Grâce à la liberté dans les communications, des groupes d’hommes de même nature pourront se réunir et fonder des communautés. Les nations seront dépassées.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Fragments posthumes XIII-883)

18 - MAR/SET - Financement OG/position HO

Dear Mr Coxon,
Thank you for your e-mail of 17 February to the Home Secretary regarding Operation Grange, the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Your e-mail has been passed to the Home Office’s Direct Communications Unit and I have been asked to reply.

The Government takes all cases of missing children very seriously. Although most of these cases may not be in the public eye, unresolved missing children cases are never closed and they remain the responsibility of individual police forces until the child is found. The circumstances of each case will vary and it is for individual forces to make an operational assessment on how they pursue it.

The Government believes it is right that it does all it can to support the search for Madeleine McCann. That is why the former Home Secretary asked the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to undertake a review of the case in May 2011. The Commissioner considered the request and on balance took the operational decision to bring its particular expertise to the case.

The investigation being undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Service is taking place under powers in Section 26 of the Police Act (1996) – Provision of advice and assistance to international organisations, etc. This can be viewed in full via the following link:

26 Provision of advice and assistance to international organisations etc.
(1)Subject to the provisions of this section, a police authority may provide advice and assistance—
(a)to an international organisation or institution, or
(b)to any other person or body which is engaged outside the United Kingdom in the carrying on of activities similar to any carried on by the authority or the chief officer of police for its area.
(2)The power conferred on a police authority by subsection (1) includes a power to make arrangements under which a member of the police force maintained by the authority is engaged for a period of temporary service with a person or body within paragraph (a) or (b) of that subsection.
(3)The power conferred by subsection (1) shall not be exercised except with the consent of the Secretary of State or in accordance with a general authorisation given by him.
(4)A consent or authorisation under subsection (3) may be given subject to such conditions as appear to the Secretary of State to be appropriate.
(5)Nothing in this section authorises a police authority to provide any financial assistance by—
(a)making a grant or loan,
(b)giving a guarantee or indemnity, or(c)investing by acquiring share or loan capital.
(6)A police authority may make charges for advice or assistance provided by it under this section.
F1(7). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(8)The provisions of this section are without prejudice to the M1Police (Overseas Service) Act 1945 F2. . . .
As a result, the subsequent costs of the investigation into her disappearance (Operation Grange) are being met through police Special Grant funding, the purpose of which is to meet additional costs that would be incurred from policing unexpected and exceptional events within a force’s area.

As with all Special Grant applications, the resources required are reviewed regularly and careful consideration is given before any funding is allocated.  Furthermore, the MPS keeps the Home Office informed of the progress of the investigation through regular updates which include an assessment of the need for continued funding which is linked to whether there remain continued lines of investigation to pursue.

In the interests of transparency, the process and criteria associated with special grant applications is published, and can be found at the following link:

Home Office guidance for special grant funding guidance

Police forces should include within their policing and budget plans reasonable contingencies for unexpected events within their areas. It is, however, recognised that there will be unexpected and exceptional events that could threaten the financial stability of one or more police forces. In these cases, police and crime commissioners (PCCs) can apply to the Home Office for special grant funding to meet additional costs that would be incurred from policing unexpected and exceptional events within their areas. Special grant funding can be used to help alleviate the potential financial burden of these events so that police forces can continue to function normally. The guidance below outlines the process for applying for a special grant.

  1. The Home Office will only consider an application from the relevant PCC. The force is not able to make an application of its own volition.
  2. It is important to note that even if a special grant is provided, forces are expected to meet the additional costs of the event up to 1% of the force’s budget. For example, if 1% of the force’s budget is £2.4 million, and the PCC makes an application for £3.2 million to cover the additional costs incurred, generally, the force will be expected the pay the first, £2.4 million, with a special grant providing the balance (in this example a special grant of £800k would be provided).
  3. The Home Office reserves the right to refuse a special grant application, and there should be no presumption that financial assistance will be available.
  4. There are 2 fundamental questions that will be taken into consideration: do the additional costs equal or exceed 1% of the force’s budget?; would the refusal of financial assistance threaten the PCC’s financial stability and their capacity to deliver effective policing?
  5. If the answer to at least one of these questions is yes then the relevant PCC may apply for a special grant.
  6. The application for a special grant should only include additional costs. In general, these would include those necessary to pay staff overtime, mutual aid and rest day working costs, but may also include vehicle or equipment hire costs. Special grant funding does not cover opportunity costs, for example, the cost of an officer engaged in policing the event as part of their normal duty should not be included in the application because this is an opportunity cost.
  7. In applying for special grant funding the PCC should refer to the special grant criteria document at annex A, which was prepared in conjunction with HMICFRS. The special grant criteria document sets out information that a PCC should include in their application. They should attach all relevant documentation that supports their application in order for their bid to be properly assessed. The Home Office will not refer the application to HMICFRS until the majority of this information has been provided.
  8. HMICFRS will conduct an independent review of the application to assess whether the costs are reasonable and proportionate. This process is likely to involve a visit to the relevant force and could result in additional information being requested in order to fully assess the application. They will then provide the Home Office with a report outlining their conclusions and recommendations. HMICFRS’s terms of reference are included at Annex B.
  9. Home Office officials will provide advice to ministers as they take the final decision. The PCC is then informed in due course of the outcome of their application.
  10. In cases where special grant funding is approved forces will be required to demonstrate their financial governance arrangements, for managing the expenditure, that meet the principles of managing public money1.
  11. If you wish to apply for a special grant or have any special grant related queries please contact the following from the Police Resources Policy Team at the Home Office:

I can clarify that, in general, the purpose of an investigation will have no bearing on Ministerial decisions as to whether to approve a Special Grant application or not.
The resources required are reviewed regularly with careful consideration given before any new funding is allocated.
We appreciate the time it has taken for you to write on these matters and would like to thank you for expressing your thoughts.  Your comments have been noted.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen Gearing

The Home Office responds to media coverage on funding for Operation Grange.
Home Office in the media
There has been media coverage of funding for Operation Grange, the Metropolitan Police Service’s (MPS) operation concerning the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Some of the recent coverage has suggested that funding for Operation Grange will expire on 30 September 2018, and that the MPS will be unable to continue the operation thereafter unless additional funds are provided.
We have received and are considering a request from the MPS to extend funding for Operation Grange until the end of March 2019.

Funding for Special Grant applications can be paid retrospectively for operational work already done in the same financial year. It is therefore incorrect to suggest that the MPS would have to discontinue its operational work after 30 September 2018 unless additional funds were provided in advance of this date.
The Home Office maintains an ongoing dialogue with the MPS regarding funding for Operation Grange.

Special Grant funding is usually available to police forces when they face significant or exceptional costs. The cost of Operation Grange – which, to date, is £11.6m – has been met through Special Grant funding.
As usual, full details of any Special Grant awards in 2018/19 will be published after the end of the financial year.