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Crime warning over foreign inmates

Foreign criminals who should have been deported after serving prison sentences have gone on to commit violent crimes, it has been reported.

A leaked report by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) reveals the former inmates were arrested for murders, kidnapping, rapes and other sexual offences, according to the Sunday Times.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: "The Home Secretary needs to explain urgently why the number of foreign national criminals deported has dropped so much, and why so many more foreign criminals have suddenly been left in the community instead."

Foreign nationals who are sent to prison for more than a year are meant to be deported automatically once they have served their time behind bars.

Ms Cooper added: "People who shouldn't be in the UK have been arrested for serious crimes, yet the Government are doing nothing to increase removals.

"Home Office figures show 700 fewer foreign national criminals were removed from the UK this year compared to last. Now we learn that the number of prisoners released into communities has increased by nearly 500 foreign criminals in just four months. This new information adds to the deep concern, chaos and incompetence surrounding the Home Secretary's handling of the UKBA."

According to the Sunday Times, the report reveals that as of September 11, there were 10,779 foreign criminals in British prisons, as well as 1,431 foreigners who have served their sentences but are being kept behind bars while deportation arrangements are made.

A further 4,238 criminals from overseas earmarked for deportation are currently "non detained", having been released because there is "no reasonable expectation of removal in the short term", the report said.

A spokesman from the Home Office said: "This Government believes that foreign criminals should be returned to their home country at the earliest opportunity and the UK Border Agency always seeks to remove them. However, we have to operate within the law, and where the courts rule that there is no prospect of removal - because of human rights law or a lack of cooperation from the criminal's home state - they may order that foreign national criminals should be released into the community at the end of their sentences.

"We are doing everything in our power to increase the number and speed of removals. We now start deportation action 18 months before the end of their sentence to speed up the process and we are chartering more flights to remove foreign offenders. We will change the immigration rules to cut abuse of the Human Rights Act, we'll open more foreign national-only prisons, and we'll be able to remove more European offenders through the Prisoner Transfer Agreement."


From Belfast Telegraph