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Cuts hold up Maddie UK probe
Who'll pay, ask police
By Lucy Panton, 29/08/2010
A NEW probe by British cops into missing Madeleine McCann is being held up in a row over funding, we can reveal.
Police forces face cuts of tens of millions of pounds to their budgets leaving no spare cash to pay for what would be a costly re-investigation.
Home Secretary Theresa May held a meeting with Kate and Gerry McCann early this month to discuss the search for their daughter.
Senior officers at Scotland Yard have been consulted about taking on the case. But despite the apparent early progress we can reveal that there are two key stumbling blocks.
No police force can afford to take on the job which could take at least two detectives away from other duties for as long as a year.
A source said: "The real issue that needs to be resolved is who is going to pay for it? No police force can afford to agree to take on the case without knowing where the funding will come from.
"The other issue which is as important to resolve is to ensure that British officers will have full access in Portugal.
"At the moment there is no agreement in place that the Portuguese authorities are going to allow and co-operate with a British re-investigation.
"The review has highlighted the need for a thorough re-investigation starting from scratch. The Metropolitan Police have been consulted and are likely to be given the job, but not until all the problems have been ironed out."
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leicestershire, appealed directly to former Home Secretary Alan Johnson and now Mrs May for extra help.
Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in May 2007. This year we broke the news that the Met's Homicide Command have been approached to discuss taking on the investigation.
Jim Gamble, head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, told Labour ministers there were huge holes in the original inquiry.The treasury are set to slash eight per cent of the policing budget for the next three years threatening jobs.
I can well imagine the very last thing the Portimao Mafia want is the Met poking about in their rats's nest.
And if Bennett, Butler, and all the rest of them stopped wasting taxpayers' money on their pathetic quarrels and stupid crusades, it might help save rather a lot of money.