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Post by Tony Bennett on 19.12.19 14:11

(By request I am posting this here as well as in the FOI section of the forum)

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

19 December 2019

Dear Metropolitan Police Service (MPS),

Information regarding Operation Grange is requested.

By way of background, at around 10.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2007, Madeleine McCann was reported missing. On 15 May 2007, Robert Murat was declared a formal suspect (‘arguido’). On 7 September 2007 the McCanns were also made formal suspects. In July 2008, following reports from the Portuguese Judiciary Police and the Attorney-General, the Portuguese investigation was shelved on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to charge any person with either of two crimes: (1) abduction or (2) homicide and hiding a cadaver. Accordingly Mr Murat and the McCanns were relieved of their suspect status. 

On 12 May 2011, in  response to a request the previous day from Rebekah Brooks,  then Editor of the Sun newspaper, the then Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the then  Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, to set up an investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, which the Prime Minister’s spokesman said was ‘to help the family’. 

Today (December 2019), over 12½ years since Madeleine was reported missing, and over 8½ years after Operation Grange was set up, it would appear that the Metropolitan Police is no nearer to providing  an  answer as to what really happened to Madeleine McCann. It has now been one of the United Kingdom’s longest-running and most expensive enquiries ever, costing at least £12 million so far with no sign whatsoever that any significant progress has been made. 

As long ago as 26 April 2015, a number of newspapers reported that Operation Grange was to be scaled down from 29 full-time officers to just four. 

Impressive statistics were given by Operation Grange at the time.  

1,338 statements taken
1,027 exhibits collected
650 sex offenders considered
8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine around the world considered
560 lines of enquiry pursued
over 11,000 mobile phone records seized and examined
31 rogatory requests sent to a number of countries 
several suspects (some of them named) questioned and/or interviewed under caution.
 
The reports indicated at the time that the Home Office granted another £2 million to Operation Grange for further investigative work until April 2016. Many people, not least members of the London Assembly, have expressed grave doubts about the purpose of the investigation, its length, cost and modus operandi. 

Hence I submit these questions:


1.       Do you have any updates on the numbers of (a) statements taken (b) exhibits collected (c) 650 sex offenders considered (d) sightings of Madeleine around the world considered (e) lines of enquiry pursued (f) mobile phone records seized and examined (g) rogatory requests made and (g) suspects questioned and/or interviewed under caution? If so, please supply the updated figures.

2.       Up to what date has the Home Office currently authorised funding for Operation 
Grange?

3.       Who is the current Senior Investigating Officer and how many full-time or part-time staff does s/he have and, of those, how many are detectives and how many are support staff?

4.       There have been several media reports in the past two years, some of which are said to have been sourced from Operation Grange insiders, suggesting that the current Operation Grange suspect for the abduction of Madeleine is a paedophile in a German prison. Can the Metropolitan Police now confirm whether that is the case, or, alternatively, state whether they now have any other prime suspect in view.

5.       Please state any dates when any Operation Grange detectives have met in person with their Portuguese counterparts since 1 April 2015.

6.       Please list the dates of any travel to foreign countries made by any Operation Grange detectives since 1 April 2015 and name the countries involved.

I would be grateful.

Yours faithfully

Anthony Bennett

____________________

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 CaKeLoveR on 19.12.19 19:12

Well done Tony.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 25.01.20 23:21

The Met Police say they are unable to give me the information yet:

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

Information Rights Unit
PO Box 57192
London
W6 1SF
United Kingdom


Our Ref: 01/FOI/19/012811

Date: 22/01/2020

Dear Mr Bennett, 

Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 01/FOI/19/012811

I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

I am sorry to inform you that we have not been able to complete our response to your request by the date originally stated. 

I can now advise you that the amended date for a response is 18 February 2020.

May I apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Yours sincerely

Ms S. Strong
MPS Information Manager

======

ETA:   PS @Jill       This can't be correct, can it? I just checked on the forum and its says this thread has been viewed '8639 times'. Surely not that many?

____________________

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 Jill Havern on 26.01.20 5:23

@Tony Bennett wrote:
ETA:   PS @Jill       This can't be correct, can it? I just checked on the forum and its says this thread has been viewed '8639 times'. Surely not that many?
Don't forget when I (and Sharon) post links to threads on my facebook group or twitter, or on my various blogs, which get shared/retweeted, then you'll get views from there too so, yes, the thread count is correct.

That's how PeterMac's FREE e-Book, which is packed full of damning research that must make the McCanns squirm, has had over a 100 million views so far from all around the entire world.

The power of the internet outside of this forum thumbsup

For three-year-old Madeleine singlerose

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PeterMac's FREE e-book
Gonçalo Amaral: The truth of the lie
NEW CMOMM & MMRG Blog
George Orwell, '1984': "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."
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Post by CaKeLoveR on 26.01.20 13:44

These figures can only keep rising. May the squirming become unbearable.
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Post by Tony Bennett on 05.02.20 10:32

Here is the reply today (5 February) from Ms S Strong of the Met Police's Information Rights Unit.

The only interesting bits I've bolded in red  

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

Dear Mr Bennett,


Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 01/FOI/19/012811

I would first like to take this opportunity to apologise for the delay to your request and wish to thank you for your patience.

Please see the attached in respect of your Freedom of Information request referenced above.

Yours sincerely

Ms S. Strong
MPS Information Manager
 
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


(*** REPLY RECEIVED 5 FEB 2020 ***)  New FOI Act request re Operation Grange (also posted in the FOI section of the forum) C:\Users\Tony\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\04\clip_image002
 
 Official
 
 


  
 
 
Information Rights Unit
PO Box 57192
London
SW6 1SF
United Kingdom

Our Ref: 01/FOI/19/012811
Date: 27/01/2020
 
 
 

Dear Mr Bennett,

 
Freedom of Information Request Reference No: 01/FOI/19/012811
 
I write in connection with your request for information which was received by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) on 19/12/2019.  I note you seek access to the following information:
 
Information regarding Operation Grange is requested.

By way of background, at around 10.00pm on Thursday 3 May 2007, Madeleine McCann was reported missing. On 15 May 2007, Robert Murat was declared a formal suspect (‘arguido’). On 7 September 2007 the McCanns were also made formal suspects. In July 2008, following reports from the Portuguese Judiciary Police and the Attorney-General, the Portuguese investigation was shelved on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to charge any person with either of two crimes: (1) abduction or (2) homicide and hiding a cadaver. Accordingly Mr Murat and the McCanns were relieved of their suspect status.

On 12 May 2011, in  response to a request the previous day from Rebekah Brooks,  then Editor of the Sun newspaper, the then Prime Minister David Cameron ordered the then  Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, to set up an investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, which the Prime Minister’s spokesman said was ‘to help the family’.

Today (December 2019), over 12½ years since Madeleine was reported missing, and over 8½ years after Operation Grange was set up, it would appear that the Metropolitan Police is no nearer to providing  an  answer as to what really happened to Madeleine McCann. It has now been one of the United Kingdom’s longest-running and most expensive enquiries ever, costing at least £12 million so far with no sign whatsoever that any significant progress has been made.

As long ago as 26 April 2015, a number of newspapers reported that Operation Grange was to be scaled down from 29 full-time officers to just four.

Impressive statistics were given by Operation Grange at the time. 

1,338 statements taken
1,027 exhibits collected
650 sex offenders considered
8,685 potential sightings of Madeleine around the world considered
560 lines of enquiry pursued
over 11,000 mobile phone records seized and examined
31 rogatory requests sent to a number of countries

several suspects (some of them named) questioned and/or interviewed under caution.

The reports indicated at the time that the Home Office granted another £2 million to Operation Grange for further investigative work until April 2016. Many people, not least members of the London Assembly, have expressed grave doubts about the purpose of the investigation, its length, cost and modus operandi.

Hence I submit these questions:

1.Do you have any updates on the numbers of (a) statements taken (b) exhibits collected (c) 650 sex offenders considered (d) sightings of Madeleine around the world considered (e) lines of enquiry pursued (f) mobile phone records seized and examined (g) rogatory requests made and (g) suspects questioned and/or interviewed under caution? If so, please supply the updated figures.

2        Up to what date has the Home Office currently authorised funding for Operation
Grange?

3        Who is the current Senior Investigating Officer and how many full-time or part-time staff does s/he have and, of those, how many are detectives and how many are support staff?

4        There have been several media reports in the past two years, some of which are said to have been sourced from Operation Grange insiders, suggesting that the current Operation Grange suspect for the abduction of Madeleine is a paedophile in a German prison. Can the Metropolitan Police now confirm whether that is the case, or, alternatively, state whether they now have any other prime suspect in view.

5.       Please state any dates when any Operation Grange detectives have met in person with their Portuguese counterparts since 1 April 2015.

6.       Please list the dates of any travel to foreign countries made by any Operation Grange detectives since 1 April 2015 and name the countries involved.


SEARCHES TO LOCATE INFORMATION
 
To locate the information relevant to your request searches were conducted within the MPS. 
 
The searches located information relevant to your request.
 
DECISION
 
Some information requested has been withheld, as it is exempt from disclosure. The MPS is required to exempt information held for Questions One (1)(a-h) by virtue of the following exemption;
 
·         Section 30(1)(a) - Investigations
 
The answer to Question Two (2) is exempt by virtue of the following exemption;
 
·         Section 21(1) (Information accessible by other means)
 
Within the disclosure section of this letter I am pleased to refer to the direct link where you can find the answer to this question.
 
The MPS is able to disclose information held for Question Three (3).
 
The MPS is able to disclose information held for Question Five (5).
 
The MPS is required to neither confirm nor deny whether information is held in respect of Question Four (4) and Six (6) by virtue of the following exemption;
 
·         Section 30(3) Investigations
·         Section 31(3) Law Enforcement
 
Additionally, Question Six (6) is also exempt from disclosure by virtue of the following exemption;
 
·         Section 27(4) International Relations
 
Section 30 is a qualified and class based exemption. The MPS is therefore required to provide a Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
Section 31(3) is a Qualified and Prejudice Based exemption. I am therefore required to provide a Prejudice and Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
Section 27(4) is a Qualified and Prejudice Based exemption. I am therefore required to provide a Prejudice and Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
This response serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act). 
 
Please see the legal annex for further information on the exemptions applied in respect of your request.
 
DISCLOSURE
 
Question Two

Up to what date has the Home Office currently authorised funding for Operation Grange?

 
Whilst Section 21 has been engaged for this question, the answer to this question is publicly available through the following weblink;
 
https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2019/06/05/home-office-update-on-funding-for-operation-grange/

Question Three

 
Who is the current Senior Investigating Officer and how many full-time or part-time staff does s/he have and, of those, how many are detectives and how many are support staff?
 
DCI Mark Cranwell is the Senior Investigating Officer (SIO) and works part time.
One Detective Sergeant and three Detective Constables are currently working on this investigation full time.


Question Five
 
Please state any dates when any Operation Grange detectives have met in person with their Portuguese counterparts since 1 April 2015.  
 
In total there have been 13 meetings with our Portuguese colleagues, these being in;
·         June 2015,
·         January 2016
·         March 2016
·         May 2016
·         March 2017
·         May 2017
·         Oct 2017
·         May 2018
·         Aug 2018
·         Nov 2018
·         April 2019
·         July 2019
·         Oct 2019
 
Please see the following link which I hope may be of interest to you.

https://www.met.police.uk/notices/met/operation-grange/

Yours sincerely,
 
Ms S. Strong
MPS Information Manager
 
 
 
 
 


LEGAL ANNEX
 
Section 17(1) of the Act provides:
 
(1)       A public authority which, in relation to any request for information, is to any extent relying on a claim that any provision in part II relating to the duty to confirm or deny is relevant to the request or on a claim that information is exempt information must, within the time for complying with section 1(1), give the applicant a notice which-
 
(a) states the fact,
(b) specifies the exemption in question, and
(c) states (if that would not otherwise be apparent) why the exemption applies.
 
Question One (1) (a-h)
Section 30(1)(a)(i) (Investigations) of the Act provides:
 
(1)        Information held by a public authority is exempt information if it has at any time been held by the authority for the purposes of-
(a)  any investigation which the public authority has a duty to conduct with a view to it being ascertained-
(i)  whether a person should be charged with an offence
 
Public Interest Test – Section 30(1)(a)(i) (Investigations)
Public interest considerations favouring disclosure
The MPS understands that there is significant public interest in matters concerning Madeleine McCann.  The investigation has been lengthy and ultimately is resourced using public funds.  It is important that we are as open and transparent as possible when dealing with matters of such high public interest.  Disclosure here would provide clarity on the status of the investigation and would encourage debate concerning the use of public funds.
Public interest considerations favouring non-disclosure
The information you have requested must be carefully managed in order to ensure that there is no prejudice to the ongoing investigation.  
 
Disclosure in respect of a single FOI request is unlikely to be problematic, however piecemeal disclosure for multiple requests over the course of a year may allow for patterns of travel to be identified and would be likely to indicate the level of activity and the current focus of the operation.
 
We appreciate the desire for transparency concerning the use of funds in respect of all operations and particularly in respect of long running operations such as Operation Grange. However it is vital we protect the integrity of the investigation.
 
The MPS are committed to transparency in regards to this investigation, however there are significant concerns around repeated disclosures at various times throughout the year especially where such a disclosure would concern information relating to any possible evidence, suspect(s) and lines of enquiry.
It is important to acknowledge that this is an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of a child.  As with all investigations, it is of paramount importance that the response to a Freedom of Information request does not disrupt or have any negative impact on that investigation.  Clearly, such disruption to an investigation would not be in the best interests of the public.  The length of time and money that is put into an investigation does not diminish the argument above.  
 
Balancing Test
As you would expect, the MPS must protect the integrity of our investigation, however we are also keenly aware of the public's interest in this investigation and therefore a careful balance is needed to show that we are accountable for our decisions and actions taken on this matter.
 
The strongest reason favouring disclosure is the public interest in the use of public funds and public safety. The strongest reason favouring non-disclosure is the need to ensure the investigation is not prejudiced by an adverse FOIA disclosure.
 
After weighing up the competing interests I have determined that the disclosure of the full information would not be in the public interest.  The argument in favour of non-disclosure is significant as ultimately it is not in the best interests of the public to disclose any information that could in any way prejudice an ongoing investigation, assist offenders or increase the risk of further offences being committed. 
 
I appreciate this may not be the full response you would have liked. However, the decision on disclosure has been made based on the understanding that the public interest is not what interests the public, but is what would be of greater good to the public as a whole, if the information were disclosed.
 
Question Two (2)
Section 21(1) (Information Accessible by other means) of the Act provides;
 
(1)Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.
 
Section 21 is an absolute and class based exemption. The MPS is therefore not required to provide you with a Prejudice or Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
Question Four(4) and Six (6) – Exempt by virtue of Section 30(3)(Investigations)
 
4. There have been several media reports in the past two years, some of which are said to have been sourced from Operation Grange insiders, suggesting that the current Operation Grange suspect for the abduction of Madeleine is a paedophile in a German prison. Can the Metropolitan Police now confirm whether that is the case, or, alternatively, state whether they now have any other prime suspect in view.
 
6. Please list the dates of any travel to foreign countries made by any Operation Grange detectives since 1 April 2015 and name the countries involved. (1)Information which is reasonably accessible to the applicant otherwise than under section 1 is exempt information.
 
Section 21 is an absolute and class based exemption. I am therefore not required to provide a Public Interest Test or Prejudice Test on the application of this exemption.
Section 30(3)(investigations) of the Act provides:
 
The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).
 
Section 31(3) of the Act provides:
 
(3)        The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a) would, or would be likely to,prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1).
 
Section 30 is a qualified and class bases exemption. The MPS is therefore required ti provide a Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
Section 31 is a prejudice based and qualified exemption. The MPS is therefore required to provide a Prejudice Test and Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
The duty to confirm or deny does not arise in relation to information which is (or if it were held by the public authority would be) exempt information by virtue of subsection (1) or (2).
 
Section 30(3) (Investigations) is a qualified and class based exemption. I am therefore required to provide a Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
Public Interest Test – NCND
Section 30(3) - Considerations Favouring confirming or denying whether information is held
It is in the public interest to confirm or deny if information is held in the interests of furthering public debate, transparency and openness regarding this high profile case of a missing child.
Section 30(3) - Considerations favouring neither confirming nor denying whether information is held
It is in the public interest to neither confirm nor deny whether information is held to ensure the prevention or detection of crime is not prejudiced in any way in respect of this live investigation. Confirmation or denial of held information would undermine public confidence in the ability of the MPS to work on this ongoing sensitive investigation in the expected discretionary and professional manner without providing running commentary in respects to any possible suspects and travel to any possible countries in regards to the investigation.
 
Operation Grange is an ongoing investigation, confirmation of whether or not we are visiting countries outside of Portugal would outline whether or not there are investigative leads in any other country.

The MPS are not prepared to discuss such matters as doing so would be likely to be harmful, as I will explain further on, therefore we will apply a partial NCND to your request.  To help you understand the need for the NCND approach consider the following scenarios.  

1) If the offender in this matter is located outside of Portugal and we confirm that we are not visiting any countries other than Portugal then we are revealing that no  intelligence exists linking the investigation to other countries.  


2) If the offender in this matter is located outside of Portugal and we confirm that we are visiting other countries, then we are also confirming that our lines of enquiry extend beyond Portugal.  


3) If the offender in this matter is located within Portugal and we confirm that we are not visiting any countries other than Portugal then we are confirmed that the investigation remains focused on that country.


4) If the offender in this matter is located within Portugal and we confirm that we are visiting other countries then we are indicating that there are leads outside of the country which we feel are significant enough to warrant a visit.

Clearly any conformation that indicates which of the four positions outlined above is accurate at this current time would be valuable information for the offender in this matter.  Therefore any response other than the application of the NCND would cause harm to the Operation Grange investigation and/or may have a negative impact on the wider law enforcement functions (prevention and detection of crime, apprehension and
prosecution of offenders).

Note that in the above I have stated "at this current time", this is an important aspect of this refusal notice.  With an ongoing investigation such as this any information or intelligence may result in the emergence of new investigative leads.  The focus of the investigation may shift over a period of time depending on these emerging leads and on matters that are no longer relevant/have been discontinued.  The MPS must be mindful that requests such as this must be met with a consistent response in order to protect the investigation and any future paths it leads to.  We would not place ourselves in a  position where we provide a running commentary concerning the locations we are actively investigating at any given point in time.

Section 30(3) - Balance Test
The strongest reason favouring confirming or denying whether any further information is held is to further openness and transparency in respect of this case.
The strongest reason favouring non-disclosure is to ensure the prevention or detection of a crime is not hindered by confirming or denying whether any information is held. This is particularly so in this case as confirming or denying whether informant is held, other than that which has already been disclosed, would undermine the confidence the public have in our ability to handle investigations in a sensitive manner.
On weighing up the competing interests, the MPS find the public interest favours maintaining the need to confirm or deny whether information is held under FOIA.
Section 31(3) (Law Enforcement) - NCND
The failure to apply a neither confirm nor deny response would provide the individual(s) connected to this offence with valuable information.  This information could try and be used in order to avoid apprehension, detection and potentially could increase the likelihood of further offences being committed.  
As such the MPS believe that any response other than a neither confirm nor deny would be likely to prejudice the prevention of crime and the apprehension and prosecution of an offender.

Furthermore, confirmation or denial of visits to other countries would also be likely to have a negative impact on the relationship between the UK and other states, particularly as the investigation is ongoing and therefore such information could only fuel speculation and unfounded theories.

Section 31(3) - Public interest considerations favouring confirming or denying whether the information is held

The MPS understands that there is significant public interest in matters concerning Madeleine McCann.  The investigation has been lengthy and ultimately is resourced using public funds.  It is important that we are as open and transparent as possible when dealing with matters of such high public interest.  By providing clarity on investigative matters we would be encouraging debate concerning the use of public funds and improving accountability by allowing for decisions to be scrutinised.

Section 31(3) - Public interest considerations favouring neither confirming nor denying whether the information is held

At the heart of the matter this is an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of a child.  As with all investigations it is of paramount importance that the response to a Freedom of Information request does not disrupt or have any negative impact on that investigation.  Clearly such disruption to an investigation would not be in the best interests of the public.  The length of time and money that is put into an investigation does not diminish the argument above.  

Section 31(3) - Balancing Test

The strongest reason favouring confirming if the information is held is to encourage public debate about a matter of great public interest to many people.

The strongest reason favouring neither confirming nor denying whether the requested information is held is to ensure a live open investigation is not prejudiced due to an adverse FOIA disclosure.
After weighing up the competing interests I have determined that the Public Interest favours the application of the neither confirm nor deny stance in respect of your request. I consider that the benefit that would result from issuing a confirmation or denial does not outweigh the considerations favouring the neither confirm nor deny response.  
 
Question Six (6) - Section 27(4) of the Act provides;

(4)        The duty to confirm or deny does not arise if, or to the extent that, compliance with section 1(1)(a)—
(a) would, or would be likely to, prejudice any of the matters mentioned in subsection (1)

 
Section 27(4) is a prejudice based and qualified exemption. The MPS is therefore required to provide a Prejudice Test and Public Interest Test on the application of this exemption.
 
Section 27(4) - Prejudice Test
 
In considering whether or not the MPS can confirm or deny that this information is held, I have conducted a Prejudice Test to establish any potential harm.
The impact of providing information under FOI which aids in identifying which countries have been visited by officers working on the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, known as Operation Grange, would provide any suspects or indeed the actual offenders with valuable information as to where the operation may or may not be currently active.
As Madeleine disappeared in Portugal the general public expect officers to consult with police forces and law enforcement agencies outside of the United Kingdom in their endeavour to prevent and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety.  To reveal the locations where and when the Operation Grange team have been active could undermine the smooth relations between the United Kingdom and other States in upholding confidence and trust between Government Heads of State and Diplomats. 
Should the United Kingdom fail to preserve these qualities by disclosing information which would undoubtedly undermine the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, the relationship with other countries would be compromised.
Section 27(4) - Considerations favouring confirming or denying if the information is held
There is a public interest in confirming if information is held for this request as Madeleine disappeared in Portugal. On this basis the general public might expect officers to consult with police forces and law enforcement agencies outside of the United Kingdom in their endeavour to prevent and detect crime or disorder and maintain public safety.
Section 27(4) - Considerations favouring neither confirming or denying if the information is held
It is not in the public interest to confirm or deny if information is held for this request as to reveal the locations where and when the Operation Grange team may or may not have been active would undermine the smooth relations between the United Kingdom and other States in upholding confidence and trust between Government Heads of State and Diplomats.
Should the United Kingdom fail to preserve these qualities on the basis of an adverse FOIA disclosure which would undoubtedly undermine the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, the relationship with other countries would be compromised (even on matters that are not related to this specific investigation).
Section 27(4) - Balance Test
The strongest reason favouring disclosure is the public interest in this high profile missing persons case and for people to better understand if there are certain countries that may be linked in any possible way to the investigation.
The strongest reason favouring maintaining neither confirming nor denying whether the information requested is held is the need to ensure smooth and strong international relations between the UK and other states are not undermined by disclosing information in relation to this live investigation.
On weighing up the competing interest, I find the public interest favours the need to neither confirm nor deny whether information is held for this question. I appreciate this is not the outcome you would have liked. This decision however is based on the understanding that the public interest is not what interests the public, but is what is of greater to the public as a whole should the information be confirmed as held or not.
Please note this response should not be taken to as an indication of whether or not the requested information is held for those questions which the MPS is applying an NCND response. 


In complying with their statutory duty under sections 1 and 11 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to release the enclosed information, the Metropolitan Police Service will not breach the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. However, the rights of the copyright owner of the enclosed information will continue to be protected by law.  Applications for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of the attached information should be addressed to MPS Directorate of Legal Services, 10 Lambs Conduit Street, London, WC1N 3NR.
 
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
foi@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.ico.org.uk.  Alternatively, write to or phone:
 
Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Phone: 0303 123 1113

____________________

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 BlueBag on 05.02.20 11:34

One Detective Sergeant and three Detective Constables are currently working on this investigation full time.
Incredible.


Doing what?


Not investigating the people they should be, that's for sure.
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Post by Verdi on 05.02.20 11:50

One Detective Sergeant and three Detective Constables are currently working on this investigation full time.

I don't believe it!

There is no proof one way or the other - just empty words. The police are not obliged to disclose operational details, even with the advent of FOI policy, it remains entirely at their discretion.

There will always be a get out cause.

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Post by sar on 05.02.20 23:22

         Oct 2019??
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Post by Tony Bennett on 06.02.20 0:39

@sar wrote:         Oct 2019??

There have been 13 meetings since 1 April 2015 - and I never asked about visits before then (2011-2015).

Between June 2015 and October 2019 is 52 months, so that's one visit every four months.

I never asked how many staff go (presumably they take a translator with them), nor who they talk to, nor what they talk about.

This case continues to break records.

Longest running libel case in world history? McCanns v Amaral, 2009-2017 - 8 years

One of the longest and most expensive investigations in the UK, 2011-2020 + £13 million - and continuing...about a girl who went missing in a foreign country 

Very strange

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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 Jill Havern on 06.02.20 6:55

@Tony Bennett wrote:ETA:   PS @Jill       This can't be correct, can it? I just checked on the forum and its says this thread has been viewed '8639 times'. Surely not that many?
This thread has now been viewed 10063 times.

Keep up your good work Tony, people are still interested in what you're doing for Madeleine thumbsup

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Post by Blackpied on 06.02.20 11:45

What I would give for a fearless incorruptible person to investigate
the corrupt Met on this case, also anyone who thinks they are still
investigating the case are living in la la land.
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Post by Verdi on 06.02.20 11:57

This thread has now been viewed 10063 times.
How many of those views are coming from the office of Operation Grange (the canteen) I wonder.

Is that what occupies the time and money of a part-time SIO, one detective sergeant and three detective constables, full-time?

big grin

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Post by Verdi on 07.02.20 1:10

(*** REPLY RECEIVED 5 FEB 2020 ***)  New FOI Act request re Operation Grange (also posted in the FOI section of the forum) Scree453

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Post by Verdi on 18.02.20 15:26

(*** REPLY RECEIVED 5 FEB 2020 ***)  New FOI Act request re Operation Grange (also posted in the FOI section of the forum) Scree463

Regarding the above from the FOI reply posted up-page, I've just come across this..

https://www.met.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/metropolitan-police/disclosure_2018/june_2018/information-rights-unit---total-cost-of-operation-grange

[Apologies, haven't got time to copy it over at the moment]

Doesn't this contradict - or is it me? If I'm reading correctly, it would appear the right is working against the left over at the office of cirumlocution.

think

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Post by Doug D on 18.02.20 21:56

Link from Verdi's post:

(*** REPLY RECEIVED 5 FEB 2020 ***)  New FOI Act request re Operation Grange (also posted in the FOI section of the forum) 22c87740-568c-42c6-b9bd-1dd96a181b94
Freedom of Information Request Reference No:
I note you seek access to the following information:
Operation Grange
What are the total costs of the above to end March 2018 or latest available please specify.
On what date did officers last travel to Portugal.
DECISION
I have today decided to disclose some of the requested information. Some data has been withheld as it is exempt from disclosure and therefore this response serves as a Refusal Notice under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (the Act).
To clarify this refusal relates to the second part of your request, the date of the last travel to Portugal.
Section 30(1)(a)(i)&(ii) – Criminal Investigations and Proceedings
As we are not prepared to confirm or deny whether travel took place in 2018/19 to date we cannot provide details of the last visit to Portugal as this would reveal whether there has or has not been any travel in the current financial year. Furthermore, as explained the MPS would refuse to provide the dates of travel for previous years in order to ensure such a disclosure does not highlight any periods where the focus of the investigation has led to a sudden increase in visits to Portugal.
As you would expect, the MPS must protect the integrity of our investigation. However we are also keenly aware of the public's interest in this investigation and therefore a careful balance is needed to show that we are accountable for our decisions and actions taken on this matter.
The argument in favour of non-disclosure is significant as ultimately it is not in the best interests of the public to disclose any information that could prejudice
an ongoing investigation, assist offenders or increase the risk of further offences being committed. Furthermore the arguments in favour of disclosure are met by the commitment to provide the number of trips to Portugal and the cost of these trips on an annual basis (every financial year).
REASONS FOR DECISION
The Operation Grange team have advised that the disclosure of the exact dates of travel to Portugal would be likely to prejudice their investigation. This is because such information may allow for patterns of travel to be identified and would be likely to indicate the level of activity and the current focus of the operation.
We appreciate the desire for transparency concerning the use of funds in respect of all operations and particularly in respect of long running operations such as Op Grange, however we do need to protect the integrity of the investigation.
Your request asks for the date of the last travel to Portugal. We have been asked about travel to Portugal in the past and we have disclosed information concerning the number of flights and the cost of them. The MPS are committed to transparency in this area however there are significant concerns around revealing the exact dates of travel and in respect of disclosing recent travel. In order to explain this I will put forward a hypothetical scenario. If we were to reveal that in the very recent past (last week/month) there had been a sudden flurry of visits to Portugal this would indicate that officers are pursuing a specific line of enquiry within the country. As you may be aware all FOI disclosures are published on our website so such a disclosure would be available to the public at large and that includes individuals who have been involved in or are responsible for criminality. Clearly such information could have a serious impact on the investigation as knowledge of such matters would allow offenders to take steps to avoid apprehension.
As we are not prepared to confirm or deny whether travel took place in 2018/19 to date we cannot provide details of the last visit to Portugal as this would reveal whether there has or has not been any travel in the current financial year. Furthermore, as explained the MPS would refuse to provide the dates of travel for previous years in order to ensure such a disclosure does not highlight any periods where the focus of the investigation has led to a sudden increase in visits to Portugal.
As you would expect, the MPS must protect the integrity of our investigation. However we are also keenly aware of the public's interest in this investigation
and therefore a careful balance is needed to show that we are accountable for our decisions and actions taken on this matter.
The argument in favour of non-disclosure is significant as ultimately it is not in the best interests of the public to disclose any information that could prejudice an ongoing investigation, assist offenders or increase the risk of further offences being committed. Furthermore the arguments in favour of disclosure are met by the commitment to provide the number of trips to Portugal and the cost of these trips on an annual basis (every financial year).
Mosaic effect
Disclosures under the Freedom of Information Act can have unintended consequences especially when the subject matter relates to ongoing investigations. Requests are led by the requestors who set the parameters and submit requests at various times throughout the year. This can be problematic and to illustrate that I would like to use a further hypothetical example. If we were to confirm to person A that the last flight to Portugal was in August 2017 in isolation that may not be harmful. However if person B submits a request two weeks later and the answer has changed to show that travel was made just a few days ago the difference in the responses to person A and person B would indicate that there has been a recent need to travel to Portugal, furthermore it's theoretically possible that at the time of the request officers from Op Grange could still be overseas. Clearly if we were to find ourselves in this situation it would be considered a highly sensitive matter and a significant risk to the ongoing operation.
The above scenario uses hypothetical travel in August 2017 and May 2018 however the issue is not lessened by limiting it to last year and this year. For example if person A submits their request on 1st March and gets a "2017" answer (without the month) but person B submits the request on 1st May and gets as "2018" answer comparison of the two requests would still show that the travel took place within a two month window.
In order to avoid this issue the MPS will not provide any information or confirm whether there has or has not been travel to Portugal within the current financial year. The number of trips to Portugal and the cost of this trips will be disclosed annually at the completion of each financial year. In order to ensure that the annual publication does not indicate any patterns to travel/periods of focus we will not be providing any detail concerning the dates of travel beyond the year the travel took place in.
(*** REPLY RECEIVED 5 FEB 2020 ***)  New FOI Act request re Operation Grange (also posted in the FOI section of the forum) F594c800-febe-45b5-a18f-04c6f6a5f10b
DISCLOSURE
Please find attached the costs for Operation Grange. Please note that the figures are provided in financial years and the accounts for 2017/18 have not yet been closed and as such this figure is subject to change.
ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE
In order to assist you I can confirm that the Operation Grange team visited Portugal on 2 separate occasions in financial year 2017/18.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest in the Metropolitan Police Service.


Information Rights Unit


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

Yes it's nonsense, but the person compiling the latest response probably realised that the previous non-answer was complete and utter rubbish, that is if she even bothered to refer to it. At least the '2 separate occasions in f/y 2017/18 ties up with the May & October 2017 visits.

The latest response, showing three supposed meetings a year, makes it look as though they are still doing something together and although the question asked about 'have met in person' the response just says 'meetings', and whether they would class a Skype call or video conference as a meeting is anyones guess.
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Post by Verdi on 18.02.20 23:49

.... and whether they would class a Skype call or video conference as a meeting is anyones guess.
There lies the clue!

I've always thought the Met Police liaison with it's Portuguese counterpart was/is most likely by Skype or video conference - at least more often than not.

The Operation Grange pursuance in the course of justice is but a facade.  Why would the Portuguese authorities even bother to humour them, pandering to a pretense.

The Portuguese police are not slapstick Keystone cops, they knew in the early days of their official investigation that they were dealing with a conspiratorial plot to pervert the course of justice.

Nothing changes.  Except perhaps the Portuguese now realise it's a waste of time and money pursuing a lost cause.

Thank you Doug D for taking the trouble  thumbsup !

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Post by Cammerigal on 19.02.20 1:30

The Met Operation Grange claim they have had regular 'meetings' with the PJ. Can it be verified from Portugal? Is there a Portugese equivalent of a FOI request under Freedom of Information - see EU Directive 2003/4/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC.
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