Leading Home Office Civilservant Is Suspended Inrow over Criminal Records

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 15, 2007 | Go to article overview

Leading Home Office Civilservant Is Suspended Inrow over Criminal Records


A high-ranking Home Office civil servant was suspended last night as the fall-out from the criminal records debacle continued. The official was relieved of duties after volunteering information to an internal inquiry over the weekend. A spokeswoman for the First Division Association union - which only represents the service's top echelons, earning on average pounds 55,000 - confirmed the individual was one of its members. The Home Office is expected to issue a statement today she added. The news diverted some scrutiny away from Ministers after a day when pressure seemed to be building inexorably on Home Secretary John Reid and his team. There was speculation it may support his claim - and that of Junior Ministers Tony McNulty and Joan Ryan - not to have been alerted to the huge backlog of criminal record notifications from Europe awaiting processing.

The Ministers have acknowledged that meetings were held between Home Office officials and police over problems entering data on the Police National Computer.

In a bid to quell the growing row, Mr Reid announced yesterday that he was instigating a root-and-branch review of Britain's criminal databases.

Ms Ryan will also meet EU counterparts this week to discuss improvements in systems for sharing information. She will press for biometric details - especially fingerprints - to be included on future notifications that Britons have been convicted abroad.

Four drugs offenders and a people smuggler convicted in the EU have so far been confirmed as having passed Criminal Records Bureau checks to work with children and vulnerable adults in Britain - but apparently no violent or sexual offenders got through.

There were claims yesterday that two of the men convicted of serious offences in Europe went on to kill here - although the Home Office insisted police knew of their background and it would have made no difference to the way they were dealt with. …

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