Saturday, 21 June 2008

Two small (but important) details

The McCann couple has been trying hard to convince Members of European Parliament to support a “written declaration” about setting up an EU alert system for missing children. Adressing the MEPs, Kate McCann said that she “believe the chances for recovery (of Madeleine) would have been higher”, if an EU alert system was in place, on May 3 last year.

Lady Catherine Meyer, who founded a charity to deal with the problem of child abduction told The Telegraph: “"I am without a doubt sure that if an Amber Alert was in place when Madeleine McCann went missing she would have been found, without a doubt." The headline of that story, in The Telegraph says: “Alert 'would have saved' Madeleine McCann”.

The Daily Mirror quotes unnamed relatives of Madeleine McCann: “The family say Madeleine, four, who vanished in May 2007, may have been found if there had been alert system”. The Liverpool Daily Post wrote that “The McCanns believe a European version of Amber Alert - which notifies the public via media across the US when police confirm a child has been abducted - would have helped the search for their daughter in the crucial hours after her disappearance”.

But there are two small details that I believe people must think about it, when facing this barrage of arguments. First detail: Kate McCann raised the alarm that Madeleine has disappeared at 10.00 pm. But the first phone call registered by Portuguese police about a missing child at Praia da Luz resort, was made 46 minutes later. A patrol was sent, from the GNR precint of Lagos, arrived 10/15 minutes later, and called PJ after another 10/15 minutes they spend, in the field, evaluating the situation – common procedure, even for the outstanding British Police. Why that phone call was made only 46 minutes after Kate McCann found Madeleine was missing?

Second detail, according to The Times: “The UK’s most senior officer responsible for missing children today ruled out Kate and Gerry McCann’s plea to introduce an 'amber alert' system. Deputy Assistant Commissioner Richard Bryan insisted that there was no need to emulate the US system of immediate information broadcasts once children have been reported missing (...) People need to realise we have got a version of amber alert in the UK - child rescue alert,' he said. 'That has been in place since 2003 in Sussex and it was rolled out nationally by 2006. We have only had to use it on three occasions.”