Home Office and Ministry of Justice has lost almost 3,500 security passes for prisons and ID cards.
Over the past six years 3,492 passes have been mislaid, with 675 lost or stolen last year.
Chris Huhne, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats – who revealed the statistics, said: “Everyone understands that things can go missing, but these figures suggest a culture of carelessness among the people responsible for our safety and security. On average, one of their employees loses their security pass every day.
“This Government wants powers to build a database of every phone call and email, but the evidence of lost security passes suggests they could not be trusted to run a nightclub door. They must scrap ID cards before they are allowed to treat our most sensitive data in the same slapdash manner.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “All 20,000-plus members of staff working at Home Office are made fully aware of our robust security procedures. In those instances when passes are lost or stolen, they are promptly deactivated to prevent entry to the buildings.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The MoJ and its agencies take security seriously. All staff members are made fully aware of the need to carefully look after their pass and to report any loss or theft immediately. Lost or stolen passes are deactivated to prevent them from being used.”