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Records Management

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what rules are established in the Joint Service Defence Records Management Manual concerning the classes or categories of documents that must be retained in the circumstances of a sudden or controversial death; how long these records have to be retained; and what penalties are available following the successful prosecution of a person responsible for the retention of a document or piece of evidence in the event of its destruction. (79839)

The Defence Records Management Manual does not refer specifically to classes or categories of documents relating to sudden or controversial death. Retention of such records may be defined separately: for example, copies of the reports of all Boards of Inquiry into unnatural deaths are required to be held centrally for a minimum of 25 years. Personnel files are preserved in the Department for at least 100 years from the individual's date of birth. The penalties available in the event of any prosecution would depend on the offence that it was alleged had been committed.