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Madeleine McCann files won’t be revealed until her abductors are brought to justice

Published 04/01/2010

Thousands of British police files detailing the hunt for Madeleine McCann will not be released unless those behind her disappearance are brought to justice, it has emerged.

Senior Leicestershire Police officers have remained tight-lipped about their role co-ordinating the search for the toddler since she vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort in May 2007.

But analysts at the force have drawn up a list detailing the mass of information they have gathered and considered whether they would ever release any of it to the public.

The paperwork includes everything from correspondence with Government ministers, minutes of police meetings, details of leads and sightings to copies of letters from the McCann family.

Leicestershire Police said they will not release any information while the inquiry is ongoing and will never reveal the tactics of their investigation. But internal documents suggest some papers may eventually be published.

They stated: “Anything in relation to the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will not be released whilst it remains ongoing.

“Consideration may also be given to releasing certain material, ie, that which would not reveal police tactics, when the circumstances surrounding Madeleine's disappearance are fully known and the person/people involved have been brought to justice and a suitable period for any appeal has elapsed.”

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared on May 3 2007 from Praia da Luz, nine days before her fourth birthday.

An investigation into her disappearance was carried out by the Portuguese police, supported by Leicestershire Police.

The force is ultimately responsible for co-ordinating British inquiries under the codename Operation Task.

It has revealed the number and rank of officers who have worked on the case, some information about the inquiry cost, including Home Office grants, and the number of visits to Portugal by investigators.

But police are sitting on a huge hoard of information generated by more than 30 months of detailed inquiries involving forces across the globe.

The internal documents revealed paperwork includes witness statements, intelligence reports and statistics on the number of reported sightings.

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