Recommendations made after an official inquiry into the Soham murders remain unimplemented four years later, a report revealed today.
An inquiry by former Whitehall mandarin Sir Ian Magee also found serious flaws in the way Britain handles information about crimes committed overseas.
It revealed that UK police make just 20 requests to Interpol each day for details about non-EU criminals, compared with more than 20,000 a day by the French.
Britain has a poor reputation in the EU for responding to requests from other countries, leading to UK police being sidelined, the report said.
It revealed that police in England and Wales hold 70 million records split across more than 350 systems.
The UK also operates 77 "watch lists" for suspects and other wanted criminals, which Sir Ian describes as "inefficient as well as unhelpful in minimising risk".
The former permanent secretary expressed concern that nine of the 31 recommendations made in an official inquiry by Sir Michael Bichard in the wake of the Soham child murders have not yet been brought in.
Sir Ian said: "We also need swifter progress on implementing Sir Michael Bichard's remaining recommendations which remain unimplemented four years after he reported."
He added: "I think we've taken plenty enough time and it's about time we looked at this."
However, he refused to put a figure on the number of foreign criminals who may be in the UK without the police's knowledge as a result of any failings.
"I'm not going to say that there are many people at large. I just don't know," he said.Reuse content