The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the UK looks set to pause the investigation into the disappearance of Madeline McCann, it has been claimed.
The move would enabled detectives to prioritise other things if police staffing numbers take a hit from officers being struck down with the deadly illness themselves.
Historical crimes – like the 2007 disappearance of Maddie McCann – will also be put on hold as police prioritise cases where there is a ‘critical’ need to investigate.
Maddie was just three-years-old when she disappeared in Portugal's Praia da Luz resort in 2007.
Now, it is reported that around 38,000 out of 126,000 officers nationwide could be struck down by coronavirus if current modelling predicting the spread of the disease throughout the country follows the same trends within the force.
A government source reportedly told MailOnline: "The coronavirus is unprecedented in living memory and so the measures the police have to take are unprecedented.
"The mapping shows that, in the worst case scenario, as much as 25 -30% of the population could be infected at the peak time, which is estimated to be late May or early June.
"That could be mirrored across the police force so contingency plans are being put in place and, although they need to be finalised, one of the main points is increasing police shift rates from nine-hours to 12-hours.
"CID officers will be asked to carry on their duties but asked to do so in uniform so they are able to quickly respond to a 999 call should they need to.
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"I know of at least one force up north who are close to bringing this in."
The source said it was vital that resources were focused in the right areas.
"With fewer officers, the police will be told to prioritise crimes where there is a critical need to investigate or if there is a danger of evidence being lost if they don’t act straight away,' he said.
"The first cases to be parked will be historic investigations, for example the investigation into the disappearance of Madeline McCann.
"In terms of replacing officers, if any armed police officers become sick the plan is to replace them with officers from the civil nuclear constabulary and if they get sick, they will be replaced by the military.
"The possibility of mutual aid, the providing of police assistance from one force to another."
Speaking on Thursday, Boris Johnson said Britain will "turn the tide" on coronavirus in the next 12 weeks.
Britain’s major airports will reportedly shut down "within weeks" without government support due to the coronavirus outbreak.
All schools in the UK will close in an effort to slow the spread of the infection, although the Government has published a list of key workers deemed "essential" to the fight against coronavirus and whose children should stay in school.
Daily Star has approached Met Police for comment.
- Madeleine Mccann
- MET Police
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