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Britain Probes Criminal Data Failure


Britain's Home Office says it has suspended one of its employees, as part of a probe into the department's failure to enter thousands of criminal records into a national police computer.

No details of the suspension have been released. The move follows the revelation last week from a national police organization that more than 27,000 files had not been entered into a national data base.

Critics say the oversight caused authorities to lose track of hundreds of dangerous criminals, including rapists, pedophiles and murderers.

Meanwhile, the British Observer newspaper says the lapse allowed a convicted armed robber who served prison time in Europe to re-enter Britain undetected, where he killed a man in Newcastle in 2000.

But the Home Office said that criminal would not have been supervised even if his records had been updated, because he served his prison sentence abroad.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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