THE new North Yorkshire Police investigation into the disappearance of Claudia Lawrence has cost £400,000 so far, it emerged today.
Operation Essence, launched in late 2013 as a review of the original investigation into the York chef’s 2009 disappearance, has 20 dedicated police staff and officers working on it.
The figures were revealed in a request made to North Yorkshire Police under the Freedom of Information Act. Between its launch in 2013 to the end of January 2015, the inquiry cost £398,415.
The request also showed there had been 1,486 written instructions carried out under the review, which has led to six arrests in less than 18 months.
North Yorkshire Police said: “The review started in May 2013 with a small team, but then increased in October 2013 following the set up of the Major Crime Unit. The number of staff working on the review does vary depending on the workloads involved.”
The most recent events saw three men, all aged in their fifties and from the York area, arrested on April 23. They were later released on police bail following interviews.
A York man, also in his fifties, remains on bail after he was arrested on suspicion of murder in March.
Martin Dales, Peter Lawrence’s friend and spokesman, said: “Peter has always said that you cannot put a price tag on efforts to find a missing loved one and the work must continue to find out what has happened to Claudia.”
Miss Lawrence was reported missing by her father in March 2009 after concerns were raised when she failed to turn up for her 6am shift at work.
No arrests were made under the initial investigation – called Operation Cabin – despite thousands of man hours and more than £750,000 in resources used in the searches.
North Yorkshire Police began reviewing the case in 2013 and have since carried out a number of searches, including a detailed re-examination of Miss Lawrence’s home, in the Heworth area of the city, and a fingertip search of an alleyway that leads to the rear of the house.