North Yorkshire Police has spoken out to defend its investigation into the disappearance of York chef Claudia Lawrence.

The force issued a statement today (Tuesday, May 23) after reports by some media carried comments attributed to Claudia's mum Joan Lawrence.

Joan, according to reports, claimed that she has been kept in the dark about the police investigation surrounding her daughter’s disappearance.

The reports suggest she has called for a face-to-face meeting with the North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe and Chief Constable Lisa Winward to voice her concerns, and is calling for “changes at the top".

Claudia, who worked as a chef at the University of York, was reported missing in 2009, then aged 35. Despite extensive police inquiries no trace of her has been found.

When police began searching an area at Sand Hutton gravel pits in 2021, Joan apparently said she was not informed.

She is reported to have said: “The police do absolutely nothing. I only found out about a search they were doing involving 60 or 70 police officers after it was reported in the media.”

The Press has attempted to contact Joan.

North Yorkshire Police has now issued a statement in response to the media reports.

It said: "It is disappointing to North Yorkshire Police that Mrs Lawrence feels such dissatisfaction.

"In 2017, the investigation into the disappearance and suspected murder of Claudia Lawrence was scaled back to a reactive status.

"This decision was taken at the conclusion of a comprehensive review and reinvestigation of the case, which commenced in 2013 and lasted four years.

"That review, which followed separate independently led inspections of the case, involved support from national experts in varying fields and the National Crime Agency.

"Even with the investigation in a reactive status, the inquiry continues to benefit from information shared by the public.

"It is our hope that Mrs Lawrence, and the wider communities of York and North Yorkshire, recognise that the Senior Investigating Officer and the Major Investigation Team take seriously all such information."

The force said the search of Sand Hutton gravel pits in 2021 was a "clear demonstration" that it acted on new information.

It added: "This renewed activity stemmed from the receipt of fresh intelligence and North Yorkshire Police can confirm that Mrs Lawrence was informed, in person, about the searches. This was in advance of the media, or indeed the wider communities of York and North Yorkshire, becoming aware of the activity.

"Several attempts at engagement have taken place since the conclusion of the enhanced investigative activity in November 2021, some as recently as March 2023, to ensure that Claudia’s family have access to any continued support which may be required.

"North Yorkshire Police has consistently strived to maintain a professional and respectful relationship with Claudia’s family and this approach will continue."

The force said it will continue to assess all information which reaches the inquiry team and urged the public to pass on any information that could help the investigation. 

It added: "With this in mind, we very much hope to remain engaged with Claudia’s family to keep them informed about the investigation and to provide them with any support they may require going forward."

Making a report

You can make a report via the North Yorkshire Police website or by calling 101, select option 1, and pass details to the Force Control Room.

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded, and you will not go to court.

Please quote “Claudia Lawrence” when providing details.

The appeal for information is also available on the Major Incident Public Portal.