Hun­dreds of for­eign crim­i­nals have ab­sconded, fig­ures re­veal

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Rapists and killers are among hun­dreds of for­eign crim­i­nals who have dropped off the Home Of­fice’s radar.

Im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties also lost track of over­seas na­tion­als con­victed of kid­nap, weapons pos­ses­sion and rob­bery.

They had been liv­ing in the com­mu­nity while fac­ing re­moval from the UK. Fig­ures ob­tained un­der Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion rules show 450 for­eign na­tional of­fend­ers (FNOs) ab­sconded in two and a half years to the end of June.

Some were later lo­cated but the where­abouts of more than 200 were un­known up to two years af­ter con­tact with of­fi­cials ceased.

Con­ser­va­tive MP Tim Loughton, a mem­ber of the Com­mons Home Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, de­scribed the find­ings as “hor­ri­fy­ing”.

He said: “Th­ese are very

con­cern­ing fig­ures and con­firm a wor­ry­ing trend that we are a soft touch when it comes to deal­ing with for­eign na­tional of­fend­ers.

“It is a mys­tery to me why we do not im­me­di­ately de­port th­ese crim­i­nals, some of them highly dan­ger­ous.

“The fact that th­ese peo­ple are es­cap­ing the watch­ful eye of the Home Of­fice and are back on our streets is hor­ri­fy­ing.

“In­no­cent peo­ple go­ing about their daily lives could be at risk.”

If there is no im­me­di­ate prospect of de­por­ta­tion or re­moval, con­victed for­eign na­tion­als who have com­pleted their sen­tence can be man­aged in the com­mu­nity.

They are re­quired to re­port to of­fi­cials and can be sub­ject to bail con­di­tions and elec­tronic mon­i­tor­ing.

Fig­ures show that 251 FNOs ab­sconded in 2016, fol­lowed by 164 last year and 35 in the first six months of this year. As of the end of June, 223 male FNOs had not been found. Eleven fe­males who ab­sconded in 2016, plus un­spec­i­fied num­bers of five or fewer who ab­sconded in 2017 and Jan­uary to June this year, were also yet to be tracked down.

A Home Of­fice spokes­woman said: “We al­ways seek to de­port those who com­mit crimes and whose con­duct poses a se­ri­ous threat to the ba­sic fun­da­men­tals of so­ci­ety. “We never give up try­ing to lo­cate ab­scon­ders.

“We have re­moved more than 44,500 for­eign na­tional of­fend­ers since 2010, and this week, like ev­ery week, more than 100 for­eign crim­i­nals will be re­moved from the UK.

“In 2017-18, we re­moved morethan2,000FNOs di­rect from prison un­der the Early Re­moval Scheme.”

A na­tional team has traced more than 2,000 ab­scon­ders since 2009, the depart­ment added.

Tim Loughton MP said in­no­cent peo­ple could be at risk

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