[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 16:40 GMT 17:40 UK
Crimes backlog four times worse
Home Secretary John Reid
John Reid initially said 540 serious offences were missed
The number of serious offences committed by Britons abroad which the Home Office failed to record was four times higher than first thought.

Police Minister Tony McNulty said there were 2,198 sexual and serious offenders among 27,000 cases that had not been entered into police records.

Home Secretary John Reid said the figure was just 540 shortly after the backlog was exposed in January.

The Home Office said the new list was a "more thorough and comprehensive job".

Cases left in files

The new total includes 21 potentially dangerous offenders who were convicted mainly of murder or manslaughter.

The failure to add the 27,000 files relating to Britons convicted of crimes overseas raised fears dangerous people could be cleared to work with children and vulnerable adults in the UK.

Home Office civil servants failed to update the Police National Computer with details of crimes committed by Britons abroad over a 10-year-period.

Details of 27,529 cases were left in files. An inquiry earlier this year found the officials did not realise the significance of information sent by police forces from Europe and Turkey.

A further Home Office report, released on Tuesday, reveals 89 serious offenders were given clean histories by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) because their details had not been logged.

The initial work we did in January was urgent and important but we have now been able to complete a thorough and more intensive analysis of the backlog
Home Office spokeswoman

Of those, 72 actually went on to get jobs and 52 remained in employment.

"It is up to the employer to consider appropriate action where the person is still working," said the report.

Additionally, three people convicted of sexual offences were given clean CRB checks - one of whom was convicted of sexual touching of a child under 16 and worked as a chess coach.

The coach has now been barred from working with children and vulnerable adults, while five more offenders are being followed up to see if they should also be barred.

Backlog cleared

Mr McNulty said a review of the way criminal convictions data is recorded and shared was underway.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "This backlog has now been cleared and details of all the relevant offenders have been entered on to the Police National Computer while a range of actions have been taken to protect the public.

"The initial work we did in January was urgent and important but we have now been able to complete a thorough and more intensive analysis of the backlog.

"This has been a complex process focusing on a broader set of offences, involving translation work and extensive checks with foreign authorities.

"It is not surprising that this work has resulted in additional offences being identified and prioritising them means that we have gone well beyond the initial exercise in dealing with public protection concerns."

The Conservatives condemn the handling of the issue

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific