'Languishing' Met Police's four-man Madeleine McCann team blasted by ex-detective - 'Only there to keep the lights on!'

'Languishing' Met Police's four-man Madeleine McCann team blasted by ex-detective - 'Only there to keep the lights on!'

WATCH: Portuguese Police apologise for failures as hope for Madeleine's survival remains

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders


Published: 14/05/2024

- 10:13

Updated: 14/05/2024

- 12:03

Peter Bleksley said the four-person force's extra funding "just about keeps the lights on" and claimed the team itself "just exists to keep Kate and Gerry McCann happy"

A four-person Metropolitan Police team working on the Madeleine McCann case has been slammed as "languishing" and "struggling to justify its existence" by a former Met detective as the hunt for Maddie enters its 17th year.

Just four British police officers are still investigating Madeleine McCann's 2007 disappearance in Portugal as part of an ongoing Home Office-funded investigation, known has Operation Grange.


Overseas, investigations are still underway - not least in Germany, where rapist Christian Brueckner remains on trial for unrelated offences, but has been identified as a suspect in the McCann case by German authorities.

But Peter Bleksley, a former Metropolitan Police detective, has slated the force amid reports that a mere three officers alongside a civilian member of staff are involved in Operation Grange in the UK - and, at that, part-time.

Bleksley told GB News: "The Metropolitan Police are pretty low down the food chain. They've played second fiddle to the Portuguese, and they've since been pushed even further down because the Germans have taken the primary lead... The Met are languishing, while the others are trying to find work to do.

Met Police officers/Madeleine McCann/Peter Bleksley

Bleksley said the Met were "covering their backs, so that if convictions were made in the UK, they can say: "We did our bit'"

PA/GB News

He acknowledged that while Christian Brueckner's committed and alleged crimes did not relate to the UK, the Met were "covering their backs, so that if convictions were made in the UK, they can say: "We did our bit'."

Bleksley said the money being diverted to the four-man force "just about keeps the lights on" and claimed the team itself "just exists to keep Kate and Gerry McCann happy", adding that he understood the public's "frustration" over why said funds weren't going towards solving other crimes.

The Met has previously talked up how it "continues to work with and support" colleagues from police in Portugal - where Maddie vanished - and Germany.

In 2013, the status of the force's inquiries changed to an investigation which, alongside Portuguese authorities, entails pursuing "specific lines of enquiry" - but just two years later, the amount of police working on the case had been scaled back to 29.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told GB News that the number of staff on Operation Grange always remains under review and is "flexed accordingly to new information coming in, or new lines of enquiry".

MORE ON MADDIE:

Kate and Gerry McCannKate and Gerry McCann said they are "still looking" for missing MadeleinePA

They continued: "At present there is one detective chief inspector, two detective constables and one member of police staff who are working on the operation.

"The team are undertaking other investigations, alongside their work on Grange."

The detective chief inspector in charge, DCI Mark Cranwell, said: "We continue to support Madeleine’s family to understand what happened on the evening of May 3, 2007 in Praia da Luz. Our thoughts remain with the family."

Bleksley's blasting of the Met came just as Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate, marked their daughter's 21st birthday.

Sharing a picture of the missing Briton on the official Find Madeleine McCann Campaign Facebook page, the girl's parents vowed never to give up looking.

A short but heartfelt message simply read: "Happy 21st Birthday Madeleine. Still missing. Still missed. Still looking."

The image of Madeleine shared along with the message is one of the last ever pictures taken of her before she disappeared aged three.

And their birthday message comes fewer than 10 days after Kate and Gerry shared another update to mark the 17th anniversary of their child's disappearance, which admitted Madeleine's "absence still aches", they said they were "living in limbo".

You may like

{% if context.post.roar_specific_data and context.post.roar_specific_data.affiliate_post %} {% elif %} {% endfor %}