The Northern Scot's Arlene Fraser and Nat Fraser files: 2003 – Inquiry cost tops £2m
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This story appeared in the Northern Scot, January 31, 2003.
THE cost of the biggest ever criminal inquiry in the 27-year history of Grampian Police was a staggering £2 million.
What initially started out as a missing person inquiry quickly mushroomed into a major criminal investigation with CID officers from across the force area brought together to form a dedicated team.
Mrs Arlene Fraser disappeared on Tuesday, April 28, 1998, and the following day a major crime scene team, including forensic scientists and photographers, descended on the family home at 2 Smith Street, New Elgin.
At the height of the investigation 40 officers were working on the case and in total 96 officers were involved in some way in the five years since Arlene Fraser disappeared.
Over 2500 statements were taken and the names of 4000 people who helped in the inquiry were logged on the Home Office Large Major Enquiry System (HOLMES).
Police officers took 3000 individual actions in relation to the case and collected 645 items as productions.
Over 100 missing person posters were distributed in the Elgin area alone and 2000 leaflets asking for information about Arlene's whereabouts were also distributed.
The police sent out 750 questionnaires to licensed premises, householders, local businesses and bus stations.
In June of 1998 letters were sent out to 450 farmers and other individuals with areas of land on the four main routes into Elgin, asking them to check outbuildings and other areas where a body might have been.
Within a week of Arlene going missing a mass search of public areas in Elgin, including the banks of the River Lossie, was carried out and 150 members of the public took part in that alongside Arlene's father Hector McInnes.
House to house inquiries in the New Elgin and immediate area took in 313 premises.
Suggestions that Arlene had perhaps left home for some reason had to be investigated and one officer spent a whole year checking for any possible trace of her, which included checking with GPs, the passport agency, benefits agency and over 32 financial institutions.