South Yorkshire Police chief to press Home Office for decision on funding for search for missing Ben Needham from Sheffield

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings
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South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to press the Government for a decision on whether to make extra funding available to help police search for missing Ben Needham.

Relatives of Ben, from Sheffield, who was 21 months old when he disappeared on the island of Kos in 1991 are angry at the lack of response from the Home Office over a police request for funding to help progress the search.

Ben Needham

Ben Needham

The Home Office admits the application is ‘currently under consideration’ but Ben’s family is disappointed at the length of time it is taking, claiming detectives are ready to travel to Kos again.

PCC Dr Alan Billings said he plans to ‘press the Home Secretary’ for a decision.

“I fully appreciate the anguish that the family of Ben Needham must feel on a daily basis. I recognise how difficult it must be not knowing whether the investigations into his disappearance will yield results,” he said.

“My staff have been liaising with the Home Office since July to find out what progress has been made on their decision around the application for funding we made earlier this year, and I understand that Home Office officials have sought a meeting with the Senior Investigating Officer to better understand what is proposed in investigation terms before a funding decision is made.

Undated handout photo of missing Ben Needham, who went missing on a Greek holiday island 22 years ago, as his mother has accused David Cameron of not giving her case the same backing as he gave the McCanns. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 19, 2013. Kerry Needham, 41, claims the Prime Minister needs to throw the weight of government behind South Yorkshire Police in the search for her missing son. She has called for the same level of support and financial backing offered to the Metropolitan force in the hunt for missing Madeleine. Her plea comes as ITV revealed a dossier that suggests a blond boy was seen eight times with a notorious Greek criminal family in the area where Ben disappeared. Mrs Needham, from Ecclesfield, Sheffield, told ITV's Calendar programme: "We just want the same level of support and for South Yorkshire to have the same resources - finances, if that's what they need. See PA story MISSING Needham. Photo credit should read: Handout/PA Wire 'NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout

Undated handout photo of missing Ben Needham, who went missing on a Greek holiday island 22 years ago, as his mother has accused David Cameron of not giving her case the same backing as he gave the McCanns. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday December 19, 2013. Kerry Needham, 41, claims the Prime Minister needs to throw the weight of government behind South Yorkshire Police in the search for her missing son. She has called for the same level of support and financial backing offered to the Metropolitan force in the hunt for missing Madeleine. Her plea comes as ITV revealed a dossier that suggests a blond boy was seen eight times with a notorious Greek criminal family in the area where Ben disappeared. Mrs Needham, from Ecclesfield, Sheffield, told ITV's Calendar programme: "We just want the same level of support and for South Yorkshire to have the same resources - finances, if that's what they need. See PA story MISSING Needham. Photo credit should read: Handout/PA Wire 'NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout

“I intend to press the Home Secretary for a resolution to this matter.”

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Our support for the Needham family and the Greek Authorities has remained throughout. This is not our investigation however should funding be made available we would seek to work with the Greek Authorities in pursuit of progressing their investigation.”

Pictured is Kerry Needham with a picture of missing Ben when he was 18months old .Ben who have been 20 today.

Pictured is Kerry Needham with a picture of missing Ben when he was 18months old .Ben who have been 20 today.