Almost 300 British residents who committed crimes abroad could be working with children or vulnerable people because their offences were not recorded on the police database, it emerged today.
In a statement to parliament, home secretary John Reid admitted that a backlog of around 27,500 records of offences committed abroad going back “many years” were only passed to police by the Home Office last year.
Reid said that more than 540 serious offenders had since been identified by the Association of Chief Police Officers and 260 had been added to the police database so far.
“The remaining 280 cannot be entered onto the police national computer and are the subject of further enquiries to the notifying country,” he said.
The home secretary ordered an inquiry into how the backlog occurred that will report within six weeks.
In prime minister’s question time today, Conservative leader David Cameron warned that Reid would not be able to avoid responsibility and “run away” if it was discovered that just one of the offenders was found to have been working with vulnerable adults or children.
In a statement, the Criminal Records Bureau said it would work closely with ACPO to see whether any of the identified offenders had previously applied for a check.