Commander Graham McNulty seeks to clarify 'confusion and misunderstanding'
Tomorrow 14-year-old Alice Gross will have been missing from her home and family for four weeks. Her family are desperately concerned about her, and quite simply want her home with them again.
I would like to address some of the misunderstanding and confusion surrounding European Arrest Warrants (EAW). To obtain an EAW police must seek the authority of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to charge the suspect or suspects with an offence. The offence must meet one of the tests laid down in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. If one of the tests is met the decision to charge is made by the CPS and the police can then lay the information (the charge) at a Magistrates' Court. It is after these steps have been followed that an EAW can be applied for. We have not sought that authorisation.
I repeat - this is a missing person's enquiry, firmly focused on our search for Alice.
Arnis Zalkalns is a suspect in her disappearance; he is someone that we need to speak to. Two people have so far been arrested, investigated and eliminated from this investigation. Arnis Zalkalns is one line of this fast paced and ever expanding investigation. I stress, there is no evidence that Alice has come to harm, but we are clearly very concerned for her welfare.
I would urge everyone to be cautious about speculating on the exact involvement of Arnis Zalkalns, or any other individual, in relation to this investigation.
It was a highly unusual step to name a suspect, and provide information about his previous arrest and conviction. This decision was not made lightly, and was based upon public safety, seeking the public's help to find him, and most importantly to find Alice.
I still need the public's help - we want to find Alice. That has always been the priority for this investigation and it remains the case today.
The local community of Ealing have shown us great support and patience. I would like to thank them, plus all the people who have contacted the team to give us information to help us in the search for Alice.
24th September 2014