Capita staff will access police computer files

Cabinet minister Charles Clarke has defended a government move to give Capita staff in the Criminal Records Bureau access to the...

Cabinet minister Charles Clarke has defended a government move to give Capita staff in the Criminal Records Bureau access to the Police National Computer.

The Home Office has put down an amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill that would let private sector workers at the CRB directly access the PNC.

A Home Office spokesman said the change merely meant that suitably vetted Capita staff would be able to access the PNC directly for the purposes of the CRB, rather than having to get a civil servant to do it for them.

The change is linked to a clause that renders anyone improperly disclosing information subject to a £4,000 fine or a year in prison. Civil servants would also be in breach of the Official Secrets Act.

Clarke said, "This will improve the efficiency of the CRB by allowing Capita staff to access the PNC directly under strict controls. I am in favour of anything that helps the CRB to do a more efficient job and cuts down on bureaucracy. I do not think this represents a major infringement of civil liberties.''

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