Faced with the privatization of the forensic services in 2010, Scotland Yard told to i the pictures of the suspect are from 2008.
by Carlos Diogo santos
The e-fits released in the past few hours by the British police were made in September 2008, a few months after the parents of the child divulged a "drawing" of a suspect with a beard and long hair. However, the two e-fits now disclosed reveal two men clean shaven, with short hair and of vague traces - which according to the authorities of that country match a man spotted near the resort where Maddie was - but who may not be the culprit. Images which may spell for the English the beginning of the end, but are, according to national authorities, of little use for the investigation in Portugal or even for the one taking place in London.
The result of months and months of the work by Scotland Yard raises, according to a Judiciary Police(PJ) source various problems: "First, the images that were disclosed allow to understand that the technique used is not very modern, being identical to the identikits that used to be done in Portugal many years ago." Furthermore, "it is not common to publicize the e-fit of someone without being certain that it is a suspect, as the British did."
i also knows that the tactic used by the English does not condition the work that is being developed in Portugal, nevertheless some elements involved the Portuguese investigation consider that the Scotland Yard should have waited for the fulfilment of the rogatory letter that was sent to Lisbon before divulging any information to the public.
These images of a new suspect appeared a few months later after the extinction of the Forensic Science Service (FSS), the state entity that used to make this typeof work - since 2010 the preparation of identikits is in the hands of private companies. Contacted by i, Scotland Yard affirmed, however, that this image was not done by a privately held company, since "it was prepared in September 2008."
Nowadays, the national authorities have advanced technology which allows the creation of identikits, much closer to reality than those who were made public by the British. The case of the Telheiras rapist (see the above photo) is one of those examples.
Deformation of Images
Authorities in each country have computer software that allows the creation of images based on witness descriptions. However, the same statements in Portugal and England will generate different outcomes, since the system shapes the characteristics to the singularities of the persons in each country. In practice, this means that if the suspects are Portuguese, these images will not reflect as well as possible their features. This is because they were generated in a software with a database different from Portugal.
The British authorities have followed since the beginning the work of the Judiciary Police, allegedly not accepting the result of the joint investigation [original investigation May 2007/July 2008]. There are those in the PJ who guarantee that the presence of British investigators has "conditioned in several aspects the investigation that took place in Portugal", namely when the English demanded that dogs should be brought to carry out investigations on the field. "Those who see these stories today have the perception that London is doing an investigation after the PJ has done theirs, but no. The first investigation was made by the PJ with the cooperation of the British police," said one source familiar with the process.
Newspaper i, October 15, 2013, paper edition
Channel 4 news, 14 October 2013