Da Black Whole

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"No Apologies"

Britain brands nearly 1,500 citizens criminals by mistake


Sun May 21, 9:23 AM ET

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's embattled Home Office was at the centre of fresh controversy after it admitted to labelling nearly 1,500 innocent people as criminals by mistake.

The ministry -- already reeling from a foreign prisoner scandal -- was also under pressure following reports that an immigration officer has been suspended due to allegations that he offered to help a teenage Zimbabwean claim asylum in Britain in return for sex.

The Home Office said the people had been mistakenly labelled as criminals after their identities were confused with real offenders when the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) carried out checks on individuals applying for jobs working in positions of trust with children or vulnerable adults.

"This is not about the CRB making 'mistakes': where there has been a mismatch, it is because the individual's details are similar or even identical to someone else's conviction data on the Police National Computer," a ministry spokesman was quoted by Britain's domestic Press Association as saying Sunday.

"These cases are clearly regrettable, but represent a tiny proportion of cases -- 0.03 percent of the nine million disclosures issued by the CRB since it began operating in March 2002," he said.

Last year, the Home Office successfully stopped 25,000 unsuitable people from gaining work with children or the vulnerable.

"We make no apology for erring on the side of caution. We are talking about the protection of children and vulnerable adults," the spokesman said.

The Mail on Sunday, which broke the story of the blunder, said many law-abiding citizens lost jobs or were barred from taking courses because they had been wrongly classed as pornographers, thieves and violent robbers.

The victims had to go to their local police station to be fingerprinted in order to clear their name, it said.

The scandal will prove a challenge for new Home Secretary John Reid who took over the Home Office from Charles Clake earlier this month.

Clarke was ejected in a cabinet reshuffle after admitting his ministry failed to consider more than 1,000 foreign criminals for deportation after they were released from jail. Some went on to reoffend.

Nick Clegg, home affairs spokesman for the opposition Liberal Democrats said the revelations "take Home Office incompetence to new absurd levels".

"While dangerous criminals are allowed to walk freely in our communities, innocent people are being given criminal records and prevented from getting on with their lives."

________________


gee . . . i wonder what percentage of the Mistaken Evildoers (oops!) were male?

had enuf yet?

shall i post a few more? hmmm?

:O)

note that Mr. Clegg -- purportedly the "opposition" -- is in fact not "opposed" to the "scandalous incumbents" at all

his carefully worded statement appears to refute the "opposition" -- but in fact relies on the same demagoguery, fear-mongering, and agitational propaganda as the "scandalous incumbents"

precisely like America's "choice" between Kerry and Bush

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