Page last updated at 07:09 GMT, Saturday, 5 July 2008 08:09 UK

Crime check errors 'regrettable'

Young girl
The criminal checks are designed to protect the young and vulnerable

Checks which wrongly brand some people as criminals were "regrettable", the Home Office has said, in response to a newspaper report about the errors.

The Daily Telegraph reported 680 people had been wrongly labelled criminals by the Criminal Records Bureau in the year to February.

The Home Office said CRB has a 99.98% accuracy rate in vetting people working with children and vulnerable adults.

It had correctly stopped 80,000 people from working with vulnerable people.

The Telegraph also said 50,000 people needing detailed checks because they would be working unsupervised with children had to wait more than two months to be dealt with.

'Ruin lives'

The Criminal Records Bureau's 450 staff took more than 5,000 days off sick last year, the paper added.

Shadow Home Office minister David Ruffley blamed Home Secretary Jacqui Smith "for this continuing incompetence, mismanagement and delay".

He said: "There were almost 700 mistakes that could that could ruin people's lives. That is 700 too many."

A CRB spokesman said: "The Criminal Records Bureau's first priority is to help protect children and vulnerable adults, and we will always err on the side of caution to help ensure the safety of these groups.

"The CRB is acknowledged as an improvement on previous checking arrangement, although checks which do not correctly reveal a persons true criminal record are still clearly regrettable - even if they do represent a tiny proportion of all CRB checks."

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