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After weeks of searching, the Met Police realise that they have zero information about any demands for payment from the Portuguese authorities for work on Operation Grange Mm11

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After weeks of searching, the Met Police realise that they have zero information about any demands for payment from the Portuguese authorities for work on Operation Grange Empty After weeks of searching, the Met Police realise that they have zero information about any demands for payment from the Portuguese authorities for work on Operation Grange

Post by Tony Bennett on 05.09.16 7:59

Here is the reply, received 43 days after my original FoI Act request (requests under the Act should be processed within 20 working days), as to how much the Met Police or the Home Office has had to pay to the Portuguese authorities for work carried out on behalf of Operation Grange.

Those of you who have followed this will know that I submitted an identical claim under FoI Act to the Home Office, on the same day, and am still awaiting any answer from there.

Of course, it is possible that the Portuguese authorities have never made any demands for payment, though they have made more than one public statement saying that the British authorities will be billed for their costs.

It's unacceptable to be told after 6 weeks that 'we can't find anything' about these costs. Clearly whoever is in charge of this investigation at the Met (and this case goes right to the very top) knows fine well whether any monies have been demanded (if any), and what has been paid (if any). If the Portuguese authorities hadn't demanded a penny, they could have told me that months ago.

So I think something is being hidden, and I will press on by asking for a review first of all and if necessary appeal to the Information Commissioner.

I'll place all the correspondence here.

=================================================

Dear Mr Bennett

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 2016070000799

I apologise for the delay in responding.

I write in connection with your request for information which was received
by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 20/07/2016.  I note you seek
access to the following information:

I ask these questions about the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Grange
which, according to the remit set for it by former Detective Chief
Superintendent Hamish Campbell, is ‘to investigate the abduction of
Madeleine McCann as if the abduction had occurred in the U.K.’    
In 2013 and 2014 there were many references in the British press to
expenditure by the Portuguese Police having to be met by the British
government. These expenses are known to include:
1.        The cost of hiring an Alouette Mark III top-of-the-range
Portuguese military helicopter
2.        The provision of extensive physical support, assistance,
supervision and other assistance in connection with two searches of
patches of waste ground in Praia da Luz in 2014, and
3.        Extensive assistance by way of Portuguese police conducting a
series of ‘rogatory interviews’ of a significant number of alleged
suspects
4.        Translation services in connection with (a) the 2014 search of
Praia da Luz (b) the rogatory interviews of suspects and (c) any other
occasions.

Please provide the following information:
A.        The dates that the Portuguese Police, Ministry of Justice or any
other agency of the Portuguese government requested financial assistance
or otherwise submitted any invoice or other demand for payment
B.        In each case, how much was demanded?
C.        List all payments made in connection with Operation Grange to
the Portuguese authorities.
                    .

REPLY:

SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION

To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted
at Operation Grange.  The searches failed to locate any information
relevant to your request, therefore, the information you have requested is
not held by the MPS.


Should you have any further enquiries concerning this matter, please
contact me via email at [email address], quoting the reference number
above.

Yours sincerely

Michela Holmes
FOIA Officer 
   

---



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
Information Rights Unit
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
[email address]


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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or
phone:


Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone:  0303 123 1113


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____________________

Dr Martin Roberts: "The evidence is that these are the pjyamas Madeleine wore on holiday in Praia da Luz. They were photographed and the photo handed to a press agency, who released it on 8 May, as the search for Madeleine continued. The McCanns held up these same pyjamas at two press conferences on 5 & 7June 2007. How could Madeleine have been abducted?"

Amelie Mcann (aged 2): "Maddie's jammies!".  

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Post by Michael99 on 05.09.16 16:34

Got a short reply from acquilla, something like that, well as I posted I've tried this FOI with Home Office, MOJ, FCO and MOPAC no luck. So yes I do FOIs. Do you?
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Post by Verdi on 05.09.16 20:30

@Michael99 wrote:Got a short reply from acquilla, something like that, well as I posted I've tried this FOI with Home Office, MOJ, FCO and MOPAC no luck. So yes I do FOIs. Do you?
You tried what?  Are you saying you've re-submitted the meticulous work of Mr. Tony Bennett to a variety of acronyms?  If so on whose authority - if not then where are these Freedom of Information Act applications you've submitted?

You're beginning to seriously try my patience.  White noise at best - black deeds at worst.  Please put up or shut up!

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Post by Michael99 on 05.09.16 20:39

Doubtful I need your permission, and post them when I see fit. Incidentally some awaiting response at the moment.
.
.
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Post by Michael99 on 05.09.16 21:02

Sorry to dissapoint you, I've sent Tony one I got from the Foreign Office. It certainly wasn't resubmitted but my own. I've put up.
.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 05.09.16 21:50

@Michael99 wrote:Sorry to dissapoint you, I've sent Tony one I got from the Foreign Office. It certainly wasn't resubmitted but my own. I've put up.
Really? Not that I recall. I have no idea who you are anyway.


ETA:

Since making this post I have checked my e-mail inbox and within the last hour have received an e-mail from 'Michael99'.  Understandably he does not want his e-mail address disclosed (which is all I know about him). I can however confirm that he sent in an FoIAct request to the Foreign Office at the end of last summer and I can summarise the question and response by quoting extracts:

QUOTE

Consular Assistance Department
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Website: https://www.gov.uk


[Date withheld]

Dear [withheld]

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your email of 03 September asking for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. You asked:

I am told you pay the Portuguese authorities for their work since they reopened the case. Could you tell me the total cost to date, or the last available accounting period. The fate I referred to was May 2011; the outset of Operation Grange, my belief was it was the responsibility of your Department, to cover the costs of the Portuguese authorities.

REPLY:

I am writing to confirm that we have now completed the search for the information which you requested. I have established that the information you requested is not held by this Department as the FCO did not provide funding for the Portuguese authorities. Operation Grange is a Metropolitan Police led investigation.

You may wish to contact the Metropolitan Police to obtain further information, the contact email address is: operation.grange@met.pnn.police.uk

Yours sincerely,

Consular Assistance Department

UNQUOTE

MY COMMENT:  It took Michael99 four months to get this reply! And then they told him to contact the MetPolice. Why did they do this? I wrote to the MetPolice as well and got the same answer. Maybe the Portuguese authorities are being paid by some other department. Why cannot one departmemt or another simply say either:

A. We have paid the Portuguese police nothing,

OR

B. We have paid them £xxx.


Not that hard, is it?

____________________

Dr Martin Roberts: "The evidence is that these are the pjyamas Madeleine wore on holiday in Praia da Luz. They were photographed and the photo handed to a press agency, who released it on 8 May, as the search for Madeleine continued. The McCanns held up these same pyjamas at two press conferences on 5 & 7June 2007. How could Madeleine have been abducted?"

Amelie Mcann (aged 2): "Maddie's jammies!".  

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Post by Michael99 on 05.09.16 22:06

Sent 8.57 tonight, are you saying you didn't get it?


See Tony Bennett's post, above - Mod
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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 5:24

Thanks for that, same reply Home Office and Justice and Mayors office for policing. However, not finished yet.
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Post by sharonl on 06.09.16 7:31

From what I remember, the official investigation was held in Portimao but there were also, a group of unofficials running a review from Oporto.  These were the ones, originally working alongside Operation Grange.

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Post by Verdi on 06.09.16 12:45

@Michael99 wrote:Sorry to dissapoint you, I've sent Tony one I got from the Foreign Office. It certainly wasn't resubmitted but my own. I've put up.
.
If you're talking to me, no problem - I'm not disappointed.

Please forgive me but you've repeatedly asked questions on the subject of petitions and FOIs so it's understandable that one might think you are unfamiliar with detail.  In effect you are only asking questions to which you already know the answer.

I can't see why you couldn't just post up your FOI requests in the first place (deleting private information of course) rather than taking the trouble to locate Mr. Bennett's email address and sending to him. I guess you had your reasons.  Still, water under the bridge!

ETA:  Went back to the thread to locate your exact wording on a particular point but I've can't see it, the post seems to have disappeared.   Words to the effect of 'WE all know that a UK department has paid for ....'

This 'WE' for one doesn't know - would you be so kind as to provide the source of your information?  Thanks.

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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 13:47

Perhaps it should have read we all suppose. However, in the early days the Portuguese media were talking about billing UKG, I'll see if I can locate one. No intent to decieve.
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Post by aquila on 06.09.16 14:12

Even the loony Stephen Birch emailed Tony Bennett.
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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 14:22

I'm amazed you haven't solved it yet, ever been to luz?
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Post by aquila on 06.09.16 15:08

@Michael99 wrote:I'm amazed you haven't solved it yet, ever been to luz?
What kind of cryptic nonsense is that?
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Post by willowthewisp on 06.09.16 15:28

@aquila wrote:
@Michael99 wrote:I'm amazed you haven't solved it yet, ever been to luz?
What kind of cryptic nonsense is that?
Perhaps Michael99 may have travelled to Prai da Luiz during May 2007/08 offering close assistance or just paddling in the sea around some Rocks along the Beach Front resembling Chubby Brown?
What do you think Verdi?
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Post by Verdi on 06.09.16 20:15

@willowthewisp wrote:
@aquila wrote:
@Michael99 wrote:I'm amazed you haven't solved it yet, ever been to luz?
What kind of cryptic nonsense is that?
Perhaps Michael99 may have travelled to Prai da Luiz during May 2007/08 offering close assistance or just paddling in the sea around some Rocks along the Beach Front resembling Chubby Brown?
What do you think Verdi?
'I'm not going to comment on that....' (said with petulant toss of the head)

shiny

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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 20:18

What a pair of mugs. It seems you use this for your infantile humour.
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Post by Verdi on 06.09.16 20:29

@Michael99 wrote:Perhaps it should have read we all suppose. However, in the early days the Portuguese media were talking about billing UKG, I'll see if I can locate one. No intent to decieve.
Just drop the 'we' - no offense but I don't appreciate anyone presuming to speak for me.

In the absence of tangible evidence there is always a temptation to resort to press reports for verification of a specific point.  However, I was rather hoping for a more authoritative source like a direct quote from a named Portuguese official.

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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 20:36

Funny you should say that hoping something from Pedro da Carmo forthcoming. Unfortunately, no time scale. Sleep soundly.
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Post by Verdi on 06.09.16 20:39

@Michael99 wrote:What a pair of mugs. It seems you use this for your infantile humour.
It would be helpful if you could identify the member you are responding to, if you are talking to me - again - haven't you ever seen the iconic video clip when Gerry McCann was asked if he knows Robert Murat?  Here it is in all it's splendour @ 0:24..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qNhoWz0rQw

Sorry way  offtopic !

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Post by Michael99 on 06.09.16 20:42

What an interesting life you lead, you should get out more.
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Post by Verdi on 06.09.16 20:47

@Michael99 wrote:Funny you should say that hoping something from Pedro da Carmo forthcoming. Unfortunately, no time scale. Sleep soundly.
I've got your number  byebye byebye .

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Post by Jill Havern on 06.09.16 20:48

@Michael99 wrote:What an interesting life you lead, you should get out more.
And YOU should get out more too. Out of this forum!

Goodbye!

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Post by Doug D on 06.09.16 21:30

No official statements to be seen, we can only go by press reporting, although it appears to come from the same source that told the Met to ‘zip-it’ or else. This was followed up by a Met Police Press release, (linked to below), but which has now been whooshed. Someone has probably copied it somewhere for posterity though.
 
http://portugalresident.com/air-‘search-for-madeleine’-as-british-police-warned-to-‘zip-it
 
Posted by JOMAD on May 09, 2014
 
A Portuguese air force helicopter flew visiting Metropolitan Police officers over the beachside resort of Praia da Luz yesterday (Thursday, May 8) as the seven-year investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann cranked up several notches.
The Alouette III flight - paid for by the British - was to enable officers working on Operation Grange to take aerial photos of “various points of interest for future searches”.
“The objective was to see if there were areas with uneven levels consistent with a place where a body had been buried,” writes Correio da Manhã in its latest report.
Such photo-searches are considered “essential” by the British police now three years into their investigations into the seven-year-old mystery.
Yesterday’s air reconnaissance took place when the village of Luz was braced for the prospect of earthmovers moving in, added CM.
British tabloids began the week with inflated stories of legions of diggers being drafted in to search key sites near the Ocean Club resort from which Madeleine went missing in May 2007.
The result seems to be that the Portuguese authorities have warned their British counterparts to ‘zip it’.
Sky News reporter Martin Brunt said yesterday that “the Portuguese authorities have threatened to hold up cooperation if British police talk about the new phase of the investigation”.
He also intimated that new searches - far from involving “diggers everywhere” - are more likely to use police dogs and ground-penetrating radar.
However, when these searches will start is anyone’s guess.
 
…………………………
 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2623254/Scotland-Yard-detectives-leading-hunt-Madeleine-McCann-arrive-Portugal-ahead-excavations-town-vanished.html
 
A large wasteland yards from the Ocean Club complex will be dug up, plus an area beside the beach as well as roads by the church in Praia da Luz where Gerry and Kate McCann prayed for the safe return of their daughter.
 
But while Met detectives instigated the new searches and will cover the huge costs involved, the work is controlled by the Portuguese.
 
There are even concerns that the Met may be banned from ‘witnessing’ the digs. In a further setback, a request to search the homes of some of the prime suspects in the case has been rejected.
 
Jornal de Notícias, paper edition (page 13), May 9, 2014
 
Yesterday, the day was marked by an aerial photo-reconnaissance in Praia da Luz of the areas where searches and excavations are planned, using a helicopter of the Portuguese Air Force paid by the British authorities and by a meeting between the police forces of the two countries at the PJ headquarters in Faro.
 
The relationship between the police forces of the two countries is rather tense. The Judiciary Police has requested to the English police to stop disclosing information about the ongoing work in Portugal, otherwise they will not proceed with the steps that were requested. Scotland Yard wrote to the newspapers in the United Kingdom asking for “understanding”.
 
 
http://www.jn.pt/nacional/dossiers/o-caso-maddie-mccann/ultimas/interior/policias-ingleses-pedem-fotos-aereas-de-locais-onde-pode-estar-corpo-de-maddie-3851752.html?id=3851752
 
The cost of this flight, like with the other investigative steps [asked by the British], will be covered by the British authorities.
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