The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the latest government institution facing humiliation over its inability to properly deal with sensitive data.
The CPS was sent files on 2,000 serious criminal suspects, including DNA profiles, by Dutch police over a year ago. Dutch authorities were hoping the CPS would check the files and potentially catch some wanted criminals.
But the disc was misplaced by the CPS and only found last week. When the CPS ran checks against its database it found 15 suspects were in the country and 11 had committed crimes - including serious assaults, sexual assaults and burglaries - in England and Wales in the last year.
Police are now working on tracking down the 15 suspects.
The CPS sent us the following statement: "We can confirm that DNA profiles of around 2,000 unknown individuals were sent by a foreign jurisdiction to the CPS to facilitate a check against the national DNA database. These are profiles relating to unsolved crimes in that country. This is not a data security issue as this information was always in a secure building and did not leave the possession of the CPS.
"As this information necessarily relates to ongoing police investigations it would be inappropriate to provide any more detail at this stage."
This is just the latest example of government's failure to follow even simple procedures when dealing with sensitive information. It lost 25 million records relating to child benefit claims, several thousand applications for the Armed Forces, Northern Irish driving test applications, and 5,000 NHS health files.
The LibDems estimate some 37 million Brits had their data compromised in some way last year. ®