Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Police scale back missing chef team

North Yorkshire Police have scaled back the number of officers on the dedicated inquiry into missing chef Claudia Lawrence

Police investigating the disappearance of chef Claudia Lawrence have confirmed they are scaling back the number of officers dedicated to the inquiry.

Miss Lawrence was 35 when she failed to turn up for work at York University 16 months ago and no trace of her has been found despite a massive operation by North Yorkshire Police and a high-profile campaign by her father Peter.

A total of 100 officers worked at the case at its height, but it has been cut back twice to about 25 and 16. However, Assistant Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said the team will be cut back to seven next month.

He said: "North Yorkshire Police have conducted a thorough and detailed investigation into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence, which has included the deployment of specialist resources for a considerable period of time.

"During the past sixteen months, as leads are followed, investigated and actions completed, we are now in a position where there is no longer a requirement for the level of resources allocated to the inquiry.

"Claudia's family have been fully informed about the current position of the investigation. They have been assured that our overriding desire is to bring the person or persons responsible for Claudia's disappearance to justice.

"The investigation remains open and will be continuously reviewed with the necessary resources allocated should any new evidence or lines of inquiry emerge. The reduction in resources will be gradual over the coming weeks as lines of inquiry are completed."

Martin Dales, Peter Lawrence's friend and spokesman, said: "It is both regrettable but quite understandable that after 16 months searching for Claudia, North Yorkshire police have to be realistic about the number of officers that can be devoted to her disappearance."

Mr Madgwick said a dedicated response team and phone number will be allocated to respond to any calls received as a result of a Channel 4 documentary about Miss Lawrence which is due to be screened on August 13.

The force said the additional cost of the operation so far is about £770,000.

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