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Post by Tony Bennett on 11.09.10 9:34


19 March

These 12 questions asked. No reply yet after 120 working days.

1. On what date or dates has the Home Secretary Alan Johnson had meetings with one or both of the McCanns?

2. Who else was present at these meetings: in particular, was any lawyer or othert adviser for the McCanns present?

3. On what dates did meetings take place between one or both of the McCanns and staff of the Home Office?

4. Please identify all the staff who met with the McCanns and again identify whether the McCanns had legal or other representatives with them.

5. On what date did the McCanns first approach the Home Office asking for a review or re-investigation by a British police force into Madeleine’s disappearance?

6. Is the Home Office carrying out what the Daily Telegraph called ‘a scoping exercise’ to evaluate what form any review or re-investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance may take’ and, if so, on what date did that scoping exercise

7. Why, according to the press, was Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, Mr Jim Gamble, given the role of advising the Home Office as to which police force should carry out any review or re-investigation?

8. On what date did the Home Secretary ask Mr Gamble to perform this role?

9. On what date did Mr Gamble make his recommendation?

10. Did he, as reported, recommend West Yorkshire Police to carry out a review or re-investigation?

11. Has West Yorkshire Police, as reported, been asked to carry out a review or re-investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

12. If so, what is the brief or remit that the Home Office has given to West Yorkshire Police?

17 June

Four more questions, as follows. These have not been answered after 71 working days, MOREOVER A CASE REFERENCE NUMBER HAS NOT YET BEEN ALLOCATED TO THEM:

13. Since 19 March 2010, has any government minister in the Home Office or civil servant met with the McCanns, or any of their public relations advisers or legal advisers?

14. If so, please give the dates and whether the meetings were with ministers or civil servants.

15. If so, please state the reason for the meetings and state whether minutes were kept.

16. Has legal advice from counsel been taken by the Home Office about whether or not the Home Office should answer any or all of the 12 questions I asked three months ago on 19 March?

22 June

Two more questions, as follows. These have not been answered after 67 working days, MOREOVER A CASE REFERENCE NUMBER HAS NOT YET BEEN ALLOCATED TO THEM:

17. Please state which police force (s) in the U.K. is/are currently investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

18. Please give the current name(s) and rank(s) of the Senior Investigating Officers of any police force in the U.K. investigating the disappearance of Madeleine.

13 July

Ten more questions asked, as follows. These have not been answered after 52 working days, MOREOVER A CASE REFERENCE NUMBER HAS NOT YET BEEN ALLOCATED TO THEM:

Please answer the following questions under FOI Act:

1. On 19 January 2010, the Daily Telegraph
[ ]
quoted the Chief Executive of CEOP, Mr Jim Gamble, as follows:

CEOP’s first responsibilities for missing children would begin “almost immediately” and then gradually evolve, Mr Gamble said, but the name of the agency was unlikely to change because it had built up good public recognition.

Although CEOP would be seeking some extra cash from the Government due to its new responsibilities he said there were also economies of scale associated with bringing missing children inquiries into the agency’s existing responsibilities, he added.

Last week Mr Gamble was quoted in a media release marking 10 years since the abduction and murder of Sara Payne as saying: "We are now also to take responsibility for missing children".

In relation to these 'new responsibilities' for missing children' please supply the following information:

19. What legal responsibilities was CEOP given at its inception; please refer to me to any document where these are clearly set out.

20. What additional legal responsibilities has it been given since its inception, including any responsibilities for missing children?

21. Please state on what dates CEOP was given additional responsibilities for missing children and, on each occasion, what those additional responsibilities were

22. Who decides what additional responsibilities are allocated to CEOP? Is there a decision by Parliament on each such occasion? Or does the Home Office Minister decide?

23. Please set out precisely what legal powers and responsibilities CEOP currently has in relation to missing children on the date of asking these questions.

2. On 3 May 2010, I asked eight questions of CEOP, in a letter to Mr Gamble, in line with their previous statements that, although not obliged to answer FOI Act questions, they would be as open and transparent as possible about their work.

No reply has yet been received to that letter.

Of these eight questions, the Home Office is in a position to answer the following:

24. What legal powers are available to CEOP and its staff?

25. Under what powers can CEOP insist or encourage children, young people and their parents to report alleged crimes to CEOP rather than to their local police force?

26. What action does CEOP take if they have reasonable grounds for believing that an offence against children has been or is being committed; do they investigate and if necessary charge the offender themselves, or do they refer cases to the local police service, or does it depend on the circumstances? If so, what are the criteria for deciding whether a case is investigated by the police or by CEOP?

27. How many staff does CEOP employ?

28. What was the annual cost of CEOP for the last year for which figures are available?


Tony Bennett

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