Met Police ‘bring expertise’ to Madeleine McCann search

The Metropolitan Police are to “bring their expertise” to the search for Madeleine McCann, the Home Office says.Madeleine went missing aged three on holiday in Portugal in May 2007.David Cameron has written to her parents telling them the home secretary will be in touch to set out the “new action” involving the Met Police.Kate and Gerry McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, said they welcomed the news, which came after they asked Mr Cameron to launch a review of the case.In a statement they said: “We welcome the government’s response. This is clearly a step in the right direction.”The expertise of the Metropolitan Police is renowned and we are reassured by our government’s commitment to the search for Madeleine.”Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell added: “This is exactly what Kate and Gerry have been asking for. They wanted an independent force to examine everything, basically.”

The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine’s disappearance ended in July 2008 although private detectives hired by the McCanns have continued the search.A Home Office spokesman said the government hoped the Metropolitan Police would be able to “bring a new perspective” to the case, adding that the Home Office would be providing “the necessary financial support”.He went on to say that the government’s primary concern had always been the safe return of Madeleine.”Although she disappeared in Portugal, and the Portuguese retain the lead responsibility in the case, law enforcement agencies here have continued to follow up leads and pass information to the Portuguese authorities as appropriate,” he said.”The prime minister and the home secretary have today agreed with [Met Police commissioner] Sir Paul Stephenson that the Metropolitan Police will bring its particular expertise to this case.”Clearly, the detail of what that will entail will be a matter of operational judgement and it would not be appropriate to discuss at this stage.”In an open letter in the Sun on Thursday, Madeleine’s parents had asked Mr Cameron to launch an “independent, transparent and comprehensive” review of all information relating to the disappearance of their daughter.

In his reply, published by the same newspaper on Friday, Mr Cameron said their ordeal was “every parent’s worst nightmare”.He wrote: “I simply cannot imagine the pain you must have experienced over these four agonising years, and the strength and determination you have shown throughout is remarkable.”I have asked the home secretary to look into what more the government could do to help find Madeleine.”She will be writing to you today, setting out new action involving the Metropolitan Police Service which we hope will help boost efforts in the search for Madeleine.”‘Truthful account’Mrs McCann has also released a book about their ordeal, called Madeleine, which the couple hope will revive public support and boost their fund for private detectives to search for their daughter.Mrs McCann said she also wrote the book to provide a truthful account of events for their twins, who are now six.Former home secretary Alan Johnson commissioned a scoping exercise by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre to look at the feasibility of carrying out a review of the case.This was completed in March 2010, but Mr McCann said current Home Secretary Theresa May refused to let him and his wife see it because it was “sensitive”. – BBC