HM Revenue and Customs has offered a £20,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the two missing CDs which contain personal details of 25 million people.
Chancellor Alistair Darling has already blamed a breach of procedures for the UK's largest ever data loss and announced a review led by Kieran Poynter, chair of PricewaterhouseCoopers – which is due to report on the “exact circumstances” surrounding the debacle by the middle of this month.
The reward was offered alongside a police appeal to thousands of staff working at HMRC, the Treasury and the National Audit Office – the government department which was the intended recipient of the two CDs. Staff are being urged to check both at work and in unspecified ‘other locations’ to see if the missing discs can be found.
Staff at TNT, the courier firm that handles the government’s internal post, are also being quizzed.
Meanwhile the search for the missing discs continues.
Computer experts are among a 32 strong detective team from the Metropolitan Police specialist and economic crime command working alongside officers from Northumbria, Greater Manchester, Strathclyde and Leicestershire constabularies investigating the case.
Scotland Yard said the investigation includes forensic examination of various computers in order to verify witness accounts of the events surrounding the data loss.
In a statement, the Met Police added: “The enquiry has been particularly challenging due to how common compact discs are within offices, the number and size of the offices requiring searches and the number of organisations where the package may have travelled through.”
There was still no evidence that the data had fallen into the hands of criminals, the police said.