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Labour slam Government over police files deletion


Kit Malthouse (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Kit Malthouse (Isabel Infantes/PA)


Kit Malthouse (Isabel Infantes/PA)

A Labour MP has accused the Cabinet of a "corrosive" culture of not taking responsibility following the accidental deletion of hundreds of thousands of police records.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said Government ministers frequently "just don't take responsibility" for their errors and urged them to be more accountable for issues that occur surrounding their departments.

It follows the loss of a significant number of fingerprint, DNA and arrest history records from the Police National Computer which Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said was down to "human error" and "defective code".

Mr Malthouse said the blunder happened during routine maintenance of the Police National Computer last week and that officers are working "at pace" to recover the data.

The incident is not thought to have put public safety at risk, according to an initial assessment.

It is not clear what impact the incident will have on Northern Ireland. At the weekend the PSNI said it was "liaising with colleagues across the UK in relation to this matter".

Home Secretary Priti Patel has said: "Home Office engineers continue to work to restore data lost as a result of human error during a routine housekeeping process earlier this week."

Initially, some 150,000 records were said to have been lost, but it has emerged the number is far higher than first thought at about 400,000.

Questioned on the matter at the Fabian Society conference, Mr Thomas-Symonds refused to say whether the Home Secretary should resign over the matter, but called for more responsibility to be shown from all ministers.

He said: "A cabinet minister who actually took responsibility for their own department would be a novelty in this Government, I am sad to say. There was a time when ministers did take responsibility and, of course, I would take responsibility as the home secretary for what happens in the department and my responsibility to put it right."

He added: "Far from having a Home Secretary that takes responsibility, the Home Secretary hasn't even appeared in public since this crisis broke on Thursday night - indeed we had to learn about it from the newspapers rather than learn from it actually from her and what she was going to do about it.

"Ministers in this Government, I am afraid, just don't take responsibility. There is a culture of not taking responsibility and it is corrosive, frankly, to the quality of governance right across the Cabinet."

Belfast Telegraph

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