Reid rings the changes at 'inadequate' Home Office

Indicating that the scale of the foreign prisoner fiasco could be far wider than originally suspected, he also disclosed that more than 80 serious offenders are still on the run.

Making his first appearance before the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee since he replaced Charles Clarke just over two weeks ago, he acknowledged that he had faced a "tidal waves of events".

He said that without sweeping change, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) - which he protested was dealing with 21st century problems using 20th century methods - would continue to fail to cope.

In comments seen as a swipe at his predecessors, he said: "Our system is not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management, systems and processes.

"We're in a state of change from a paper-based system that wasn't working to a technology-based system that seems to be on the horizon, but isn't getting much nearer."

Although he insisted the department was not "intrinsically dysfunctional", he made plain his frustration over the quality of the advice he was receiving.

"I have to be honest with you and say I haven't had a fact or figure that hasn't been revised in a very short time," he told MPs.

Asked whether any senior civil servants would lose their jobs over the release of more than 1,000 foreign prisoners without deportation hearings, Mr Reid replied: "If there are people culpable, they will have to bear responsibility."

Liam Byrne, the new Immigration minister, is expected to produce proposals for wide-ranging reform of the IND by the summer, while Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, has been instructed by Mr Reid to set out plans for improving the entire department's management as a "matter of urgency".

Mr Reid released figures showing that 85 serious offenders still have not been tracked down, a month after the controversy became public. They included eight people convicted of the "most serious" offences, such as manslaughter or sex attacks. The Home Secretary said he was open to the idea of publicising the names of the eight if police supported the move. It also emerged that the released foreign offenders had gone on to commit a further 204 offences, including six sex offences, three serious violent crimes, and 11 cases of actual bodily harm.

Mr Clarke said originally that 1,023 foreign prisoners had been freed without deportation hearings. Mr Reid revised the figure yesterday to 1,019, but signalled the true figure could be several hundred higher, as he disclosed that for some years before 2004, details of some freed prisoners were not passed to the IND as there was no court recommendation to deport.

Mr Reid made a series of initial proposals for tightening controls including the creation of a personal numbering system to keep track of anyone who came into contact with the criminal justice, immigration or asylum systems, and devising ways to stop prisoners failing to declare their nationality.

He also revealed new details of the weekend's "sex-for-visas" scandal, in which it was alleged a senior immigration officer offered to speed up a Zimbabwean teenager's asylum claim in return for sex. The man at the centre of the allegations is subject to a police investigation as well as a Home Office inquiry, Mr Reid said, adding that he did not want to "pre-judge" the case.

Migrant data

* A record 217,475 people applied for British citizenship in 2005, 64 per cent up on the previous year. The number granted citizenship was 161,780, up 15 per cent. The rise was down to people submitting their papers before the "Britishness" test is introduced in November.

* Asylum claims rose 5 per cent in the first three months of 2006 to 6,455 compared with the final quarter of last year, because of a near-doubling of claims by Zimbabweans.

* In February the Government finally hit its target for removing more failed asylum-seekers than the number making unfounded claims.

* 392,000 people from the eight central and eastern European states which joined the EU in 2004 have come to Britain.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
(L-R) Amanda Peet as Tina Morris, Melanie Lynskey as Michelle Pierson, Abby Ryder Fortson as Sophie Pierson, Mark Duplass as Brett Pierson and Steve Zissis as Alex Pappas in Togetherness
TV First US networks like HBO shook up drama - now it's comedy's turn
News
i100
Travel
Pool with a view: the mMarina Bay Sands in Singapore
travel From Haiti and Alaska to Namibia and Iceland
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect