Britain's top policeman has faced accusations that the case into missing
Madeleine McCann, from Leicestershire. was getting "unfair" and
"special" attention at Scotland Yard.
Sir Paul Stephenson denied claims that his decision to agree to review
the investigation into the girl's disappearance could come at the cost
of other inquiries.
The commissioner, appearing before members of the Metropolitan Police
Authority, said additional funds from the Home Office to support
examinations could help save jobs in the force's homicide division.
Sir Paul was confronted over the review by London Assembly member Jenny
Speaking at City Hall, she said she sympathised with the McCann family
but asked him: "Why is this a special case'" Sir Paul replied: "I do not
take your point."
The police chief said he "jealously guarded" his operational
independence as he pointed to similar reviews which took place in the
wake of the Soham murders and Jersey child abuse scandal.
The Government will reimburse the Met on a quarterly basis as the review
goes on, he said. "It is not an open cheque and it is not going to go on
forever," he added.
Sir Paul added that as they are in the process of reducing costs, the
review could "give us the opportunity of retaining some skilled people".
Critics claim the decision to bring in Met detectives to review the
evidence about what happened to Madeleine has undermined the force's
independence and diverted resources from other crime victims.
Metropolitan Police officers have travelled to Portugal so far but they
are in talks with the Portuguese authorities.
Madeleine was nearly four when she went missing from her family's
holiday flat in Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3 2007 as her parents
Kate and Gerry dined with friends nearby.
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