Inquiry demanded after theft of sensitive Carr documents

The Tories have called for an immediate inquiry after it emerged last night that documentation concerning the new identity of Maxine Carr had been stolen from a car owned by a Home Office official.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis accused Whitehall of "shocking negligence" after the documents containing Carr's new identity, and the address of safe houses to be used following her release from prison, were taken from a senior Home Office official's car which had been parked in a London suburb.

Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of the Soham murder Ian Huntley, had been serving a three-year term for conspiring to pervert the course of justice. It has been reported today that the release of Ms Carr will go ahead on schedule tomorrow despite the furore surrounding the theft.

Mr Davis said: "It beggars belief and is just another shocking example of gross negligence within the Home Office. This department staggers from one scandal to another and appears to be out of control."

Opposition leader Michael Howard also blamed the security lapse on "extraordinary incompetence" by the Home Office, and demanding to know why the secret documents had been left in a car parked in a "known high-crime area of London".

Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary Mark Oaten has today tabled Parliamentary questions asking the government to explain the procedures it uses in allowing such documents to leave its buildings.

Mr Oaten will also ask the Home Office to set out the guidance it gives to staff regarding taking such confidential documents away from the premises.

Mr Oaten said: "It is breathtaking that documents relating to Maxine Carr were allowed out of the Home Office and on to the back seat of a car.

"This raises questions of the appropriateness of civil servants taking papers away from Home Office buildings as it could have undermined months of costly work on preparing her new identity."

Carr was also handed down a three-year community rehabilitation order earlier this week after she pleaded guilty to 20 charges of benefit fraud and lying on job applications.


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

17 April 2009
Green 'Warned Of Life In Prison' Over Home Office Leaks
The Conservative MP who was arrested during an inquiry into Home Office leaks, was warned he would face life imprisonment, he has revealed.
23 May 2006
Reid criticises Home Office
Home Secretary John Reid has criticised the Home Office, claiming that the leadership and management systems have been "inadequate" and branding the immigration system as "not fit for purpose." Mr Reid made his comments to the Home Affairs select committee as he faced questions on immigration control.
08 May 2006
Number of offenders rise in deportation cases
The number of offenders who committed serious offences after being released from prison without being considered for deportation is at least 150, new Home Secretary John Reid has revealed.
28 October 2004
Lib Dems deride ID card scheme as costly and insecure
The Home Secretary's new ID cards will be costly for the public, insecure and will divert funds away from policing, according to the Liberal Democrats.
08 May 2003
Report slams government's asylum policy
The all-party Home Affairs Select committee has published a report today criticising the government over its policy on asylum.