UK authorities failed to send EU countries updates on more than 75,000 criminals – potentially including murderers and rapists – for fear of damaging Britain’s reputation, according to newly revealed documents.
One in three alerts on offenders were not sent to EU states, the documents say, due to a UK police national computer error that went undetected for five years. The failure to pass on notifications dates back to 2012, with other EU countries not receiving vital information on crimes committed, sentences given to their citizens, and the risk convicted criminals posed to the public.
There is an early estimation of 75,000 checks that have not been done over the years.
A spokesman for ACRO, the unit responsible for international police data sharing, admits the figure may have increased, saying “We can only provide an estimation of the numbers, though we believe it’s now more than 75,000.”
Details contained in the ‘ACRO Strategic Management Minutes’ reveal that dangerous criminals could have travelled back to their home countries without the standard notification from the UK alerting local authorities of their presence.
Agency documents also clearly show fears of reputational damage over the notification failure. Minutes of an ACRO criminal records meeting last May state: “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 scandal comes ahead of critical talks between the UK and the EU over future security arrangements after Brexit, with Britain’s reputation as a trustworthy partner already under serious question.
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