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Criminal Records Bureau

Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to his statement of 27 February 2003, Official Report, columns 32–36WS, on the Criminal Records Bureau, under what circumstances individuals' fingerprints will be retained by the CRB; how long after they are taken will they be destroyed; and if he will make a statement. [101018]

There are already arrangements in place for fingerprints to be used in circumstances where the applicant's identity cannot be confirmed by any other means. Under the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records) Regulations 2002, fingerprints, and any copies, taken for this purpose must be destroyed as soon as is practicable after the identity of the applicant is established to the satisfaction of the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). Any applicant who asks to be allowed to witness the destruction of his fingerprints or copies of them has the right to do so.As we have made clear, we shall undertake a further study, in consultation with interested parties, on the recommendation that fingerprints be taken to confirm the identity of applicants for particularly sensitive positions. If, in the light of this consultation, it is decided to proceed, the detailed arrangements for the retention and destruction of applicants' fingerprints will be drawn up.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what penalties will be applied if registered bodies fail to correctly identify individuals applying for disclosure by the Criminal Records Bureau; and if he will make a statement. [102524]

Under the Code of Practice, Registered Bodies are under an obligation to follow all Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) published guidance. This includes literature ensuring that false or fraudulent applications are not submitted. If a Registered Body fails to comply with the Code of Practice, the Secretary of State has the option to refuse to issue it with further Criminal Record Certificates. It is a criminal offence to knowingly make a false statement for the purpose of enabling another person to obtain a Criminal Record Certificate.As part of the Independent Review Team's recommendations, the critical role of Registered Bodies in the CRB process is to be upgraded. To ensure that Registered Bodies discharge their responsibilities effectively, we will take powers to attach conditions to a registration and to revoke a registration where such conditions are breached.