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Ministers urged to reimburse police for Corrie McKeague search costs

PUBLISHED: 23:13 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 23:13 07 February 2018

Corrie McKeague in a picture uploaded by his mother. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Corrie McKeague in a picture uploaded by his mother. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Ministers have been urged to reimburse a police force as soon as possible for its £2.1 million investigation into the disappearance of missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague.

Corrie McKeague search at the Milton Landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Pictures: GREGG BROWNCorrie McKeague search at the Milton Landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Pictures: GREGG BROWN

Tory Peter Aldous said Suffolk Constabulary, who he said had carried out an “extensive search” for Mr McKeague, had applied to the Home Office for repayment of the costs.

The 23-year-old was last seen walking through Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, in September 2016 after a night out with friends.

Mr Aldous (Waveney) raised Mr McKeague’s disappearance during a debate in the Commons on a motion to set police budgets next year, telling MPs: “Police budgeting is a very difficult science as events will take place that you can never predict.

“One of these is the tragic case of the airman Corrie McKeague, who disappeared after a night out in the constituency of (Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill).

Drone image of police searching a landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Picture Lee Blanchflower/Blanc CreativeDrone image of police searching a landfill site in Cambridgeshire. Picture Lee Blanchflower/Blanc Creative

“Quite rightly Suffolk Constabulary have carried out an extensive search for Corrie, which very sadly has not yet shed any light on his disappearance.

“This search has so far cost £2.15 million, an application has been made to the Home Office for the repayment of these costs and I would urge the minister to process this application and reimburse Suffolk Constabulary as soon as practicably possible.”

He said “a further unforeseen cost” Suffolk Constabulary “may have to bear” could come from policing of roads around Ipswich Town Football Club on match days.

“Last week the Supreme Court ruled that Suffolk Police could not appeal the case and they should cover the cost of this policing.

Waveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Courtesy of Mr Aldous' officeWaveney MP Peter Aldous. Picture: Courtesy of Mr Aldous' office

“This could well result in significant back payments to the football club for the period from 2008 to 2013.”

Mr Aldous said he did not agree with the decision and thought it was “wrong of the football club to pursue the case”.

“I question whether it is morally right for the public and the taxpayer to ultimately be paying for the policing of sporting and leisure events which can generate significant revenues for the clubs involved.”

He added: “I think it is wrong that the taxpayer has to pick up this Bill.

“The decision in the courts could have ramifications for police forces all around the country and I urge the Home Office to bring forward legislation to address this problem as quickly as possible.”

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