Suffolk PCC to ask Home Office to refund £1.5m costs of missing Corrie McKeague search

Corrie McKeague went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016. Picture: CONTRI

Corrie McKeague went missing after a night out in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner has pledged to ask the government to pay for the £1.5million search for missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner (PCC). Picture: Suffolk PCC.

Tim Passmore, Suffolk's police and crime commissioner (PCC). Picture: Suffolk PCC. - Credit: Archant

Tim Passmore said “it would not acceptable” if the Home Office refused to provide any financial support under exceptional circumstances amid further warnings over the force’s “critical” levels of funding.

It comes after police announced yesterday a landfill search for Mr McKeague concluded without finding any trace of him.

A 20-week search of two areas of Cell 22 at the site at Milton, near Cambridge, finished earlier this year, and a second search, lasting seven weeks, finished earlier this week.

These were the two most likely areas where the RAF gunner, from Fife but based at RAF Honington in Suffolk, would have been.

Mr McKeague was 23 when he was last seen in Bury St Edmunds in September 2016 after a night out. A review of the investigation to date agreed that it was most likely that he ended up in the waste disposal process.


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Mr Passmore said: “I would be dismayed if the government does not come to our assistance on this. It would be totally unfair and I would be disappointed, if not devastated. It would be another example of Suffolk losing out once again. It would not be acceptable.

“The Home Office minister has dispensation and digression in order to support police forces when they have a major investigation like this, under exceptional circumstances only, where the costs can been excessive, so we are putting an application in by the end of this week seeking dispensation from the policing minster to refund the cost of this investigation in full. That is additional costs over and above those that you would normally expect, which includes overtime and hire of machinery.

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“I think we have got a very good case. There is precedent and I think it is only reasonable that the Home Office does refund it. We are not a huge force. Our reserves are down to a critical level. We are forecasting an overspend this year of £1.9m. If that continues until the end of the financial year, then our general reserves will be down to about £4m. Our backs are right against the walls and we do need some assistance. I’ve always said this investigation would not be curtailed because of a lack of money or resources and that is certainly the case here.”

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