§ Mr. Miller
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what authority records in the Home Office, relating to the case of Mr. Paul Malone between the years of 1982 and 1984, were destroyed; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Miss Widdecombe
[holding answer 12 February 1996]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the temporary Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.
Letter from Richard Tilt to Mr. Andrew Miller, dated 21 February 1996:The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about records relating to Mr. Paul Malone and under what authority they were destroyed.146WGenerally Home Office files are selected for retention or destruction in accordance with criteria agreed with the Public Record Office. Papers which are needed on a long term basis for administrative purposes, or because they may be selected for permanent preservation in the Public Record Office, may be kept in the Department for up to 30 years; however in the interest of efficiency, papers which are likely to be of only ephemeral interest are destroyed when they are around 5 years old.Specific instructions about locally held prison records are set out in Circular Instructions 44/1978 and 23/1990, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.