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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 12:32 GMT 13:32 UK
At-a-glance: Soham report
Sir Michael Bichard has issued a damning report on how two police forces failed to properly vet Ian Huntley, the school caretaker who killed schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Huntley had been accused of several sex-related crimes, but Humberside and Cambridge police failed to spot the allegations during his vetting.

Here is an outline of the report's findings:

  • There were "serious failings" on the part of the management of Humberside police force, which made "potentially significant errors".

  • The record system was not verified properly, and there were "deeply shocking" errors, omissions, failures and shortcomings in the vetting process which allowed Huntley to slip through the net.

  • He said Humberside police had lacked "effective guidance and training", and there was "ignorance" and "confusion" on the creation, reviewing and deleting of records.

  • In the first of 31 recommendations, Sir Michael said a registration scheme should be set up for employers to carry out checks on people wanting to work with children and potentially vulnerable people, like the elderly.

  • He called for the introduction of a national IT system for all police forces to share police intelligence, and said the Home Office should share responsibility for the lack of such a system.

  • More checks should be introduced on the growing number of overseas workers.

  • He also recommended a clear code of practice on record creation, deletion and sharing be issued to all police forces.

  • Head teachers and school governors should be trained to ensure at least one member on each interview panel would be aware of the importance of safeguarding children.

  • With regard to Cambridgeshire police, he said they were responsible for recording Huntley's birth date incorrectly and for checking only his alias Nixon on the Police National Computer (PNC), but added their mistakes "were not systemic nor corporate" and the specific errors had only limited consequences.

  • He said Humberside Police, not the Data Protection Act, was to blame for the fact Huntley's records had been deleted. The Act did not need rewriting, he added.

  • He said he had "misgivings" over the way social services handled the issue of Huntley's under-age sex allegations.

  • He consequently urged the government to reaffirm its existing strong guidance on sex between 15-year-olds with older people.

    The BBC's Andy Tighe
    "The Bichard Inquiry has heard from nearly 60 witnesses"



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