The UK failed to tell the EU about 75,000 crimes committed by foreign criminals on British soil and then covered up the scandal amid fears of damaging its reputation abroad, it has emerged.
The error went undetected for five years, during which one in three alerts on offenders which would have been sent from the police national computer to EU authorities were not delivered – potentially including rape and murder cases.
This means dangerous foreign offenders once released from prison could return to their home countries without local authorities being aware of their presence.
The blunder lead to an apparent cover up which was revealed in the minutes of an ACRO Criminal Records Office meeting obtained by the Guardian.
The error went undetected for five years, during which one in three alerts on offenders – potentially including rapes and murders – which would have been sent from the police national computer to the EU, were not delivered (file image)
It is understood that the process that flags and shares information following criminal convictions between Britain and the relevant EU nation failed due to a ‘software glitch,’ the Guardian reported.
The Home Office initially tried to conceal the damning failure from EU partners minutes from the ACRO criminal records meeting last May revealed,
‘There is a nervousness from Home Office around sending the historical notifications out dating back to 2012 due to the reputational impact this could have,’ the minutes showed.
A minute of a meeting held in June said: ‘There is still uncertainty whether historical DAFs [daily activity file], received from the Home Office, are going to be sent out to counties (sic) as there is a reputational risk to the UK.’
The historical backlog of 75,000 notifications has still not been sent to European law enforcement agencies, the Guardian reported
The historical backlog of 75,000 notifications has still not been sent to European law enforcement agencies.
Shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, has called for a ‘full urgent investigation’ demanding ‘ministers come clean’.
The damning revelations comes ahead of crunch EU negotiations over the future of the security relationship between Britain and Brussels.
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a Dutch MEP on the European parliament said she expected an urgent inquiry by a European parliament justice committee.