Crime vetting is condemned bold headline of spacey

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Indy Politics
Civil servants will be able to check whether people have criminal records under a Government scheme announced yesterday, writes Jason Bennetto.

The move, which will involve the vetting of about 150,000 people a year, was condemned by a civil rights' group.

Authorised staff at six Government departments will be able to check whether a would-be employee has broken the law. They will have access to the Police National Computer at Scotland Yard, which stores criminal records. The service will be open to staff at the Home Office, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Defence, the UK Atomic Energy Authority, MI5 and MI6.

John Wadham, legal director of Liberty, said: "We are extremely concerned that very sensitive material in the Police National Computer is to be made more widely available. This could clearly get into the wrong hands."

David Maclean, the Home Office minister, said the measure had been agreed with the Association of Chief Police Officers and would cut out paper work.

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