — and expenses — that detectives will face
is that much of the material in the investigation will require
translation from Portuguese, the source said.
However, the commissioner insisted “there is always a chance” his
detectives would find Madeleine alive.
“When you receive a request, supported by the Prime Minister, from the
Home Secretary, you take that very seriously,” he told LBC radio. “This
is not unique. On balance, I think it was the right thing to do.
“We do review these sort of cases and I think there may be some benefit
The review, which will be funded by the Home Office, has already been
described as “ludicrous” and prompted claims that the intervention could
undermine the independence of the force.
Last week, Lord Harris, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority,
said: “Whilst no one doubts the desirability of doing what can sensibly
be done to find out what has happened to Madeleine McCann, I can imagine
that the senior leadership of the Metropolitan Police are not exactly
happy about this.
“It again embroils their officers in a high-profile investigation, where
the chances of success are unclear, and which will divert limited
investigative resources away from other matters.”
Scotland Yard will review the Portuguese police files on the case. The
review will be led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, from the
Homicide and Serious Crime Command.
The announcement of the Met’s involvement followed criticism of David
Cameron from Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, who said the
Prime Minister had shown insufficient commitment to children.
The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance was
formally suspended in July 2008, although private detectives employed by
the McCanns continued the search.
Mr Cameron personally wrote to the McCanns to confirm the reopening of
The couple have welcomed the move as “a step in the right direction”.