Row over deportation of criminals
The Press Association
December 20, 2007
Thousands of convicted foreign drug dealers, thieves and fraudsters are remaining in Britain because the Government has “no interest” in deporting them, it is claimed.
The startling admission that there is a policy of ignoring less serious offenders came in a memo circulated to prison governors by HM Prison Service.
It states that “as a rule” the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) will not try to eject foreigners sentenced to under 12 months – unless the courts have recommended them for deportation.
The Tories insisted the revelation made a mockery of Gordon Brown's pledge to crack down on non-UK nationals who commit crime here.
Shadow Justice Secretary Nick Herbert said at least 4,000 offenders could be benefiting from the policy every year.
“The result will be that foreign thieves, fraudsters, burglars and drugs dealers will be released back into the community,” he said.
“Gordon Brown claimed that he wanted to send a message that foreign criminals would be deported.
“It takes a special kind of cynicism to promise tough action on foreign criminals while simultaneously instructing that the majority of them are to be released.”
However, BIA chief executive Lin Homer insisted that the Government was determined to kick out serious offenders.
“The Prime Minister was categorical earlier this year that we are committed to the removal of foreign national prisoners who commit serious crimes in this country. Nothing in this document changes that and in fact this year we have removed more foreign nationals than ever before.”