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Criticism of French police 'inactivity' overlooks important facts

Megan Stammers and Jeremy Forrest pictured before boarding a ferry to France. Photo: Sussex Police

Criticism of French police for alleged 'inactivity' in searching for Megan Stammers and Jeremy Forrest overlooks some pretty important facts.

Firstly, it's unclear what offence they could arrest Mr Forrest for on suspicion of committing - in France the age of consent is 15.

They can only arrest him for an alleged offence in the UK (such as abusing his position of trust) if Sussex Police obtain a European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Sussex Police, advised by psychologists, believe applying for a EAW and launching a manhunt may deter Megan from making contact voluntarily.

15-year-old Megan Stammers. Credit: www.meganstammers.com

The question is where would such a manhunt begin? Megan and Mr Forrest could be anywhere in Europe by now.

This remains a missing persons inquiry - not a kidnapping or abduction - and police believe Megan remains safe and well.

Her disappearance is of great distress to family & friends but, rightly or wrongly, isn't going to trigger a manhunt in Europe at this stage.

The priority for police is to reunite Megan with her family - which isn't necessarily the same as finding Mr Forrest.

Unless they can identify at the very least a specific region in the country where the pair have been reliably seen this is likely to remain a waiting game.

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