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OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

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OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 9:16

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Dear Mr Bennett,

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2013080002263


I would first like to take this opportunity to apologise for the delay to your request and for any inconvenience caused.

Further to our letter of 27 August 2013, I am now able to provide a response to your complaint dated 2/8/13 concerning:


  • Original FOI case number 2013050000621



Original FOI Request (dated 3 May 2013)

My questions relate to Operation Grange, the name of the Scotland Yard Review Team based at Belgravia Police Station under the command of Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood:

1. Please state the number of police officers, BY RANK and whether FULL-TIME or PART-TIME, employed within Operation Grange on the following dates:
1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013.

2. In addition, how many officers have spent nights outside the UK as part of their work for Operation Grange and

3. What is the total number of days officers have spent overnight on Operation Grange work since 1 May 2011.

DECISION

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) has completed its review and has decided to:


  • Uphold the original decision


REASON FOR DECISION

The original response to your request confirmed that it would not be possible to respond to your request within the cost threshold, by virtue of Section 12(1) of the Act.

On careful review of your request the MPS is required to uphold the original decision provided to you. It remains the case that there is no central record/system from which a member of staff can retrieve, locate and extract the specific information you have requested within the 18 hour threshold.

The MPS has already publicly confirmed that the Operation Grange Team is at least 37 people strong but can vary which adds to the difficulty in finding the answer to your questions. Additionally the Major Investigation Team (MIT) assigned to Operation Grange also continues to work on its existing outstanding homicide cases and so does not hold information only in respect of this one investigative review.

In considering the amount of officers and staff working on Operation Grange at any given time, to comply with your request requires a member of staff to recall, locate and extract over two and a half years worth of enquiries relating to working patterns and overnight stays with all individuals who have worked on this review at any one time. In consideration there are at least 37 individuals at any given time who would need to be contacted to ensure we fully comply with your request and taking into account the MPS estimate it would take approximately thirty [30] minutes to locate the relevant information per individual, the MPS are of the opinion that such a task would reach 18 hours at the very least. In consideration there will inevitably been a changeover of staff over the past two years, the MPS would be required to contact more than 37 individuals for any held information.

Whilst it would be ideal if staffing information relating to officers working on Operation Grange were stored in one central place, this is unfortunately not the case.

Fees Regulations

The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004 prescribe the 'appropriate limit' as being £450 for public authorities which are not part of central government, with staff costs calculated at a rate of £25 per hour. In order to avoid exceeding the fees limit the MPS would need to be able to determine whether it holds the information and if necessary complete the location, retrieval and extraction of the requested information within 18 hours of staff time.

As indicated in the Fees regulations, where a reasonable estimate has been made that the appropriate limit would be exceeded, there is no requirement for a public authority to undertake work up to the limit. Therefore due to the linked subject matter of your requests, as one question within the request exceeds the appropriate cost limit, the MPS is not required to comply with the remaining questions.

It is important to note that your three questions have been aggregated for cost purposes due to their related subject matter.

Section 16 of the Act - Advice and assistance in regards to refining your request

To assist you under Section 16 of the Act, you were provided advice on how to refine your request so that the MPS would be more likely to be able to answer your request within the appropriate limit.

You were advised to narrow question one [1] to seek the number of police officers employed within Operation Grange between 1/9/11 and 1/3/13. You requested that your original question one [1] was then logged as a refined request (whilst still seeking part time and full time staff numbers). That new request was logged under case number 2013080002226 and remains outstanding. In initially advising you on how to narrow your request I find for the purpose of this review that the MPS met its obligations under Section 16 of the Act.

Question One[1] - Further advice and assistance

Please state the number of police officers, BY RANK and whether FULL-TIME or PART-TIME, employed within Operation Grange on the following dates: 1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013.

To assist you further in respect of question one [1], the MPS has already publicly confirmed that a Major Investigation Team (MIT) is assigned to Operation Grange. This is made up of one [1] Detective Chief Inspector, three [3] Detective Inspectors, five [5] Detective Sergeants, nineteen [20] Detective constables and at least eight [8] police support staff. The MIT is assisted by three [3] Murder Review Group Officers and staff numbers are open to change depending on the needs of the review. As previously explained, the team remains at least 37 people strong at any one time. Additionally MIT also continues to work on its existing outstanding homicide cases.

Whilst you are under no obligation to explain the reason you have requested staffing details over a set period of time, the MPS can confirm that the MIT size has remained consistent over the dates you have referred to (1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013), although they have been open to change depending on the needs of the Investigative Review.

Question Two[2] - Further Advice and Assistance

In addition, how many officers have spent nights outside the UK as part of their work for Operation Grange.

Whilst I appreciate your request was initially received on 3 May 2013, the MPS can confirm that as of October 2013, 18 members of Operation Grange have travelled outside the UK. The MPS appreciates it is not required to conduct work up to the cost limit if it estimates complying with the full request would exceed 18 hours. However, considerable time away from operational duties has been spent by officers locating this information for the purpose of this Internal Review.

Question Three[3] - Further Advice and Assistance

What is the total number of days officers have spent overnight on Operation Grange work since 1 May 2011.

Whilst I appreciate your request was initially received on 3 May 2013, the MPS can confirm that as of October 2013, members of the Operation Grange team have spent 156 nights outside of the UK. The MPS appreciates it is not required to conduct work up to the cost limit if it estimates complying with the full request would exceed 18 hours. However, considerable time away from operational duties has been spent by officers locating this information for the purpose of this Internal Review.

I take this opportunity to highlight that your requests have been received at a time when Operation Grange is at a clearly active stage in its Investigative Review. Requests which require officers to take valuable time out from critical investigative work is extremely burdensome on the resources available to them. I am therefore required to explain that while the MPS continue to remain as transparent as possible in respect of the Investigative Review (as evidenced by appropriate MPS engagement with the media), the MPS retains the right to consider refusing future requests on this subject as vexatious due to the disproportionate burden a request such as this has on the Service. Under Section 14(1) of the Act, public authorities do not have to comply with vexatious requests. Section 14(1) may be used where a request, or its impact on a public authority, cannot be justified.

Whilst I appreciate this refusal notice may not be the full response you would have liked, I hope the explanation I have provided has explained why the MPS is unable to comply with your request within the 18 hours fees limit, as set out by the Fees Regulations mentioned above.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS

If you are dissatisfied with this response please read the attached paper entitled Complaint Rights which explains how to contact the Information Commissioner with your complaint.

Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Strong
FOIA Policy Research & Complaints Officer


Legal Annex

Section 17(5) of the Act provides:
(5) A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is relying on a claim that section 12 or 14 applies must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice stating that fact.

Section 12 of the Act provides:
(1) Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would exceed the appropriate limit.

Section 5 of The Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3244/contents/made
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2004/3244/regulation/5/made

Information Commissioner's Office guidance on Fees Regulations
http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/freedom_of_information/detailed_specialist_guides/fees_regulations_guidance_v2.pdf

Section 14(1) (Vexatious)
Section 1(1) does not oblige a public authority to comply with a request for information if the request is vexatious.

COMPLAINT RIGHTS
Are you unhappy with how your request has been handled or do you think the decision is incorrect?

You have the right to require the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to review their decision.

Prior to lodging a formal complaint you are welcome to discuss the response with the case officer who dealt with your request.

Complaint

If you are dissatisfied with the handling procedures or the decision of the MPS made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act) regarding access to information you can lodge a complaint with the MPS to have the decision reviewed.

Complaints should be made in writing, within forty (40) working days from the date of the refusal notice, and addressed to:

FOI Complaint
Public Access Office
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
PublicAccessOffice@met.police.uk

In all possible circumstances the MPS will aim to respond to your complaint within 20 working days.

The Information Commissioner

After lodging a complaint with the MPS if you are still dissatisfied with the decision you may make application to the Information Commissioner for a decision on whether the request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.

For information on how to make application to the Information Commissioner please visit their website at www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk. Alternatively, phone or write to:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 01625 545 700 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 01625 545 700 end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

Consider our environment - please do not print this email unless absolutely necessary.

NOTICE - This email and any attachments may be confidential, subject to copyright and/or legal privilege and are intended solely for the use of the intended recipient. If you have received this email in error, please notify the sender and delete it from your system. To avoid incurring legal liabilities, you must not distribute or copy the information in this email without the permission of the sender. MPS communication systems are monitored to the extent permitted by law. Consequently, any email and/or attachments may be read by monitoring staff. Only specified personnel are authorised to conclude any binding agreement on behalf of the MPS by email. The MPS accepts no responsibility for unauthorised agreements reached with other employees or agents. The security of this email and any attachments cannot be guaranteed. Email messages are routinely scanned but malicious software infection and corruption of content can still occur during transmission over the Internet. Any views or opinions expressed in this communication are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by jeanmonroe on 20.11.13 10:19

Question One[1] - Further advice and assistance

Please state the number of police officers, BY RANK and whether FULL-TIME or PART-TIME, employed within Operation Grange on the following dates: 1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013.

To assist you further in respect of question one [1], the MPS has already publicly confirmed that a Major Investigation Team (MIT) is assigned to Operation Grange. This is made up of one [1] Detective Chief Inspector, three [3] Detective Inspectors, five [5] Detective Sergeants, nineteen [20] Detective constables and at least eight [8] police support staff. The MIT is assisted by three [3] Murder Review Group Officers and staff numbers are open to change depending on the needs of the review. As previously explained, the team remains at least 37 people strong at any one time. Additionally MIT also continues to work on its existing outstanding homicide cases.

Whilst you are under no obligation to explain the reason you have requested staffing details over a set period of time, the MPS can confirm that the MIT size has remained consistent over the dates you have referred to (1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013), although they have been open to change depending on the needs of the Investigative Review
.....................................................................................................

M.I.T. (Murder Investigation Team)

WHY would a 37 strong Met MIT 'team' be involved in a 'missing' child case?

Is a MIT 'team' assigned, straight away, to EVERY 'missing child' case in every police force in the UK when a child goes 'missing'?


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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 10:34

@jeanmonroe wrote:Question One[1] - Further advice and assistance

Please state the number of police officers, BY RANK and whether FULL-TIME or PART-TIME, employed within Operation Grange on the following dates: 1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013.

To assist you further in respect of question one [1], the MPS has already publicly confirmed that a Major Investigation Team (MIT) is assigned to Operation Grange...

SNIPPED
.....................................................................................................

M.I.T. (Murder Investigation Team)

WHY would a 37 strong Met MIT 'team' be involved in a 'missing' child case?

Is a MIT 'team' assigned, straightaway, to EVERY 'missing child' case in every police force in the UK when a child goes 'missing'?

jeanmonroe, you've got a bit confused here.

'M.I.T.' stands for 'Major Investigation Team' (not Murder). All forces have what are called 'M.I.T.' units to investigate major crimes in their areas.

Some might see a significance that the Met have now revealed that they have three 'Murder Review Group Officers' on the case, but my advice would be not to read too much into that

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by pennylane on 20.11.13 10:35

Excellent work, Tony!   hello 

I recall they also refused to divulge the Operation Grange Remit.  Must have been another hugely burdensome request for them to comply with. Rolling Eyes

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 10:37

@pennylane wrote:Excellent work, Tony!   hello 

I recall they also refused to divulge the Operation Grange Remit.  Must have been another hugely burdensome request for them to comply with. Rolling Eyes
You're right, they refused for ages to clarify what their precise remit was.

It was in answer to another of my FOI Act questions, way back in 2011 IIRC, that they were eventually fcorced to do so

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Research_Reader on 20.11.13 10:57

I find the messages coming out of the investigation to be bizarre. Surely they must have been thinking the same things as us? The only possibilities I can think of are:

(1) They are under pressure from above to take a certain direction (but this seems hard to believe these days, ie that they could think that the truth wouldn't come out?! And also why bother to have an investigation in the first place? They didn't have to).

or 

(2) They are (as some have suggested) playing a clever game with the T9 and presenting what amounts to misleading information on Crimewatch in order to 'smoke them out'. But, again, I find that so hard to believe.

Puzzled thinking

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by pennylane on 20.11.13 10:59

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@pennylane wrote:Excellent work, Tony!   hello 

I recall they also refused to divulge the Operation Grange Remit.  Must have been another hugely burdensome request for them to comply with. Rolling Eyes
You're right, they refused for ages to clarify what their precise remit was.

It was in answer to another of my FOI Act questions, way back in 2011 IIRC, that they were eventually fcorced to do so
More excellent work on your behalf xx roses

The British Establishment doesn't do Freedom of Information!  It would be wholly detrimental and against everything that ensures they remain unaccountable and basking in privilege.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by ultimaThule on 20.11.13 11:03

Total Policing is the Met's commitment to be on the streets and in your communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

How can officers who've spent a total of 5 months to date outside of the UK as part of their duties be said to be 'here for London'?

While this investigation is ongoing London is 37 police officers and support staff down on what should be available to the capital.

I have no confidence that this shortage will be reflected in the crime stats covering the period from when the 'review' began until it ends




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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by aquila on 20.11.13 11:07

Isn't the funding for this review from a special fund outside the MET budget? I believe it is and yet there is no separate accounting?

Baffling.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by jeanmonroe on 20.11.13 11:21

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@jeanmonroe wrote:Question One[1] - Further advice and assistance

Please state the number of police officers, BY RANK and whether FULL-TIME or PART-TIME, employed within Operation Grange on the following dates: 1 Sep 2011, 1 Mar 2012, 1 Sep 2012, 1 Mar 2013.

To assist you further in respect of question one [1], the MPS has already publicly confirmed that a Major Investigation Team (MIT) is assigned to Operation Grange...

SNIPPED
.....................................................................................................

M.I.T. (Murder Investigation Team)

WHY would a 37 strong Met MIT 'team' be involved in a 'missing' child case?

Is a MIT 'team' assigned, straightaway, to EVERY 'missing child' case in every police force in the UK when a child goes 'missing'?

jeanmonroe, you've got a bit confused here.

'M.I.T.' stands for 'Major Investigation Team' (not Murder). All forces have what are called 'M.I.T.' units to investigate major crimes in their areas.

Some might see a significance that the Met have now revealed that they have three 'Murder Review Group Officers' on the case, but my advice would be not to read too much into that
I am confused because of this,

"Interesting that this "burglary" is being investigated by SY's SCD1 - MIT - the latter which stands for Murder Investigation Team. I am a serving police officer with another force and this is a well known abbreviation."

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by IKNOWWHATHAPPENED on 20.11.13 11:56

Good work Tone. Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 12:00

@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by ultimaThule on 20.11.13 12:04

@aquila wrote:Isn't the funding for this review from a special fund outside the MET budget? I believe it is and yet there is no separate accounting?

Baffling.
In the absence of any philanthropists willing to pick up the tab, the sum set aside in any 'special fund' has been donated by the taxpayers of England & Wales of which more than few live in London whose policing resources have been depleted by this lengthy review/investigation.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by aquila on 20.11.13 12:12

@ultimaThule wrote:
@aquila wrote:Isn't the funding for this review from a special fund outside the MET budget? I believe it is and yet there is no separate accounting?

Baffling.
In the absence of any philanthropists willing to pick up the tab, the sum set aside in any 'special fund' has been donated by the taxpayers of England & Wales of which more than few live in London whose policing resources have been depleted by this lengthy review/investigation.
How can Tony's FOI request be responded to with an excuse that there is no way of accounting for staffing levels/costs etc? Does Theresa May just sign cheques (I know I'm being simplistic) without knowing the details of the costs involved, the man hours involved and the depletion of MET officers from caring for the citizens of London who have been assigned to only this case? Who's looking after the cash register (public funds) and who's accountable with regards to this extraordinary case?

Are SY saying that it's impossible to account for the expenditure and other details? I find the excuses in the response to Tony's request quite astounding and frankly unacceptable.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Guest on 20.11.13 12:18

I am not a UK tax-payer and do realise that as such I have less right to comment on the subject, but ... would like to remind that police is often spending big amounts on investigations.

Take the example of the late April Jones. A massive search, that cost an estimated GBP 8 million. I haven't heard of any criticism.

"The police force responsible for catching child killing paedophile Mark Bridger will only have to pay £1m of the bill for the investigation into the abduction and murder ofApril Jones, we can reveal.
The exact cost of the hunt for the abducted five-year-old and the investigation into her murder has not yet been fully calculated but early estimates put the bill at around £8m.
And Wales on Sunday can reveal that Dyfed-Powys Police will only have to pay 12% of the operational costs in relation to the biggest case in it’s history as the Home Office has agreed to cover the rest.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed it had “provided a grant” to the force to help it cover the invoice which included tens of thousands of overtime hours."


read more: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/april-jones-police-force-hunt-4698555

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by plebgate on 20.11.13 12:31

Freedom of Info.    ha ha ha ha.

Blair brought that crock in to make him look open and honest.   ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Hats off to Tony though, persistent little blighter aint he.  big grin  and he does post replies to his requests.titter

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by IKNOWWHATHAPPENED on 20.11.13 12:34

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...
Correct Tone. MI5's involvement and activities are very interesting. Which begs the question. Why did they become involved ?

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 12:53

@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...
Correct Tone. MI5's involvement and activities are very interesting. Which begs the question. Why did they become involved ?
MI5 traditionally have two distinct but interrelated roles:

1. To preserve the security of the state and its citizens, and

2. To prevent embarrassing details about those who run the state - and associated establishment figures - from having their immoral and illegal acts becoming known to the general public.

They work very closely with the government's Media Monitoring Unit, whose former boss, Clarence Mitchell [2004 to 2007], once boasted that: "IT was my job to control what comes out in the media".

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by aquila on 20.11.13 12:58

Châtelaine wrote:I am not a UK tax-payer and do realise that as such I have less right to comment on the subject, but ... would like to remind that police is often spending big amounts on investigations.

Take the example of the late April Jones. A massive search, that cost an estimated GBP 8 million. I haven't heard of any criticism.

"The police force responsible for catching child killing paedophile Mark Bridger will only have to pay £1m of the bill for the investigation into the abduction and murder ofApril Jones, we can reveal.
The exact cost of the hunt for the abducted five-year-old and the investigation into her murder has not yet been fully calculated but early estimates put the bill at around £8m.
And Wales on Sunday can reveal that Dyfed-Powys Police will only have to pay 12% of the operational costs in relation to the biggest case in it’s history as the Home Office has agreed to cover the rest.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed it had “provided a grant” to the force to help it cover the invoice which included tens of thousands of overtime hours."


read more: http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/april-jones-police-force-hunt-4698555
Thank you for this article.

If you look at the whole article it also washes over the costs and tells of Home Office funding. Just to quote two snippets:

"The exact cost of the hunt for the abducted five-year-old and the investigation into her murder has not yet been fully calculated but early estimates put the bill at around £8m.
And Wales on Sunday can reveal that Dyfed-Powys Police will only have to pay 12% of the operational costs in relation to the biggest case in it’s history as the Home Office has agreed to cover the rest.
A spokeswoman for the Home Office confirmed it had “provided a grant” to the force to help it cover the invoice which included tens of thousands of overtime hours.
However the spokeswoman refused to say the exact amount the grant covered, saying “it would be up to the force itself to disclose the cost of the investigation”."


"An application for  a special grant is usually submitted for consideration after an event, once all costs have been finalised.
Grants are then considered where the case’s additional costs exceed a minimum of 1% of the force’s annual budget – which in Dyfed Powys’ case is around £100m meaning it will only pay £1m"

..................................................................................................................................................................

This isn't the case for Madeleine. This is a (coming up to three year review/investigation) taken on under pressure by the government with no financial accountability imo and no bloody result on the horizon. Please don't anyone get me wrong here, I don't grudge a single penny for finding what happened to this little girl. What I object to is that once again no-one seems accountable. I can only equate it to a game of ping-pong (table tennis) and none of it gets closer to finding justice for Madeleine. It costs an unknown fortune (no-one will admit the cost), people make loads of money out of the case, some would probably like it all to just go away, others thrive on it and no justice is found.

It's very difficult not to be emotionally fired up about this case when you see the 'best professional people' who make money from it with absolutely no results.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by IKNOWWHATHAPPENED on 20.11.13 13:01

Number 2 would seem most likely imo. Clarenzio certainly wouldn't have the authority to despatch them to Portugal though. I think Reidy might have.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by ultimaThule on 20.11.13 13:11

@aquila wrote:
@ultimaThule wrote:
@aquila wrote:Isn't the funding for this review from a special fund outside the MET budget? I believe it is and yet there is no separate accounting?

Baffling.
In the absence of any philanthropists willing to pick up the tab, the sum set aside in any 'special fund' has been donated by the taxpayers of England & Wales of which more than few live in London whose policing resources have been depleted by this lengthy review/investigation.
How can Tony's FOI request be responded to with an excuse that there is no way of accounting for staffing levels/costs etc? Does Theresa May just sign cheques (I know I'm being simplistic) without knowing the details of the costs involved, the man hours involved and the depletion of MET officers from caring for the citizens of London who have been assigned to only this case? Who's looking after the cash register (public funds) and who's accountable with regards to this extraordinary case?

Are SY saying that it's impossible to account for the expenditure and other details? I find the excuses in the response to Tony's request quite astounding and frankly unacceptable.
The Met's response to Tony's FOI requests is not uncommon.   Many central and local government departments and agencies claim it is too labour intensive, and therefore too costly, to compile information which should be readily available at the click of a mouse and it can become a frustrating and time-consuming exercise to extract answers from reluctant officials. 

As Home Secretary, Theresa May is accountable to the Commons Home Affairs Committee which has a passable record on hauling the SY/the police over the coals when need arises - which tends to be considerably more than once in a blue moon.  

This Committee is chaired by Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Leicester East, a constituency which is the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak, from the leafy Conservative bastion in which Rothley Towers stands. 

Vaz may be on speaking/nodding terms with Labour Party activists/supporters in constituencies adjacent to his own but, given his majority, it's unlikely door knockers will need to be drafted in from other areas to aid his campaign for re-election. 

Should anyone wish to register a complaint about the cost of Op Grange or seek answers to any of Tony's unanswered questions, I would suggest writing in the first instance to Theresa May with a copy to the Chair, Home Affairs Committee. If this should result in a less than satisfactory response from the Home Office, follow through with a complaint to the Committee and badger your own MP.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by aquila on 20.11.13 13:44

The government and the police can't provide details of the costs/manpower etc of a 37 strong team of detectives/support staff dedicated to finding what happened to Madeleine. All those millions paid on computer systems (some of which were herrumph not successful, buried in other news, wasted millions on who knows who and no-one can provide meaningful information.

Most medium sized businesses could provide this basic stuff - they'd go out of business if they couldn't. A team of 37 dedicated employees must have a separate identity and a separate accountability surely?

Perhaps we should chip in and give SY a good old fashioned bookkeeper/manager/small business owner who has their finger on the pulse and can provide meaningful information to the powers that be (and I'm not talking about FOI requests). No doubt these will be the same business people that the government will look to become franchisees of their 'Police Shop'.

The government have clearly set out a £450 limit for FOI requests. At £25 per hour what are you going to realistically get for that? It's perfect!

I do understand fully what you are saying UT about the normal stance of FOI requests and their subsequent non commital bandying.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Guest on 20.11.13 14:32

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...
I asked somebody else this question the other day. Do folks think any of the "faces" out there that week was a spy? Maybe one of the big hitters? I don't mean a spy in the MI5 sense of the word, but an unofficial but well connected observer. Some people's presence there is difficult to explain in any rational way.

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by chillyheat on 20.11.13 14:47

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...
Add to the list Special Branch

Providers of a free taxi ride home from the airport on their return....

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Re: OPERATION GRANGE reply (very late) to an FOI Act request about officers' trips abroad

Post by Tony Bennett on 20.11.13 15:17

@ChillyHeat wrote:
@Tony Bennett wrote:
@IKNOWWHATHAPPENED wrote: Let us not forget SOCAs involvement.
Neither must we forget MI5's involvement...
Add to the list Special Branch

Providers of a free taxi ride home from the airport on their return....
Yes: Dr Kate McCann's book, pp. 258-259 re Sunday, 9 Serptember 2007:

"We touched down in the Midlands...On reaching the tarmac, Gerry gave a short statement to the waiting reporters and film crews. He was breaking, his voice tight as he fought against the persistent urge to bawl...A Special Branch Officer drove us to Rothely..."

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