Official suspended over Home Office criminal row

Home secretary John Reid
Home secretary John Reid

An official at the Home Office has been suspended following news that the department had failed to update criminal databases with the details of Britons convicted overseas.

The unnamed civil servant has been suspended pending an internal investigation after new evidence was brought to light.

A spokeswoman at the government department revealed today: "An official at the Home Office has volunteered evidence in the last 48 hours which warrants further investigation.

"In the meantime this official has been suspended pending further inquiries."

Earlier today it was claimed that the Home Office's failures had led to the gangland execution of a man six years ago.

According to the Observer, Dale Miller was able to return unmonitored to the UK despite being jailed for a series of robberies in Germany and Switzerland.

The newspaper says that if the 43-year-old's Interpol-supplied data had been correctly stored at the Home Office then Freddie Knights would not have been shot dead at point blank range in Newcastle in 2000.

But the government has insisted that Miller is not one of the 27,500 British criminals whose records had not been stored on police databases.

The Observer's claims comes as the Home Office admitted that four drug offenders and a people smuggler had been incorrectly cleared to work with children and/or vulnerable adults.

However, the government is adamant that none of the 540 violent or sexual offenders whose records have not been updated have reoffended, although it does say that nine other criminals have "probably" slipped through the net.

Home secretary John Reid attempted to reassure MPs and the public last week that his department, which he himself dubbed as "not fit for purpose" last year, was on top of the problem.

But shadow home secretary David Davis said today: "Far from fixing the problems that stop the Home Office protecting the public, under John Reid's regime they are only discovered by accident."


Politics @ Lunch

Friday lunchtime. Your Inbox. It's a date.