Madeleine McCann Case: Were There Too Many UK Agencies Involved?

September 3, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

The Madeleine McCann investigation was reportedly hampered by competing British forces looking into the missing girl’s case, it was reported.

Sky News, citing a secret Home Office report on the matter, reported that too many UK agencies trying to help in the search for the missing girl, who disappeared in 2007 in Portugal. The infighting between the agencies damaged relations with police in Portugal, it found.

The report was commissioned by Jim Gamble, the ex-chief of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), but it was never published.

Gamble told Sky: “All of us… your first gut reaction is you want to help…so everyone came with best intention, that created a sense of chaos and a sense of competition…and in many instances in my opinion wanting to be seen to help.”

He said that in 2007, the Portuguese forces were given advice by the Metropolitan Police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the National Police Improvement Agency, and the CEOP. “It was unhelpful…I’ve no doubt relationships from the outset with the Portuguese were impacted by it and I think that had a long-term negative effect on the investigation,” Gamble continued.

He added: “If we look at it honestly there were some in leadership roles who wanted to represent their organisation to be seen to take a lead role and be seen to provide critical input in this and that made it difficult for a small, regional force like Leicestershire.”

About a week ago, it was reported that UK officials sent another letter to Portugese authorities.

“The content of the request presented by the British authorities is classified, therefore the Prosecutor General’s Office have no comments on such matter,” the Lisbon-based Attorney General’s Office told the Daily Mail.