No imminent plans to make any arrests in Madeleine McCann case

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Madeleine went missing in May 2007. Photo: Family Handout

As much as people may wish it to lead somewhere, the meeting between British and Portuguese detectives is a routine part of the investigation to establish what happened to Madeleine McCann.

In recent months, with both countries working on their own inquiries they have started to liaise much more over the detail of their work.

This is partly because new teams - without any of the historic antagonism - are now in place, but also due to Portuguese law.

The British can't just get on a flight and start interviewing or arresting suspects. Any police work has to be done by the Portuguese and for that to happen an International Letter of Request must be sent from the UK.

Police from the UK are visiting Portugal to discuss the Madeleine case. Credit: Family Handout

Many such letters have been sent and will be sent as part of Operation Grange, the Metropolitan Police's investigation.The last arrived a few days ago.

This meeting is a chance for officers from both countries to go through the detail.

Speaking to sources in Portugal and also the UK, it seems clear there is no plan to start making arrests imminently, if at all. This will be a long and slow process.

After so many years no one in the McCann family is getting overly optimistic. There have been too many moments which apparently offered far more than this routine meeting.

No one in the McCann family is getting overly optimistic at the latest developments. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Archive

Their policy remains they will continue their quest to find their daughter and welcome the work of those joining in that search.