Madeleine McCann 'could be found alive' says Britain's most senior police officerBy Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 5:15 PM on 17th May 2011
Madeleine McCann could be found alive, Britain's most senior police officer has said.
Sir Paul Stephenson said it was right for Scotland Yard to agree to Home Secretary Theresa May's request for help and said there was 'always a chance' that the child could be found alive.
His comments come after the decision to involve the Metropolitan Police was described as a 'ludicrous' move that would use up valuable police resources and deny other victims of crime the chance of justice.
Two years ago, Scotland Yard was also asked to help Jersey police investigate the disappearance of two people who had been missing since the 1980s with the result of one of them being found alive.
'There is always a chance,' he said.
'When you receive a request, supported by the Prime Minister, from the Home Secretary, you take that very seriously. This is not unique. On balance, I think it was the right thing to do.
'We do review these sort of cases and I think there may be some benefit here.'
But the review, which will be funded by the Home Office, has already sparked fierce criticism amid suggestions the intervention could undermine the independence of the force.
Last week, Lord Harris, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), said: 'Whilst no one doubts the desirability of doing what can sensibly be done to find out what has happened to Madeleine McCann, I can imagine that the senior leadership of the Metropolitan Police are not exactly happy about this.
'It again embroils their officers in a high-profile investigation, where the chances of success are unclear, and which will divert limited investigative resources away from other matters.'
Fellow MPA member Jenny Jones told the Mail on Sunday: 'It is ludicrous. This could take years and will cost millions. It is very unusual for police to step in like this and it is not an appropriate use of police resources.
'Although it is tragic and I feel for the McCanns, how can the Prime Minister justify spending millions of pounds on one case?'
Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have welcomed the move.
Their daughter went missing from her family's holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday.
Portuguese police, helped by officers from Leicestershire Police, carried out a massive investigation into her disappearance but the official inquiry was formally shelved in July 2008.
Since then no police force has been actively looking for the child.
The review will be led by Detective Chief Inspector
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