It has been seven years since 3-year old Madeleine McCann was last seen by her father sleeping in their room at the Ocean Club resort while they were on holiday in the seaside village of Praia Da Luz in Portugal. But at around when her mother, Kate, checked on her about an hour later, she found the shutters up, the windows open, and Madeleine gone.
Since then, the child's parents have never given up hope of finding their daughter. Despite an international appeal and numerous reported sightings, the child has not been found. She would be nine years old this year.
Now, it is being reported that competing British forces who are trying to solve the disappearance of Madeleine actually hampered the investigation, according to Mirror U.K.
In an unpublished home report, various U.K. authorities were trying to help in the weeks that followed the child's disappearance. However, instead of the numerous teams being an advantage in the search for the missing toddler, the competition between them had a long-term, negative effect on the case.
Former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (Ceop) Jim Gamble spoke to Sky News and said that so many police forces from the UK got involved in the search that it gained the ire of the Portuguese forces.
Among those that were involved in the investigation were the Ceop, the Metropolitan Police, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, and the National Police Improvement Agency. The lack of coordination and cooperation among them created "frustration" and "resentment" among Portuguese colleagues.
"When this happened, your first gut reaction is you want to help," said Gamble to Sky News. "A child has gone missing. In Ceop, we were no different than anyone else."
"So there is this rush to help in the early stage and I think because the UK did not have a structure for dealing with this … so everyone came with best intention, that created a sense of chaos and a sense of competition …and in many instances in my opinion wanting to be seen to help," he added.