By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
Last Updated: 1:22AM BST 22 Aug 2008
The Home Office has lost confidential information on every prisoner in the country and more than 40,000 serious criminals sparking yet another Government data crisis.
It has led to fears that the taxpayer may now face a multi-million pound compensation bill from criminals whose safety may be compromised.
The home addresses of some of Britain’s most prolific and serious offenders – including those who have committed violent and sexual crimes – are understood to be among the data now missing.
They were on a computer memory stick used by Home Office consultants which has gone missing over the past week. A full investigation has been launched and the police have been informed.
Home Office officials are now in discussions with the Information Commissioner about what steps it may need to take to protect those whose privacy has been jeopardised. The Commissioner said last night that “searching questions must be answered” before it decides what further action to take.